Getting approved in the gated categories is a great benefit for Amazon sellers because it gives them a broader range of inventory items to send in for resale. I’m happy to report that on September 26, 2014, I obtained approval in the Health & Personal Care category. In this post, I will share my experience with the application process.
2/13/16 Update: Since writing this post, Amazon has changed the approval requirements. Keep in mind that what I did over a year ago is now outdated information. 🙁
Here is the process that I went through:
Review the Initial Requirements
I signed into Seller Central and did a search for the word “categories”. This brought up a page with a link to the “Categories and Products that Require Approval” page. Once you get to that page, you will see a list of categories (23 at this time) that require approval.
Since I was interested in getting approved in Health & Personal Care, I clicked on the “View Requirements” link for that category. The requirements are:
- You must be registered as a seller on the Professional Selling Plan
- You must meet the following seller performance targets:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fullfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
- You must provide Amazon with acceptable documentation and other information that they request about the products that you intend to sell. Once you request approval, Amazon will contact you with additional information.
Since I met the initial requirements, I pressed the “Request Approval” button.
Filling Out a Form
This led me to another screen with a short form to fill out. In the form, you enter your contact information and a brief message explaining the types of products that you wish to sell. This is what I wrote:
I’m applying in the Health & Personal Care category. I would like to sell cleaning supplies like Windex Glass Cleaner and personal care items like toothpaste and deodorant.
When you do this step, please make sure that the products that you mention fall in the category that you are applying for. I know this may sound obvious, but there are some products that I assumed would be in Health and Personal Care but they are listed in the Beauty category instead. To be honest, I was surprised to find “Household Cleaning” as a Health & Personal Care subcategory.
Next, I received a message stating that Amazon will contact me within the next 24 hours with further information.
The next morning, I woke up to an email from Amazon. It contained the additional documentation that I needed to send in:
- Three legible, scanned or clearly photographed billing statements, vendor invoices or packing slips for the products you intend to sell in the category. Note: Please obscure all pricing information.
- Your documentation (e.g., billing statements, vendor invoices or packing slips) must include the following:
- Invoices dated within the last 90 days, or showing item delivery or purchase within the last 90 days
- Your name and contact information or your company’s name and contact information
- The name and contact information of the company that provided your billing statements, vendor invoices or packing slips
- The names of the products you purchased
- Please attach the required documentation to your email response (e.g., as a PDF file or an image file). We reserve the right to verify all submitted documentation including contacting any product vendors you identify in your application
If you notice, Amazon requires documentation for products that you purchased or had delivered to you within the last 90 days. When I applied, I knew that purchasing items was a requirement but I chose to apply first because I wanted to find out first-hand from Amazon what they required. I didn’t want to buy products based only on what I read in FBA Facebook group pages or FBA blogs. Remember, Amazon’s requirements may change at anytime or others (including myself) may mistakenly give out wrong information.
I sent a message back to Amazon stating that I did not have the required documentation and that I will reapply when I do. Amazon wrote back and basically said, “no problem and that I’m free to reapply later.” I was happy that I wasn’t penalized for not having the required documentation before I applied.
The two stores that I purchased from were Drugstore.com and DollarDays. If you use these same companies, I recommend getting to their websites by going through Ebates first. Ebates gives you cash back on the purchases that you make. I originally joined Ebates back in 2008 and have never had any problems or issues with them. Receiving that “Big Fat Check” in the mail is pretty cool.
I’m not going to tell you the exact items that I purchased as I don’t want to do all of the work for you. But I started by finding items that are selling on Amazon. Again, make sure that you are finding products that sell in the category that you are applying for. Something that may seem like Health and Personal Care may actually be listed under Beauty or even Industrial & Scientific on Amazon.
While I was finding products to send in, I was not concerned about profitability or sales rank. Rather, I chose my items based on the price and if I would use the products myself. I didn’t want to be out a lot of money or be stuck with a bunch of products that I would never use if I didn’t get approved.
So, after some research, I made two purchases from Drugstore.com and one purchase from DollarDays. For each order, I purchased ten of the same item. I like Drugstore.com because they offer free shipping for eligible purchases over $35.00. However, DollarDays charges for shipping and I almost cancelled my order because they were going to charge me $19.95 for shipping. As I was navigating away from my shopping cart, they must have known that I was going to cancel because all of a sudden a message popped up saying that they will charge me only $6.95 shipping. I accepted the lower shipping cost and completed my order.
Preparing My Documentation
Once I received my packages, I went through all of my paperwork (order receipts, packing slips) and determined which ones had the required information. For Drugstore.com, I used the packing slips and for DollarDays, I used their invoice. To get the invoice, I logged into my DollarDays account and printed it. Once printed, I crossed out the price information from the invoice.
I then went to Amazon and found the ASIN number for the three products that I purchased. I hand wrote the ASIN number on the Drugstore.com packing slips and the DollarDays invoice.
The next step was to scan my documents and create a PDF file to send to Amazon. I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner that I received for Christmas last year. It works great at scanning in documents and you can read my review about it here.
Anyway, I scanned in the two packing slips from Drugstore.com and the one invoice from DollarDays and saved it as one 3-page PDF file.
Since I now had my documentation, I went to Seller Central and reapplied for the Health & Personal care category. Again, I had to fill out a short form and then wait for my email from Amazon.
Submitting My Documentation
The next morning, I found my email from Amazon waiting in my Inbox. The plan was to submit the documentation later that night but Amazon Seller Central was down. But I didn’t think that mattered because I assumed that I could reply to Amazon’s email from my Yahoo account. So, I hit the “reply” button and sent Amazon a short note:
Thank you for considering my request for approval in the Health & Beauty Category.
Attached is a file showing the three products that I purchased:
- Drugstore.com packing slip – ASIN: XXXXXXXXXX
Name of product
- Drugstore.com packing slip – ASIN: XXXXXXXXXX
Name of Product
- DollarDays Invoice – ASIN: XXXXXXXXXX
Name of Product
I noticed that you called me. I missed the call as I was at work and unable to answer the phone. You may also reach me at my work phone number of xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Unfortunately, my note never made it to Amazon as it was returned back to me as “undeliverable”. I went back to the original email and saw that they said not to reply to it. I was a little mad at myself for not paying better attention. Since Seller Central was down, I did nothing more that night.
The next morning, Seller Central was back up so I logged into my account and navigated to the message center and found the message that Amazon sent me. This is where you need to reply back to Amazon. Again, I wrote the same short note and uploaded my PDF file. Amazon sent a message stating that I should hear something back from them within 12 hours.
Well, 12 hours past and then 24 hours past. I was getting worried that I missed something and that I would be denied.
I didn’t have to worry because a short time later, I received the email from Amazon saying that I was approved. I was very happy and hope to have the same luck with getting approved in Beauty.
10/11/14 Update: I followed very similar steps to get approved in Beauty but I was denied as Amazon didn’t accept the Drugstore.com packing slips this time. I don’t know if this is a new rule across all categories or with just the Beauty category. I will reapply again in Beauty and will write a blog post once I get approved.
I hope that this post helps you if you are applying for the Health & Personal Care category. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment form below.
Featured Image: © Africa Studio – Fotolia.com
Packing Slip: © littleny – Fotolia.com