Take a look around, what do you see?
If you’re reading this while lying on a couch or seated in an office space, chances are, whatever you see around you can be bought off Amazon. Tables, chairs, pen holders, sofas, laptops, curtains, clothes, smartphones, a washing machine—the list goes on.
Heck, people even purchase car tires and artificial garden trees; pretty much everything is listed on Amazon. The question then is, why do sellers have such a hard time picking a product to sell?
Maybe it has something to do with “choice overload”: when presented with too many options, people become indecisive.
It could also be a reason why new sellers tend to gravitate towards gated categories i.e. products that require approval to sell. Within these categories, the competition is scarce, demand is plentiful, and just about any product sells well. However, obtaining permission to sell is easier said than done.
To dispel all doubts, this blog will highlight the opportunities that exist in Amazon categories that don’t require approval. You’ll also learn why you don’t necessarily need to target restricted products or categories to establish a profitable online business.
Why does Amazon restrict the sale of certain products? After all, wouldn’t removing such restrictions allow both Amazon and its sellers to make more money? Well, not quite. If Amazon did such a thing, it wouldn’t take long before it would have to face a flood of lawsuits.
Restrictions are put in place to protect buyers from financial and physical harm. Certain products, like fine jewelry, can cost upwards of $100,000. Without vetting both the sellers and the products, counterfeits and cheap knockoffs can make their way into the hands of unwary customers.
Likewise, hazardous materials (hazmat for short) such as flammable and toxic substances pose a risk to customers’ health and safety. Sellers must prove compliance with all applicable regulations before they are allowed to list and market such products.
People often get confused between restricted products and restricted categories. A category restriction prevents sellers from listing any product/item belonging to that category. A product restriction applies only to a specific product and not others that fall within the same category.
Examples of gated product categories are Jewelry and Watches whereas products restricted from sale include lock picking devices, tobacco, and laser products.
Ungating refers to the process of gaining approval to sell restricted products on Amazon. There are three types of ungating:
The approval process differs for each type of ungating. For more details on all three types, visit our How to get ungated on Amazon blog!
Brand Registry is not a prerequisite for selling on Amazon. It is, however, highly recommended to get enrolled in the program. The benefits include the ability to run sponsored brand and display ads, extra protection against IP infringements and other violations, access to powerful analytical tools, and the ability to upload A+ content.
Sellers should note that product category restrictions may vary based on the marketplace. For instance, certain products or product categories that are restricted on Amazon US may not be restricted on Amazon Germany and vice-versa. Also, changes in state, federal, and Amazon’s own policies and laws mean that a category that is open for sellers today might become restricted tomorrow.
Even if you’re not selling a restricted product, it’s recommended to stay updated with the Amazon categories and products that require an approval page. This helps in avoiding unexpected penalties and fines in the future.
Here’s a list of open and gated categories on Amazon.com:
Currently, there are approximately twenty-four categories open to sellers on Amazon.com. The next step is to find the right product to sell. The only problem is, each category is home to tens of thousands of unique products. How do we decide which category is best? Well, one way of finding out how well sellers perform is by analyzing the brand analytics search terms report.
Available only to brand registered sellers, the search terms report reveals the most searched keywords (or search terms) for a particular week, month, or quarter. How is this helpful? It lets us know which ASINs—and by extension, which open product categories—have the highest demand (also conversion rates).
The image above is a brand analytics search term report for July. Aggregating the data lets us extrapolate the top-performing open categories i.e. categories with the most popular products on average. Here are the results:
As you can see, all of the top 5 categories are un-restricted and open to everyone. Now, let’s head on over to Amazon.com.
Thanks to the brand analytics report, you should have a bunch of product ideas. If you aren’t brand registered as of yet, there are plenty of research methods that can help such as browsing the Best Seller section on Amazon.
Let’s start with the above-mentioned list of product categories. Go to Amazon.com, and select the ‘Best Seller’ option found just below the Amazon logo. Once opened, a list of product categories will appear on the far left-hand side. Select Home & Kitchen.
In the Home & Kitchen category alone, there are hundreds of products flying right off the shelves. The only thing left is to determine the competitiveness of some of these niches and whether they are welcoming to new sellers wanting to launch products on a limited budget.
Note: Just repeat the same steps for the other 4 top-performing product categories and soon you’ll have plenty of high-demand products to research and choose from!
The last step in our journey to find the right product to sell in any one of Amazon’s open categories involves using complex Amazon seller tools. Namely, Zonguru’s Niche Rater. Using the tool is pretty simple: you input the keywords gathered up till now and the Niche Rater assigns a score based on four really important metrics:
“Plastic shower curtain” was a bestselling product within the Home & Kitchen niche. Here’s how the Niche Rater tool scored it (also displays results for related keywords):
Try running a few more keywords through the tool. You’ll even come across Niche Scores in the 90’s!
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of shortlisting hundreds of Amazon bestseller products, just open the Niche Rater tool, select your target market, then select the product categories, and hit run. There’s no need to add keywords—the tool will run and find products with the highest niche scores in a matter of seconds!
To sum it all up, there’s a never-ending supply of perfect products to sell in open categories if you know how and where to look. Hopefully, the research techniques shared in this blog will prove useful in your journey to sell big on Amazon. And if you’ve paid close attention, you would’ve also realized how easy selling on Amazon becomes once you’ve subscribed to a reliable seller toolkit like Zonguru!
To make things much easier—here’s an eBook containing 100 amazing product ideas that we researched ourselves and are giving out for free!
All you need to do is send us your email and that’s it, 100 hot products along with up-to-date product research techniques straight to your inbox!
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