My Amazon FBA Restrictions Setback
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I made the decision to start selling on Amazon back in July of 2016 so I am fairly new to the whole process. I had been selling on eBay for more than 10 years, and when I saw the opportunity to sell on Amazon as a FBA Seller, I thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I no longer had to deal with housing all my inventory because I send it all to an Amazon warehouse, I would have the backing of Amazon to pretty much guarantee my items got sold, and since I was already doing retail arbitrage and didn’t know it, I figured I could now put all those items to good use and make some good money and get my business rolling.
One of the MAJOR setbacks I encountered was dealing with Category and Brand Restrictions. I thought I did a lot of research regarding selling on Amazon as well as determining the main differences between selling on Ebay and Amazon. I searched on Pinterest for people who were doing great things selling on Amazon, I joined Amazon FBA Facebook groups, and I made sure I even had enough inventory available to make a nice bit of money. These items included mostly baby items (like new clothing, shoes, and toys). I also had a large inventory of clothing that I wanted to get rid of that was in immaculate condition and brand new. I also wanted to venture into selling electronics and small appliances since that is the type of inventory I was selling on eBay. But I figured that would come later.
First I set up my account as a professional seller. This includes paying the $40/mo. sellers fees. I did this because I knew that with doing retail arbitrage I would have more than 40 items to sell any given month. And with the type of items that I wanted to sell, I knew I would be able to get a nice return on my products.
The Problem: Once you sign up, you are automatically able to sell in categories like Toys & Games, Home & Garden, etc., The Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories category required you to request Category Approval. This was something that took me a couple of tries. Amazon has a set list of questions that they ask to guarantee that you are going to have enough inventory to sell. And if you do not answer these questions correctly, you will get an automatic denial. The great part about it is you could go back and try until you get it right. Once I got approved, I then took to posting my items.
Then came THE BIGGER PROBLEM! Once I had access to the seller website, and the Amazon Seller app, I scanned all the items that I had. To my surprise 2/3 of my products were listed as Restricted Brands. WHAT??? I JUST got approval and now I can’t sell?? How can this be? Well, it turns out that for a LARGE majority of the brands of items that I had to sell (i.e Fisher Price, Disney, UGG Australia, etc.), you are also in need of brand aproval. This is where you need some sort of proof of purchase (more times than not they want you to send an invoice and NOT just receipts), as well as an Authorization Letter from the manufacturer indicating that they are aware that you are selling their products. Now THIS is where I ran into the biggest problem. Since I was retail arbitraging, I ONLY had receipts, and I did not know anything about getting authorizations from companies. Because of this, I went more than 3 months of not having inventory on Amazon while still paying the sellers fees.
For those of you reading this post who are Amazon Sellers, please feel free to share your experiences with Category and Brand Approvals both good or bad. I would love to hear about how your experiences went.