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Getting Approved in the Grocery Category

Health & Personal Care, Beauty and Grocery seem to be the more popular and easiest of Amazon’s restricted categories for Sellers to get approved in.  I’m happy to report that I’m now approved in all three and in this post, I’ll share with you the steps that I took to get approved in Grocery.  Please read my Health & Personal Care and Beauty posts if you need approval in those categories.

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  Keep in mind that what I did over a year ago is now outdated information. 🙁

Getting Caught Up in the Excitement and The Products That I Bought
To be honest, after my frustrating experience with Beauty, I was not looking forward to going though the same with Grocery.  I wasn’t even planning on applying for Grocery until next year but then I got caught up with all of the “I got approved in Grocery in 10 minutes” posts on Facebook.  Many Amazon FBA group members were posting how quickly they got approved and I figured that I better apply now in case Amazon tightened the requirements in the future.  Plus, I had a good idea as to what Amazon wanted in terms of documentation since many Facebook members were either posting pictures of their receipts or listing the stores that they bought their grocery products at.

Now, if you read my Health & Personal Care and Beauty posts, you’ll see that I recommended that you should personally find out what Amazon requires in terms of documentation (receipts, invoices, packing slips, purchase orders) before buying any products.  I got denied in Beauty for submitting packing slips and it was my fault that I sent in the wrong documentation because I didn’t check to see what Amazon wanted beforehand.

For Grocery though, instead of following my own advice, I went ahead and bought grocery products without reviewing Amazon’s requirements first.  What happened was that I was out Christmas shopping at Target and I just spontaneously made my first Grocery approval purchase there.  Then the next night after work, I spontaneously stopped at Walmart Express and bought more products.  Luckily, what I purchased worked and I didn’t waste time and money like I did with Beauty.

Here is a summary of what I purchased:

  • Target – three different types of candy.  Quantities of 7, 8 and 10.
  • Walmart Express – two different types of oatmeal, instant sweet potato mix and brown gravy mix.  Quantities of 9, 10, 4 and 12.
  • Walmart Express – turkey stuffing mix, macaroni and cheese and canned tuna.  Quantities of 9, 12 and 9.

Foods

Basically, I was looking for foods that were inexpensive, listed on Amazon’s website and that my family would eat.  I spent a total of $104.89 and paid between $0.50 and $2.00 for each item.  If I were to do this again, I would not purchase the $2.00 candy bars from Target.  As I saw at Walmart Express, there are lots of Grocery products to choose from that are under $1.00.  The most that I paid at Walmart Express for any individual item was $1.22.

Initial Requirements
Later that same night, I logged on to Seller Central to start the approval process.  I navigated to the “Categories and Products Requiring Approval” page and selected Grocery & Gourmet Foods.  It led me to the page that lists the Seller and Product Requirements.  The Seller 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 us with acceptable documentation and other information that we request about the products that you intend to sell.  After you request approval to sell in the Grocery and Gourmet Food category, we will contact you with additional information.
  • You are not required to have your own company website, but if you have one, it’ll be helpful for us to review it during the application process.

The Product Requirements are:

  • All Grocery & Gourmet Food products must be listed using the manufacturer’s UPC code.
  • All Grocery & Gourmet Food products must be sold in New condition.  Used listings are not permitted.

Since I met the initial requirements, I pressed the “Request Approval” button.

Additional Documentation
I apologize that I’m going by memory here.  When I applied for Grocery, I incorrectly assumed that Amazon would email me with what they required in terms of additional documentation like they did when I applied for Health & Personal Care and Beauty.  Not so for Grocery – once you press the “Request Approval” button, you’re led to a screen that tells you what Amazon requires.  This is good as it speeds up the approval process, but since I’m now approved in Grocery, I’m unable to to access the set of web pages that lists what’s needed.  To the best of my knowledge, this is what you’ll need:

  1. One to three receipts of products that you purchased after MM/DD/YY.  They will supply you with the month, date and year.  However, I’m willing to bet the date is 90 days in the past.
  2. If you have one or two receipts, you’ll need to click on a link that directs you to more information that Amazon will need.  Since I chose to submit three receipts, I did not click on this link.  Therefore, I can’t tell you what else is required.
  3. The receipts must have the store’s contact information.
  4. The receipts must have your contact information.
  5. You may optionally cross out the prices.

At this point, I went and prepared my receipts for submission.

Preparing the Receipts
Since the store receipts are too small to write my contact information on, this is what I did for each of the receipts:

  1. Scanned the receipt and saved it as a PDF file.
  2. Printed the PDF file.
  3. Wrote my name, address, phone number and email address on the larger-sized printer paper that the receipt was printed on.
  4. Scanned this piece of paper into the computer and saved it as a PDF file.

The above gives me a PDF file that has the store receipt and my contact information next to it.  I didn’t cross out the prices or include the Amazon ASIN numbers.

If you don’t have a scanner, I believe this method will work also:

  1. Tape the receipt on to a sheet of printer paper.
  2. Write your contact information next to the receipt.
  3. Take a picture of it with your phone camera and send it to your computer.

Yes, there are other methods on getting your receipts onto the computer and I recommend doing whichever way is easiest for you.

Also, I named my receipt files with my last name – Poisson1, Poisson2 and Poisson3.

Submitting the Receipts
After I had my receipt files ready, I went back to Seller Central, pressed the “Request Approval” button again and navigated to the section where you fill out a short form and upload your receipt files.  I filled out the form and uploaded my files and all I had left to do was wait to see if I was approved or not.

Note: For the form, I just filled out the “required fields” and did not answer any of the questions relating to my website.

Finding Out if You’re Approved or Not
I submitted my documents at 7:30 pm on Dec 22nd, 2014.  Amazon approved them sometime during the night because when I got up at 5:45 am and checked my email, my approval email was waiting for me.

Wishing You All a Happy New Year,

Diana

p.s. I hope this post helps you if you’re interested in getting approved in Grocery.  Feel free to ask me any questions on the process and I would love to know how your experience went.  You can let me know in the comment section below or on my Facebook page.

Photo Credits:
Featured Image: © Marco2811 – Fotolia.com
Groceries: Diana Poisson

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Yolanda December 28, 2014, 7:29 am

    Diana,

    Congrats! 🙂 It looks like you are on a roll when it comes to getting approved in gated categories. What category is next on your list or do you plan to sit down and start brainstorming products to source for the categories you’ve just been approved for?

    Reply
    • Diana December 28, 2014, 5:00 pm

      Hi Yolanda, There’s several that I would like to be approved in – shoes, DVDs, Industrial & Scientific and luggage. But the one that I should work on next is Automotive as I have experience in auto parts and already have relationships with parts suppliers. It’ll be a few weeks though before I get in the right mental frame of mind to go after it.

      For now, I’m just concentrating on building up my inventory and it seems I’m buying a lot of Health & Personal Care products lately. Though I’m approved in Grocery now, I’m not that enthused about sourcing food products. Plan is to update my coupon binder first (I used to do a lot of couponing) and ease my way into it.

      Diana

      Reply
  • Kimberly Jenkins January 3, 2015, 1:49 pm

    Thanks sooo much! I did exactly what you listed and I was approved 25 minutes after applying. Great info you are sharing!!!

    Reply
    • Diana January 3, 2015, 2:16 pm

      Hi Kimberly, I’m glad the post helped and you got approved! Are you approved in Health & Beauty also?

      I haven’t sent in any grocery products yet but will be focusing on it along with Health and Beauty in January.

      Good luck with Amazon and thanks for stopping by!

      Diana

      Reply
  • Marisa February 6, 2015, 4:25 am

    Thanks so much for the tips. I applied today and was approved in just a matter of minutes. I did write the ASIN’s and product names below my contact info because I really wanted to get approved on my first try.

    Reply
    • Diana February 6, 2015, 2:14 pm

      Congratulations Marisa on getting approved! That’s smart that you took the extra steps with writing the ASIN and product names. I was going to as well but was in a hurry that night and submitted mine without. I hope you do well with groceries – I sold a few items then switched my focus to a completely different category. Are you approved in Health & Personal Care and Beauty? Anyway, good luck with Amazon! Diana

      Reply
  • JGordo February 9, 2015, 5:26 am

    Thanks for the tips, been meaning to comment for a couple weeks now. Glad you are updating you site periodically. Has been a good resource as i try to ramp up on amazon this year. Used your tips to get approved in Grocery and Beauty. Going to go for Health and Personal Care next once I take a minute to get focused and get back to store. Hoping to use your tips on bundles to create one soon as well

    Reply
    • Diana February 9, 2015, 2:32 pm

      Hi – sounds like you’re doing a great job in moving your Amazon business forward with your approval in the gated categories and bundles. Health and Personal Care should be easy for you as it’s basically the same process as Beauty and Grocery. As for bundles, my advice is to write great bullet points and a great description for it. Tell customers why they will benefit from your bundle. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck with Amazon! Thanks for stopping by! Diana

      Reply
  • Michelle May 5, 2016, 6:17 pm

    do you happen to know if anyone has been able to get accepted using this method recently???

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Diana May 7, 2016, 2:21 am

      Hi Michelle,
      Every so often, I see someone post that they were approved using regular receipts. But for the most part, invoices are required.

      Diana

      Reply
  • joshua August 10, 2016, 9:54 pm

    Hello Good afternoon

    after i read your post and i think it is very helpful. now i am new seller on amazon. i want to open grocery category.
    may i know can you send me some invoice example and which vendor you use?

    thanks

    Reply
    • Diana August 11, 2016, 1:04 pm

      Hi Joshua,

      I wrote this post over a year ago and the grocery approval process has changed since then. I didn’t need to provide invoice copies. Retail receipts worked fine back then.

      There’s a lot of discussions in the FaceBook groups about getting approved, so I would do a search for them and see how others were able to get approved. Good luck!

      Diana

      Reply

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I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!

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