Influex Michael

Brand Restrictions – Don’t Be Afraid!

Brand restrictions aren’t something to be feared. In fact, from what we have seen they actually help to improve our profit margins. Despite this, people hear the words “brand restriction” and cower in fear they won’t be able to be ungated. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and in this article, we will go over the exact process you can follow to become ungated.

I want to preempt this post with two things:

  1. These are not hacks and are the processes Amazon actually wants you to use.
  2. This assumes you are an approved seller by the brand.

Now, before we move on, I want to say if you follow the TWF model, you will ALWAYS be an approved seller. We are an approved seller and valued partner for all of the brands that we carry in our own Amazon account, and it’s the only strategy that we teach, as it is the safest and most ethical way to do business.

That aside, let’s jump into the meat and potatoes of this thing…

Brand restrictions are a massive benefit as it allows the brand to control their listing to a large degree. They are able to work with approved sellers to make sure that the products being sold through the Amazon channel are authentic, as well as new current product that matches the description.

This allows the brand to make sure that customers receive the correct product, but more importantly, it gives the brand the comfort that those approved sellers are going to help the product succeed within the Amazon platform.

As sellers, it also has a massive benefit…

When sellers are removed, the product becomes less competitive which typically means prices increase, as well as sales volume (effectively you are selling more units, because there are fewer sellers).  So, more profit, and more sales? This is great, right?

Now, let’s get you approved…

The approval process is simple on the Amazon side. In relation to “brand restrictions” Amazon requires your choice of:

3 Invoices from the manufacturer

All invoices must have the following criteria to be considered valid by the Amazon Brand Ungating team.

  • Your invoices must be dated in the past 180 days or reflect the delivery or purchase of listed products in the past 180 days.
  • Invoices must contain the names of the products purchased.
  • Documents must contain your name and contact information for your business (e.g. address, phone number, email, or website)
  • Documents must contain the issuer’s name, address, phone number, and email address or website

There are some points that need clarification…

Amazon does NOT need your Amazon “storefront” name to be on the invoice. They need your legal business name, that matches your account information in Seller Central.

Also, in full disclosure, we have not tested this process with distributor invoices. All of the products we have been ungated for have used direct manufacturer invoices. I would presume that distributor invoices would work as well, but can’t verify it. Maybe one of you awesome folks can confirm it for us.

The alternate form of approval is:

Letter of Authorization from the manufacturer

A letter of authorization simply shows Amazon that you are an approved vendor of the brand. Here are the criteria that a Letter of Authorization must contain to be valid per Amazon’s standards:

  •  Legible (I am honestly not sure why they mention this, presumably they don’t want handwritten LOA’s)
  • Dated within the last 90 Days
  • Includes the manufacturer name and contact information
  •  Includes your legal business name or the name of which corresponds to your Account Information page in Seller Central
  •  Includes your Physical Address
  •  Must be in English

It is important to mention that Amazon is INCREDIBLY picky with these. If it is missing even ONE piece you can and likely will be denied. Similarly, if it is not easily identifiable it will be denied.

So, what do you do if you get denied?

First, don’t panic.

Then, check your work!

Check it with a fine-toothed comb. Compare EACH aspect of the required information to your Letter of Authorization. Go verify that same information vs. the manufacturer’s website, and then double-check your information vs. the information in your Amazon account. They are going to verify your company information, your billing information, and the same type of information from the manufacturer.

We recommend once you have verified and corrected any information that you resubmit your application. Sometimes, this process may need to be repeated 3-5 times, and often in that process, they may just tell you exactly what they are working for.

The great news is that despite the process being somewhat tedious, we have never been denied on selling a brand. We have been approved to sell more than 20 restricted brands, and our students have been approved for HUNDREDS beyond that using this same strategy.

Diligence and accuracy are the most important parts of this process. Also, it’s important to keep in mind this is exactly HOW Amazon wants you to do things! So, if you are an approved vendor by your brand, enjoy the awesome sales, and don’t worry… you will get approved!

7 Tips For a Successful Q4

It. Is. Coming.

That’s right my friends, we’re right around the quarter from THAT time of year. No matter who you are, how you source, or what you sell, Q4 is your time to shine! However, where opportunity lies, so does complication.

This guide is a collection of tips that have served us well over the years, despite how we were sourcing or what we were selling. I don’t want to say doing the things in this guide will make you have a great Q4 in and of itself, that will take a lot of hustle and grit.

Tip #1 – This time of year requires you to spend more time on your business than any other. You have to be focused and keep your eye on the prize.

I realize that tip seems obvious, but too many people approach this like they would any other time in their business. When we were RA-based we worked 70-80 hour weeks in Q4, because Q4 comprised more than 50% of our annual sales. Now that we are wholesale based our preparation happens in the preceding months. With wholesale, you are forced to be proactive as things sell out (and you have short windows to restock them). Knowing that we started trailing up our inventory earlier this month. We went from a 30-day stock period to a 60-day stock period on most items, and higher on ones that we believe will see a true seasonal influx.

What is Q4?

This is a strange answer because theoretically, you can simply look at the calendar and see that 10/1 starts Q4. However, in online sales speak, that isn’t necessarily the case. Don’t get me wrong, Halloween is amazing, and you can see some really great sales there, but that isn’t what people are talking about when they talk about Q4.

In terms of holiday sales (and what we refer to when we say Q4) we are referring to pre-Christmas sales. In the past, we have seen sales increases start around the second week of November and trail upwards into a swell to about 3-4 days before Christmas. The week or two following Black Friday (and Black Friday itself) are INSANE! We have consistently broken sales records day over day during that period.

That being said, there are steps we should start taking NOW as sellers to prepare for this awesome event. You have to understand that shipping will be SLOW…SLOW…SLOW in that period. Right now we highly suggest front-loading your inventory and not banking on Amazon receiving times being normal. During the rush last year, we were seeing 15-20 day receiving times. You don’t want to rely on shipping your products last second to make sure they get there in time. I would expect that Amazon receiving times will be even worse this year, as there are more sellers and they have instituted more aggressive Long Term Storage fees to clear out their warehouses. They know it’s coming.

TIP #2:  Frontload your inventory and go into the peak season heavier than you might otherwise to combat longer receiving times. If you are wholesale or PL, start trailing your inventory upwards NOW if you have not already.

That does not, in any way, mean that you should not be shipping products in Q4. You absolutely should be, and there will be more product gaps because of this, and product gaps are where you can make huge money. If you are shipping LTL, you should trail the majority into UPS during the peak time, as LTL receiving times are MUCH slower.

TIP #3: Utilize more Parcel shipping during the peak times, as LTL receiving times are MUCH slower.

What Are All These Crazy Sales Spikes I Hear About?

I don’t want to play Debbie Downer, but a lot about what we hear about Q4 is overstated, and in many cases patently untrue. The absolutely true part about Q4 is almost all products will sell more than usual will. However, in many cases, it is simply a byproduct of having more traffic.

We sell heavily in the Health & Household area, and I promise the majority of our products ARE NOT destination or holiday products. So, we generally don’t see the same explosion as someone who is heavily based in branded toys. However, because there are SO MANY people online, our sales do increase (even quite dramatically), because we sell high demand products that people want.

However, if you are banking on your products selling BETTER in Q4, realize your products still have to have demand. Products that are dead ducks year-round generally don’t become hero products in Q4. Make sure you are focusing your energy on great products to start, and you will see an increase in sales.

TIP #4: Products without demand will not see a sizeable increase in Q4. Focus your efforts on products that have driven demand behind them!

That being said, some products can go ABSOLUTELY crazy! Crazy increases in price, crazy amounts of units sold. Our philosophy has and always will be “react to the market.” Don’t try to predict it. Many people get hurt because they “gamble” on finding that hot Q4 item. We believe this is both dangerous AND careless. Instead, our strategy was to see what items get hot, then commit the time to hunt them down. I personally think that is even MORE important this year than it was in previous years, with the brand restrictions. You don’t want to gamble on a product ONLY to find out that it is restricted later.

Last year some of you had a great time with Hatchimals. Others of you…not so much, right?

TIP #5: Take the stance of ‘react and hustle’, rather than be ‘proactive and predict.’

I do realize predicting the winner could be a HUGE payday. That’s not lost on me. However, the odds aren’t in your favor, and the restrictions stack the deck against you. Going the route we suggest takes more effort, but in Q4 that effort pays off in spades!

How Should I Price in Q4?

This is an interesting topic as there are many schools of thought here, and many outliers that should guide your decision. My goal is to address some of the logical standpoints you can take, to better take advantage of this additional traffic.

The deeper you are on product, and thus more imperative you move a lot of units, the more you SHOULD be competitive in your pricing. Here are a few instances when I would be competitive:

  • If you have lots of units and were expecting to sell through during Q4, I would personally be more competitive on the front end, then try to maximize the last half. This allows you to reduce risk, and keep good cash flow to go after opportunities that might arise.
  • If the products are evergreen, and you have consistent supply through Q4, even with projected sales increases. This is a great period for liquidity-based models as it allows you to run through even MORE units.
  • If the products are naturally slow sellers, I would be more aggressive. As I mentioned, Q4 doesn’t change the dynamic of “you can’t put lipstick on a pig.” Bad products are bad, and you should not expect Q4 to be a bailout plan for all of your bad purchases. The additional traffic may help you move through some bad units, but only if you are priced competitively. It will not turn zeros into heroes.

TIP #6: Price competitively when there is risk, or you can find and replenish supply.

There are several instances where you should look to get higher margins. The primary concern here is that you make “holding inventory” something of actual value. What I mean by that is, if a product is selling currently for $25, and you are holding to get $27, is it really worth it? Similarly, the market can fluctuate down, which would be equally bad. In this regard, I would be competitive. However, if that product was $25, and we are holding for $35 with realistic expectations? That is a place where it can be worth it. Here are some of the circumstances that we might consider holding for more value:

  • The product is limited and is selling well. Limited supply in Q4 can lead to some crazy jumps in price. This would be a place where we would want to maximize the potential.
  • The product is exclusive and popular. If there is a limited threat of Amazon competition, it is much less likely that you will see extreme market fluctuations.
  • The product has a history of selling out and has shown a propensity to jump in value.

TIP #7: Look for market fluctuations on products with real demand. Don’t focus your efforts on maximizing bad products.

How we have managed pricing with these types of items in the past is to set a repricer at 3% above the Buy Box price and put a maximum price in. This allows us to reach our ceiling or expected price, while also showing a semi-competitive price to potential competitors. It is important to say, should you see this product start selling (which means it has hit your cap) that you should re-evaluate the pricing at that point.

How Do I Take Advantage of Opportunities?

Q4 will be wrought with opportunity as a seller on Amazon, that’s no question. There is SO much traffic, it just gets crazy.

People will be excited. If you don’t like sales screenshots, stay away from Facebook this Q4, as there will be a lot of them. Why? Because people will be happy and want to celebrate!

That being said, there is always an ENORMOUS opportunity created for a buyer. If you are an OA person, you should be on the hunt for products constantly. Check the Amazon deals (Lightning Deals), but as we know there are quantity limits there. However, when Amazon runs a deal, it will likely be matched on other sites as well, without limits!

Bonus Tip:  Look for Lighting Deal or Gold Box Deal products on other sites that may be price matching for increased purchase limits!

You should be tuned into the social media accounts and newsletters of online retailers during this period, as they will likely be pumping out deals daily! There will be so much opportunity to be had here!

Bonus Tip: Follow other retailers on social media and sign up for their newsletter to get early notice of AWESOME deals. This may sound basic, but retailers are spending more time tweeting/posting deals and you know sometimes in OA every minute counts!

One last thing with these awesome deals: don’t go too heavily into them. You have to realize the best-case scenario is Amazon sells out. However, they will come back late in December or January and you need to be through your product by then. Then, you have the Black Friday deal day. Don’t let that day become the Black Friday deal disaster. This can go multiple ways. You should fully expect your products will degrade in price. There is a lot of supply, and a lot of that supply comes to Amazon. If you buy deep on products, just know that going in! Things will go down, you will have to price down with that, and then hope that it recovers later. Most products do recover, but, some don’t.

Bonus Tip: Be careful with Black Friday. Don’t go too deep thinking that you will realize the price that you see at the time, and expect that you might have to wait until later to sell the product profitably. With restrictions, this is a lot riskier practice than it used to be, and that should weigh on your decision.

Final Thoughts

We are hyped about Q4, and believe this will be an incredible year and time for our business. Our goal is to help you discover the same success in your own business.

Be careful. Work hard. Have fun!

Developing a Project List

As your business grows, developing a project list becomes imperative. It creates a timeline and schedule for you to complete tasks, as well as making sure that you don’t miss important steps along the way. Realistically, working through projects is how we grow our business; the rest is just building blocks, and the inroads we take to get there.

If you are anything like me you think you are very good at multitasking, even if you really aren’t. For years, I have been proud of my ability to juggle a million things and get them done. However, I realized I was actually terrible at it! My work was much faultier and less precise, and I was much less efficient in finishing tasks. Now I tend to work directly from project lists, and my work is more precise and exact.

Additionally, I have learned when working with employees, giving them project lists is HIGHLY effective. Like me, our employees have become significantly more effective since working off of more defined project lists. They produce better (and faster!) results.

The most effective method we have found for building a project list is:

  • Define Your Objective – Your Project Goal
  • Develop a series of steps to accomplish the project
  • Create a timeline for the internal and sub-steps
  • Make sure that that the internal and sub-steps follow a logical path to completion

This allows our team to focus on smaller, more accomplishable tasks rather than a large overarching issue, which can seem daunting and can take someone’s motivation away from them. For example, look at our course creation, which was a massive undertaking and a HUGE project.

  • Create Course on Wholesale (Primary Objective)
  • Set-up Facebook Group
  • Set-up Payment Portal
  • Build Website & Mapping
  • Create Videos
  • Create Slides
  • Create PDF Follow Up
  • Create Scripts
  • Develop Course Map
  • Develop Course Topics

Each of these Internal Steps had to be accomplished to achieve the primary objective. Too often we put the cart before the horse and don’t realize what actually goes into accomplishing a major task. After we have the project map, we create mini-projects to develop our timeline. For example:

Develop Course Topics

Goal: Develop a fully encompassing set of course topics, which if properly constructed, will be able to walk someone through how our business operates on a daily basis and how we utilize wholesale.

  • Get feedback started with the basic processes – breaking it down step-by-step
  • Talk to our employees to find out what their major pain points were when they started, what they had the most trouble with.
  • Develop preliminary map of topics (themes): Product Analysis, Sourcing, Scaling
  • Sculpt out each theme and develop a video set
  • Present video set to the team and look for holes (missing items)
  • Present video set to outside consultants (missing items)

After we reach that point, we move on to the next set-up topic.

As you can see, developing a project list and working through the project list can provide great insight, clarity, and lead to higher quality work. We try to build in as many feedback steps as possible to our project list to make sure we get as many viewpoints as possible, as well as to make sure we don’t miss stuff.

Are you a good multitasking person? Have you used Project Lists in your own business?

Resolving Product Safety Complaints

Amazon constantly evolves.

It was over the last year that we started seeing these types of complaints show up. At first, the process was frustrating. However, over the past year, we have resolved EVERY single one of these complaints.

So, what is a product safety complaint?

Basically, this is a complaint received by Amazon (either through email, feedback, or product reviews) that pertain to a safety issue they have experienced with your product. Like all Warning or Notification emails from Amazon they are incredibly strongly worded, but, in reality, have been really easy to resolve.

The first thing to realize is these complaints do not inherently mean that the product is dangerous. It could be related to confusion about how the product should be used. The next thing you have to understand is Amazon is obsessed with the customer experience. So, while this may seem like unnecessary coddling, their goal is to have happy customers who love shopping at Amazon.

Customer obsession is why we are able to sell on the world’s greatest marketplace. Amazon has truly built the world’s greatest customer base.

In this instance, these complaints could be equivalent to the traditional warning of (WARNING: HOT COFFEE) on a cup of coffee from McDonald’s. Amazon is hoping that we as sellers take this same type of precaution to preserve the customer experience and ensure the customers both enjoy and use their products safely.

Identifying the Problem:

This is actually one of the trickier aspects of dealing with these complaints. Amazon wants you to research and address the complaint issue directly (they don’t tell you the complaint reason that you need to address).

To identify the issue, you can do a few different things:

  1. Review your feedback – if someone left feedback regarding this product and had a “safety complaint” you have likely identified the culprit. However, this did not apply to any of the Safety Complaints that we had.
  2. Review your buyer messages – you can search your buyer messages and see if you have any relating to the item in question. Again, this did not apply to any of our cases.
  3. Review the product feedback – we reviewed the negative feedback for each listing, and in ALL cases found the actual complaint regarding the product.

So, at least in our case(s), we have been most successful in dealing with this from the side of reading the Amazon reviews. After you identify the issue, you can then proceed to find out how you may solve the issue.

Developing a Solution:

In all of our cases, we developed a warning label that we ACTUALLY will be including in all units of these products. Two of these items previously did not require bags. As part of our Plan of Action, we are bagging all items and are including the Warning Labels in the bag.

To give you a more concrete example, one of the items that we received this complaint on was a coffee maker. The primary issue? If the handle was loose at all, when you touched it, it would emit steam that would scald your hand. Here is the Warning Label that we created to help with this:

“WARNING: Please handle with EXTREME CAUTION!!! This product may have a loose lid which could cause steam release and lead to SERIOUS BURNS!”


We built our Plan of Action around the inclusion of this warning label with each package. This Plan of Action sufficiently addressed the Safety Complaint with this product, and we were allowed to sell on the listing again.

What Type of Plan of Action Should I Use:

We have a pretty simple template we feel addresses the major points of concern. This template is not designed to be a “do this and you will get back in”, it is simply a layout to remind us which concerns to address. Here is the template that we use:

“We are writing you today about our listing [INSERT ASIN]. We are writing to you to address the product safety complaint in regards to this product.

Our product is purchased directly from the manufacturer, and we have attached invoices for your convenience in verifying the authenticity of our products.

We have identified the root cause of this complaint to be [insert root cause].

Our plan of action will help to prevent future safety concerns or issues related to this product, by making customers more aware of this being a potential issue.

  • [Address issue with any existing inventory]
  • [Review Prep Guidelines – Institute a Company Change to Reflect the Root Cause.]
  • [Create Action Step that DIRECTLY addresses the Root Cause e.g. Warning Label – If you create a warning label, attach it to this and tell them you attached it.]
  • [Reduce Handling, Install Additional Review Point, Etc that will prevent future problems.]

We truly do appreciate your diligence in this matter. Our goal is to provide the highest level of value to the customer, and this issue has given us the opportunity to review and further improve our internal processes. Thank you so much for the opportunity to allow us to improve.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

We truly appreciate all the time you have given us with this situation.”

7 Tips for Purchasing Courses

Should I buy (fill-in-the-blank course)?

If you are anything like me, you have asked yourself this question a few times. While we have created an incredibly successful course with The Wholesale Formula, we still personally invest in learning and take lots of courses we believe will help us in our own entrepreneurial journey. I personally don’t believe the need for learning ever goes away, particularly in evolving markets like Amazon.

The changes make it exciting, but also make it necessary to continue to learn. That being said, we have taken a lot of courses between myself and Eric, and have bought even more for our team members. Needless to say, we are huge proponents of learning.

So, how do you know if a course is right for you?

That I really can’t answer (as a lot of this depends on your personality), but I can tell you the process we use to determine if a course is right for us.

1) Will I use this course?

While this seems like a pretty easy question, I think it has the most bearing on your success. I believe the number one reason for failure in ANY course is due to not taking action. That applies to us as well. In the past, we have bought courses and not taken action on them.

As you would expect, we didn’t reach our desired results.

Is that the fault of the course? No. It was our fault for not taking action. So, now we ask ourselves this question. If I spend this money, will I take action? If the answer is yes, we will proceed with the following questions.

At the end of the day, buying a course doesn’t help you. Using the information in a course to shortcut your learning curve certainly can, we just have to make sure that we are prepared to do that.

2) Can I afford this course?

Simple enough, right?

I think this goes a bit deeper. It’s not just about the money for the course. The course has its fee, but enacting the business model also usually requires capital. Beyond the price of the course, do we have the appropriate amount of capital to make it work?

For example: with wholesale, we suggest people have a minimum of $2000-$4000 in available capital before starting a wholesale-based business.

If you can’t afford a course, it’s not going to be a good fit. No matter how hard you work, if you don’t have access to the required capital to make it work, you won’t see success with the program.

3) Who teaches the course? Are they active in the industry?

This matters a lot. If the person selling the course is active in their industry it says a couple of things:

  • They believe in what they are teaching.
  • Their strategies are more likely to be up-to-date and effective.

For example: in our case, the strategies we offer in The Wholesale Formula course are the exact same strategies we use in our business. This means our TWF folks are the beneficiaries of the awesome new and fresh strategies that we test live in our business.

4) Are these people getting the results that I want?

I believe that this is important. In general, we are positive people. When we do things, we assume that we will be successful. With that mindset, the most important question is, when I succeed is this what I want to be doing?

I think there is more to it than making money. Does this business model provide the lifestyle that you want?

Our goal in this step is simply to make sure the result actually aligns with what we want.

5) Does the course have a refund policy?

A refund policy serves multiple purposes!

  • It shows they have confidence that their product will work.
  • It gives people an easy exit strategy.

Let’s face it, some things just don’t fit. That happens to everyone on occasion.  With our course, we have a generous thirty-day no-questions-asked refund policy. This was important for us because we realized that our course and model isn’t for everyone. Our goal isn’t simply to get more clients, but to help as many clients as possible actually succeed, so we wanted a refund policy that shared that philosophy.

We have NEVER turned down a refund request inside of our 30-day period. Not once.

This is one of the things that I immediately check for when looking at a course for myself. The aspects that I care about are:

  • Is the refund policy clear?
  • Does the refund policy give me time to see if the product fits my goals?
  • Are there contingencies to the refund policy?

Those criteria are all important for an encompassing refund policy. I never want to feel like I am in a position where I might not get a refund if the product doesn’t align like I imagined. Instead, I want a clear policy that is easy and gives me a chance to see if I understand the model and it makes sense.

6) What type of testimonials do they have?

I believe it to be critically important you see that people are taking the class and are succeeding with the material. Testimonials show a lot about a course. You get to hear others’ experiences and, even more importantly, you get to see that people feel strongly enough to leave a testimonial.

The alternative is that you are looking at a new product. We have taken a few first-time products with great success, but they were advertised as such. If it is a course that has been established before, I certainly want to see some testimonials.

7) Does the course present the material in multiple ways?

I am generally a video person, but with complex concepts, I love to be able to read through the material or see some graphic examples. When we are considering a course, it’s important to us that the material is presented in multiple fashions to make sure that I am most likely to learn the material.

I realize that some of you may not care about all of the things mentioned here, and that is perfectly okay. My goal with this article is to help you learn to make the best decisions possible for your business, by sharing the methodology that we use in our own.

Ready to Get Ungated?


Getting categories ungated could be the single most intimidating process Amazon sellers go through. The secret is, once you go through the first one, the rest of them really aren’t intimidating at all. In this article, I will spill the beans and help YOU have the necessary information, and hopefully help you gather the courage to push forward and go through this process.

Let’s first look at it from the perspective of WHY it really should not be intimidating. For what it is worth, this is likely the single most common question that we receive or at least a derivative of it.

“How do you get ungated?”

In reality, there are a couple of ways to navigate this process, but we have one that we suggest over ALL others.

  • Supply Amazon with Invoices from wholesale companies
  • Be a registered manufacturer with the FDA

I would highly advise against the latter choice (unless you already have those credentials.) If you register with the FDA you open yourself up to all forms of government inspection, etc. Then, imagine trying to explain to the FDA you simply were trying to get your Amazon account ungated in the Grocery category.

I’m sure that would not be “cool” with them. Don’t do it. The other way works just fine.

To really get a good idea of WHY Amazon requires this, let’s look at the policy in general. With Grocery, Health, and Beauty particularly, this is really self-explanatory. If you are selling in these categories, you are selling things that people either ingest or use topically. Either way, if you have suspect handling procedures, that could provide a risk to consumers. Amazon has realized businesses are much more likely to have “safety measures” than people and require this as a form of admittance to show that you are a “real” business.

Now, before I proceed, I want to make one thing abundantly clear…

In most cases, I am very pro-service. I LOVE services that save me time. As an entrepreneur, it is the one resource that I cannot “buy” more of.

However, in the instance of ungating, I would advise against using these services. The main reason is it is VERY hard for them to be TOS compliant. Effectively, to get through the gate, Amazon needs to see that you are buying products from approved vendors, and have the invoices to prove it.

Outside of signing you up for wholesale accounts and placing orders for you, there is nothing they can do!

So, if you get approved through these services, and they don’t sign you up for wholesale accounts and place the orders for you, they have given you inauthentic invoices that can get your account permanently banned. Or, even worse, they could have registered you as an FDA registered manufacturer.

Either way, bad news!

That being said, there really isn’t any reason to go that route and risk your Amazon account or, even worse, possible government fines (which are MASSIVE.)

The other way you often see people trying to get ungated is by going with the distributor ‘de jour’ that is working (at the time) and getting Amazon invoices that way. I know for a while the go-to was Pricemaster. Not sure if that is still the case, or if that one is even still accepted by Amazon. Either way, after you finish this article you won’t need it.

Before we jump into the “how-to”, I did want to point out that If you follow our instructions, you will get in. This is not a hack, or cheat, or short-cut. This is EXACTLY what Amazon wants. When you do things the right way, Amazon WANTS to work with you. They want to approve you to sell in categories.

Complete the following steps to be ungated in a category:

  1. Locate three brands, in the category that you would like to be ungated for. We suggest using the TWF methods to do this, and actually locating brands that you will want to work with in the future.If you are uncomfortable, find three products that you would use in your home, or would not mind using. This part will be unnecessary but may help to ease your fears.
    We prefer to be brand direct here.
  2. Purchase a product or two from each brand in commercial quantity. Commercial quantity is generally defined as 30+ units.Bear in mind, the most important aspect here is NOT being profitable (though if you can be great), the most important aspect is getting ungated. You can lose money on the order and still win.

    This product needs to perfectly match the Amazon detail page.

    Ask that you be given a paid invoice for your order (most will do this anyway).

    When you register your account with the company, make sure that it matches your Amazon Account Info that is on Seller Central.

  3. Annotate your invoice.On your invoice, you should write the ASIN the product corresponds with.

    You can similarly use a program like Snagit. For an awesome guide on annotating invoices, please read our good friend Nate McCallister’s article here:


  4. Send Amazon the information, and if you are rejected don’t panic.If you are rejected for whatever reason, make sure your invoices have the required information and are generally acceptable.
  • Supplier Information (company name, phone number, address, website)
  • Buyer Information (company name, phone number, address, email)
  • Invoice Date (must be in previous 90 days and visible)
  • Item Name/Description
  • Item Quantity in Units

At that point, if your invoice is correct, you can annotate the various parts of the invoice, as that will help the Amazon rep make the correct decision. Similarly, you can also get a Letter of Authorization (use the brand gating template) to give along with your invoices.

The vast majority of the time this last step is NOT necessary. You should be approved without issue using your invoices alone if there aren’t HUGE problems with them. Also, it is important to say most vendors are flexible and will tailor the invoices to your needs.

So, there you have it. If you can do that, you can get ungated. I realize the concern here is that:

“What if Amazon doesn’t let me in?”

You have to understand that simply isn’t going to happen. Amazon rewards people who do things correctly, and this is the process that Amazon WANTS you to follow. This is their preferred approval process because it gives them the information they need from the most legitimate possible sources. Just realize that this is a low barrier of entry for the opportunity to carry lots of new products. Likewise, with Amazon, hurdles NEVER go down, they only get higher (so you should do this sooner than later).

Until next time!