dropshipping with no inventory

How to start an online store without inventory

Are you dreaming of starting your own online store, but the thought of buying and keeping inventory is holding you back? Well, get ready to be wowed because starting an online store without inventory is not only possible, but it’s also easier than you think! In fact, there are multiple ways how to start an online store without inventory.

Let us guide you through the whole world of possibilities of selling without stressing out because of piling stock.

Peaks of having no inventory

benefits of selling online with no inventory

Less workload, more time

Without an inventory, you don’t have to worry about managing inventory or shipping products. Instead, you can put more focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing and customer service.

For a newbie, this allows you to learn and experiment with different marketing strategies, customer service techniques, and product offerings without being bogged down by inventory management.

Moreover, when planning out your marketing strategy, there is no need to hold back due to the fact that there will not be enough products left to sell. In fact, you can sell as much as you can without worrying about inventory.

Various products

Since you don’t need to hold inventory, you can offer a wide range of products to your customers without worrying about managing stock levels.

This can be particularly beneficial for beginners who are still figuring out their niche or target audience. For experienced sellers, this also offers a wonderful opportunity to test many new products without buying inventory upfront.

It is also much easier once you want to extend your store and product range. For example, you are selling mostly clothing and want to expand to other related items that customers might be interested in buying, like shoes or accessories.

Location independence

When doing business with inventory, your business is likely to tie down to the location of your inventory. It is very difficult to sell across borders, and nearly impossible to control your business remotely from wherever you are.

But all of these worries are no longer valid once you start selling with no inventory. You can run your online store from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

This can be a significant advantage for beginners who want to start an online store but have other commitments, such as a full-time job or family responsibilities. For instance, you can start your online store as a side hustle, working on it during evenings and weekends, and still generate a significant income without having to quit your day job.

Lower cost

Online business without inventory requires minimal upfront investment compared to traditional retail models. There is no need to hire a warehouse and staff to manage stock. In some cases, there is no need to even buy the products upfront.

As a beginner, this means you can start your online store with minimal investment and risk, allowing you to test different products and niches before committing a significant amount of money.

For instance, instead of investing thousands of dollars in inventory, you can start your online store with just a few hundred dollars by purchasing a domain name and setting up a website.

How to start an online business without inventory

1. Print on demand

Print on demand is hand down one of the best ways to start a business online without inventory. With print on demand, there is no need to buy products and keep stock. Instead, your print on demand provider will print, package, and deliver your products to your customers’ front door.

Products are only produced and processed for delivery once the orders are made, which is why print on demand is considered quite low-risk and low-entrant compared to traditional business.

The best part is it allows you to customize product designs that are unique to your store. This way, you can easily adjust your product offerings and adapt to the current market trends. It’s easier to create unique designs that appeal to your target audience.

Who is the most suitable for print on demand?

How to start selling print on demand

  • Create your online store. You can either sell products via marketplaces or on your own store domain.
  • Do market research to find the right products and niches
  • Fin your supplier who prints and ships products on your behalf
  • Create your designs and add designs to your products
  • List your products on your store and start marketing your products

Want to start selling print on demand? Here are the top print on demand companies to kickstart your online business with no inventory.

Best print on demand products to sell

Here are some popular print on demand products that are great to start with

  • T-shirt
  • Hoodies
  • Mugs
  • Wall art

Apart from these basic items, there are more opportunities for print-on-demand businesses to explore. Especially at Merchize, we provide a long list of print on demand products that cover different product categories, from clothing and accessories to home decoration.

With over 350+ products at Merchize, you can try and experience various options for finding out what works for your business.

2. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products to customers, but instead of keeping the products in stock, you purchase them from a supplier who ships them directly to your customer.

With dropshipping, since you don’t need to purchase inventory upfront, the initial investment required for starting a dropshipping business is relatively low. You can start with a small budget and gradually scale up as your business grows.

A big peak of dropshipping is that there are plenty of product options that you can try out. It is easy to search for a product that can cater to your customer’s tastes and preferences.

Shopping online concept - Parcel or Paper cartons with a shopping cart logo in a trolley on a laptop keyboard. Shopping service on The online web. offers home delivery.

How to start dropshipping?

In order to get your dropshipping business going, just follow these four steps:

  • Choose a product niche: Select a product niche that you are passionate about or have knowledge of. You can use market research tools to identify popular products and niches.
  • Find a supplier: Look for reliable suppliers who offer dropshipping services. You can use online directories, such as Oberlo, SaleHoo, or Worldwide Brands, to find suppliers. You can also contact manufacturers directly to see if they offer dropshipping.
  • Set up an online store: Create an online store using an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify or WooCommerce. Use your supplier’s product catalog to import products into your store.
  • Promote your store: Drive traffic to your store using social media, content marketing, and paid advertising. Focus on building a brand and providing excellent customer service to build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Who is the most suitable for Dropshipping

  • Experienced marketing gurus

If we compare dropshipping vs print on demand, dropshipping requires less work because you don’t have to make designs. Your focus is on how to find the right products and promote them properly. That’s why this solution is the best for marketing gurus who wants to start an online business without inventory.

  • E-commerce beginners

Dropshipping is a beginner-friendly business model for you to start with. Obviously, dropshipping nowadays is not easy. However, it helps you to solve all the biggest challenges for newbies when starting an online business including inventory management and starting cost. With dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about keeping an inventory, packaging, and shipping. The process is simplified so that anyone can start selling easily. In addition, you just don’t have to invest in buying products or inventory management.

3. FBA

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is a service provided by Amazon that allows sellers to store their inventory at Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Afterward, Amazon takes care of shipping and customer service on behalf of the sellers.

In order words, instead of keeping inventory at your place, you can leverage Amazon’s infrastructure and resources to manage and ship your products.

FBA sell online with no inventory

How to start selling FBA?

If you want to take full advantage of FBA, you can follow these steps:

  • Create an Amazon seller account: Register your account at Amazon seller central website. Amazon will require information about your business, bank account details, and tax information.

However, for FBA sellers, you have to take some extra steps to create an FBA account. At your seller central account, go to the “Fulfillment by Amazon" tab and follow the steps to set up your FBA account.

  • Find and source your products: Identifying the right products with high demand and low competition is crucial for success. After doing your research and deciding what to sell, it’s time to source products from manufacturers, wholesalers, or distributors.

If you want to sell print on demand via FBA, Merchize can help you out. We help you print your products, package your products up to Amazon’s requirements and send your stock to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

  • List your products and manage your listings: Create product listings for your items on Amazon, including descriptions, photos, and pricing. And don’t forget to monitor your product listings, pricing, and inventory levels.

Who is the most suitable for FBA?

If you are one of the following types, you might find FBA great opportunities to grow your business with efficiency.

  • Small business owners

If you are running a small business at home, FBA can be a great option that helps you expand your business and make use of Amazon’s customer base.

With FBA, you can access Amazon’s Prime shipping program – a one-day shipping service provided by Amazon to its Prime members. Of course, buyers love fast shipping. That’s why access to this service will help you to boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.

Moreover, you can also benefit from Amazon’s 24-hour customer support services.

  • Retailers

FBA can be a great option for retailers who want to sell their products on Amazon but don’t want to deal with the logistics of shipping and customer service. You can instead focus on other aspects of their business.

  • Print on demand sellers

FBA is an ideal solution for print on demand sellers who are experienced with Amazon and want to expand their business to the next level.

Long shipping time and logistic issues are some of the biggest challenges for print on demand sellers. With FBA, you can take advantage of advanced Amazon fulfillment centers to deliver light-fast shipping to customers.

Fortunately, at Merchize, we are offering special FBA services where we help you to print your products as per your order quantity, do proper FBA packaging then send them to FBA’s fulfillment centers. We require no minimum order quantity.

Plus, if combined with our branding services, you will be able to build strong branding for your Amazon business.

  • International sellers

FBA is incredibly useful for international sellers who want to break into the US market. Normally, it would take weeks to months for a package to be successfully delivered across borders. Long shipping is one of the barriers that keep international sellers from making successful business on a global scale. However, with FBA, all of these issues can be solved easily.

International sellers can rely on Amazon’s cutting-edge logistic systems to distribute their products fast and efficiently.

In general, FBA is the perfect option for e-commerce business owners who want to start an online store without worrying about managing inventory and shipping logistics.

4. Digital products and services

With digital products and services, there is no need to keep a physical inventory as your products are digitalized and stored entirely online. As long as there are internet connections, anyone from anywhere can buy them.

Compared to physical products, digital products do not cost you as much capital to produce. What is needed is your time, effort, skills, and expertise. Designs, printable files, e-books, online courses, music, coaching, and tutoring are a few examples of digital products and services that you can make and sell online.

digital products

How to start selling digital products and services?

  • Find your niches and what products you want to sell

First, just brainstorm what unique talents do you have that could be used to create a fantastic digital product? Perhaps you’re a natural wordsmith and could pen an e-book or develop a writing workshop.

The next step is all about finding the perfect market and niches for your digital products. Have you heard the saying “There’s a lid for every pot"? Well, it’s just like that – you need to identify your niche!

  • Create your products

Now that you have figured out what kind of products you want to make and which niches you want to cater to, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cracking on creating your digital goodies that meet the mark.

  • Make your website or register on e-commerce platforms

If you’re looking to sell your digital products and services, it’s important to find the right platform for your needs. One option is to set up your own website and domain, which can give you more control over the process. Platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce can make this easier by providing payment processing and inventory management features.

If setting up your own website isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of options available. You could try registering a seller account on platforms like Gumroad, Sellfy, or E-junkie, where you can showcase and sell your products without the hassle of managing your own site. So why not give it a go? It could be just what you need to take your online sales to the next level!

  • Promote your products

The last yet most important step is to help your product to reach people who actually need your products.

Who is the most suitable for digital products and services?

While digital products require no inventory, storage, or shipping, it takes a high level of expertise to produce. This type of product is especially beneficial if you are one of the following:

  • Creatives: If you’re a photographer, artist, musician, or writer, you can create digital products such as digital art prints, music tracks, books, or video tutorials to sell to your audience.
  • Content creators: Selling digital products can be a great way for content creators who are professionals at creating videos, podcasts, and blogs. Plus, with the existing audience, it is easy to market and promote your products to the audience who are interested in your content.
  • Experts and coaches: Making educational digital products are highly recommended for experts and coaches. Whether you are a professional in marketing, business, finance, or self-development, you can totally exchange your knowledge in your fields for money through selling courses, tutoring, or coaching services.

5. Third-party logistics (3PL)

The last option for people who want to start selling online without keeping inventory is through third-party logistics. This service is quite similar to FBA. The difference is that your logistics partner is the third-party service provider, not Amazon.

How to start selling with Third-party logistics partners

After buying the products from the manufacturers or distributors, you can ship your products directly to your Third-party logistics partner. From there, they will help to keep and manage your products. Now, you can start listing and selling your products.

This option provides a quick and easy solution for inventory management and shipping tracking.

third-party logistics no inventory business

Who is the most suitable to use Third party logistics?

Unlike print on demand or dropshipping, using third-party logistics still requires you to buy and own products, which will raise the running cost for your business. That’s why this solution matches established business who has already got a steady customer base. As you are more experienced with the market and have remained a certain customer base, there is a lower risk of unsold inventory.

By partnering with Third-party logistics companies, you will be able to eradicate all-consuming tasks related to keeping inventory. Instead, you will have more time to market your products and scale your business.

Start an online store without inventory with Merchize

Merchize offers the best solution for your to start an income stream without stressing over keeping and managing your inventory. At Merchize, we provide both print-on-demand and FBA services, which provide great flexibility for your business. Whether you are an e-commerce newbie or an experienced seller with an established business, you can find solutions that match your needs.

Print on demand

  • Competitive pricing: Merchize makes it one of our priorities to optimize the cost for print on demand and offer competitive prices.
  • Various products: Our product catalog includes over 300 print-on-demand products in different categories. With a wide range of products, you can explore new opportunities in the market and keep your business growing.
  • No minimum order: We require no minimum orders. Every time an order is placed, we will make and deliver it to the customers.
  • Various integration options: Merchize offers integrations across different popular e-commerce platforms, which allows an automated and seamless fulfillment flow.
  • Transparent product and order tracking system: Each and every order fulfilled through Merchize was kept track throughout the process. You can update the real-time status of all orders and get an overview of your store easily through your dashboard.
  • Build-in mockup generator: Merchize also integrates smart mockup generation into your system which allows our sellers to create easy and quick mockup images for your products.

How to start selling print on demand with Merchize

In order to take advantage of all Merchize’s peaks, you can create your own account at seller.merchize.com. Here are some simple steps to ingrate your store with Merrchize and start selling print on demand:

  • Create Merchize account
  • Integrate your online store with Merchize
  • Upload your designs and sell products
  • Start fulfilling with Merchize

Ready to start your print on demand business with no inventory?

Merchize helps you to create an online business with no upfront cost, no inventory.

merchize t-shirt


FBA is another option for sellers who want to break free from all the logistics stress. At Merchize, we provide various FBA options with high flexibility that matches your business’s need. You now can sell your print-on-demand designs through FBA with no hassle. Merchize will help you to produce, label, and package as well as send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

How to start FBA with Merchize

To start using Merchize’s FBA services, you should first have an active fulfillment account at Merchize. Here is how you can create your first FBA orders:

  • Create a CVS file with all the order details using our file template
  • Import your order information through your CVS file
  • Once the file is imported, Merchize will take care of the rest. You can keep track of the process in your Order Progress section.
You can check out our step-by-step guide on how to start a FBA business with Merchize. 

Take your online print on demand business to the next level with Merchize’s FBA services

Create your products and let Amazon manage your inventory like a breeze.


Key takeaways

And that’s a wrap! Let’s recap the key points from this guide on starting an online business without inventory:

  • Dropshipping allows you to run an online store without handling inventory. Find reliable suppliers, focus on great marketing, and provide excellent customer service.
  • Print-on-demand is another inventory-free option. Upload your designs and get them printed on products only when orders come in.
  • Digital products like ebooks, courses, and software can be created once and sold infinitely. Offer valuable info, great formatting, and regular updates.
  • Online services like consulting, writing, design etc. is another inventory-free business model. Offer in-demand skills and promote your services well.
  • Implement marketing best practices like SEO, social media, email marketing, affiliates etc. to attract buyers. Provide discounts and promotions to boost sales.
  • Choose the right online tools for setting up stores, payment systems, marketing, and operations. Update platforms and methods as needed.
  • Start lean, but dream big. Your profitable online empire awaits with the right inventory-free business model, smart marketing, and excellent execution!

Don’t let the initial overwhelm discourage you! With the right tricks up your sleeve, launching an online store without inventory is absolutely achievable. So, put on your thinking cap, and let’s dive in! By thinking outside the box and staying persistent, you can transform your love of selling into a lucrative business. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with a bit of elbow grease and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to e-commerce success. Hop to it and let’s make those dreams a reality!

We hope that our guide on how to start an online store without inventory has given you some helpful tips and tricks. Now it’s up to you to take the next big step toward your e-commerce dreams. 

To start an online store without the inventory headache, sign up with Merchize and leverage their expertise in streamlining online merchandising.

Let’s have fun, and make it happen! Good luck!

is a senior writer at Merchize covering products, services, and consumer tech issues and trends. Previously, she was a content writer for trustworthy brands and International corporations. With her deep knowledge in multiple industries, Bich has become a professional writer and has chosen Merchize to explore eCommerce, MMO, and Print on Demand... In her free time, she loves reading, listening to music, and hanging out at cafes.