Amazon asks for invoices for three main reasons:
- As part of their quality assurance program.
- To ensure that customers get authentic product, especially on brands that have a history of counterfeit issues.
- To ensure customers get what they expect.
Many new sellers first encounter this when they are trying to get “ungated” for a restricted category. When you go through the process of requesting approval for a restricted category or brand it is common for Amazon to ask for an invoice.
Amazon can also request an invoice from you if a customer makes a complaint about the condition or authenticity of a product you sold them. Amazon will occasionally change the approval requirements for brands. This can be frustrating for sellers who were previously selling a brand, and now have to go through the process of obtaining an invoice from a manufacturer or distributor.
The process of requesting an invoice from you is handled by an algorithm that is regularly updated. Many times the people you contact in seller support will have no clue as to what exactly triggered the request.
In general, it almost always comes back to an issue in the category or brand with counterfeiting and the ever changing efforts of the platform and brand to combat this. They are trying to ensure only “real” products are being sold.
What counts as an invoice?
When Amazon asks for an invoice when you are seeking an approval, they want to see the following:
- A date within 180 days
- At least 10 units of the product being ordered
- Your name
- Your address.
- The name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.
A retail store receipt does not count as an invoice. While we’ve used them successfully for verifying authenticity, this is different than when Amazon wants to see an invoice when you are applying to get ungated for a new brand or category.
Do not try to fake an invoice. Amazon regularly contacts suppliers to verify order details, especially if they detect anything suspicious.
How do you get an invoice?
Generally speaking, an invoice comes from placing a wholesale order.
Wholesale sourcing refers to buying in bulk from established suppliers and brand owners. Anytime you place an order with a reputable supplier, you will get an invoice that will satisfy Amazon’s requirements as long as they meet the criteria listed above (within 180 days, 10+ units, etc…)
If you weren’t automatically supplied with an invoice after placing an order, all you should need to do is contact the supplier and request one.
If you’ve never made a qualifying purchase, you’ll need to make one in order to get past this request. If the request was in reference to a product you’ve already been selling, this can be challenging as you’ll need a very specific invoice. We’ll address this in further detail in a future article.
What do you do if you’ve never made a qualifying purchase?
If you’ve never made a purchase that qualifies, you’ll need to start with setting up a wholesale account.
This process is not nearly as difficult as many people think. There are many accounts that are easy to get started with as long as you take some basic initial steps to get prepared. If all you do is start googling wholesale suppliers and trying to set up accounts, you’ll likely end up with low quality accounts that cost you money or potentially may end up tied up in a scam.
We have a lot of free and low-cost training options to help you if you are interested in wholesale. This sourcing method is one that I strongly recommend as it is the number one revenue and profit generator for my business currently (2021). I sell well into the 7 figures of wholesale products each year, and this model lends itself to automation and outsourcing due to being able to work with suppliers for long periods of time and ability to easily replenish in-demand inventory.
Subscribers to our monthly eCommerce Insider Pro newsletter and strategy guide get access to a members-only workshop I did on this ordering and ungating process where I also shared three specific suppliers you can use for placing initial orders. Membership is only $9 and you can join by clicking the link below:
Another option is to sign up for our Wholesale Accelerator. This is an 8-week program where you work directly with my team and I on getting your first (or next) wholesale account. We guarantee that through this process you will get an account and place an order as long as you complete the homework. You can learn more here:
Here are some additional links to free content that may also help you with wholesale:
If you have any additional questions or comments about invoices, please share them below.