Most states in the U.S. currently have some type of face-covering mandate in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even if these are lifted, items like face masks and gloves are likely to remain popular preventive measures for the foreseeable future. Naturally, many businesses are seeking to capitalize on this increased demand by selling personal protective equipment (PPE) on the Amazon Marketplace.
Unfortunately, selling PPE on Amazon is not as simple as listing most other products. To protect customers, the company has implemented strict requirements to sell items related to the coronavirus pandemic, including face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and sprays, isopropyl alcohol, and sanitary gloves. As a full-service channel management agency, Channel Key has assembled this guide to help your brand sell PPE products on the largest e-commerce platform in the country.
Initial requirements for creating listings for new and existing PPE products
If your company is breaking into the PPE market, you’ll need to create new listings for your products. To create ASINs in this category, Amazon requires you to complete a New Listing Creation Form specifically for personal safety and household products. Upon approval, you can begin building and optimizing your new product listings. If your company wants to sell existing products in the PPE category, Amazon requires you to submit some or (in most cases) all the following information:
- At least one purchase invoice for your product(s) from a manufacturer or distributor
- Photos of your product(s) or the packaging
- Consent to Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy
The increased demand for PPE products creates an opportunity for unethical price-gouging, which Amazon has sought to curb by placing greater scrutiny on PPE sellers. For a brief overview, the company’s Fair Pricing Policy prohibits the following:
- Setting a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon
- Selling multiple units of a product for more per unit than that of a single unit of the same product
- Setting a shipping fee on a product that Amazon considers excessive
The most common problem with selling PPE on Amazon
At first glance, creating listings for new and existing PPE products may seem straightforward and similar to selling products in other categories. The reality is that Amazon enforces tight restrictions on product titles, bullet points, descriptions, images, and product labels for PPE. For example, Amazon will flag and remove PPE listings for the following violations:
- Including medical claims anywhere in the product listing
- Including misleading product descriptions
- Using the word “COVID” or anything related to the coronavirus pandemic
- Including claims or references to organizations on the product label (e.g. FDA, CDC, WHO)
It’s important to note that each time a product listing is flagged, you will need to submit a case number to Amazon Seller Support. In order to relist your product, you’ll be required to provide 3rd party documentation including compliance and testing reports (e.g., medical tests, bacterial filtration tests, particle filtration tests, etc.). This happens quite easily with new PPE listings and can cause significant delays in getting your products approved for sale on Amazon.
The most efficient way to sell PPE on Amazon
The primary hurdle of selling PPE on Amazon is the time you will spend corresponding with Seller Support. For this reason, it is helpful to consult with a professional channel management agency. Channel Key works closely with Amazon on a day-to-day basis to remain up-to-date with the company’s ever-changing protocols and requirements regarding PPE listings.
Channel Key will help your company expedite the initial application process, optimize listings to comply with PPE restrictions, minimize the likelihood of having listings removed for a violation, and facilitate the relisting of products that have been flagged. Perhaps most importantly, our team will provide guidance with obtaining and filing the appropriate PPE compliance documentation.
For example, by far the most common documentation that Amazon requests for listing and selling face masks are an official FDA Manufacturer, FEI, Registration, or Operator Owner number. Many of these can be found at the FDA’s Establishment Registration & Device Listing webpage.
You will likely face other requests before your listings are finally approved. To help save you time, we’ve compiled this list of questions we often receive from Amazon while creating new PPE product listings:
- What is the Manufacturer’s monthly production capacity?
- Is the inventory on hand in the U.S., inbound, or waiting to be shipped from overseas?
- Do you have a pricing/pack size strategy ready for inbound shipment into FBA?
- Are there any UPC’s or barcodes associated with the products?
- Do you have invoices that prove the product was purchased from the manufacturer by your identifiable company?
- Do you have or can you produce 6-sided product packaging featuring the manufacturer’s name or logo?
The future of selling PPE on Amazon
On June 26, 2020, Nevada became the latest state to mandate face coverings for all residents while in public. With many parts of the country seeing an uptick in reported COVID-19 cases, Channel Key predicts that not only will the demand for face masks continue to rise, but also competition for the PPE market. As we’ve outlined, selling PPE on Amazon is already tedious and often time-consuming. An increase in the number of businesses applying to sell in the same PPE categories could cause Amazon to implement even stricter listing requirements.
Businesses seeking to capture their share of the PPE market will have a strong advantage by: 1) consulting with a proven channel management agency like Channel Key; and 2) getting their listings optimized and approved before the market becomes overcrowded and new restrictions are set in place. To learn more about how to sell PPE on Amazon, contact us today for a free consultation with one of our Amazon experts.