How To Sell on Amazon Without Inventory

how to sell on amazon without inventory

Omar Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

Table of Contents

Can you make money on Amazon without inventory?

Yes, an Amazon store owner can succeed by selling on Amazon without inventory.

You can start selling anything on Amazon without a warehouse or physical inventory if you conduct adequate research and take the right steps.

If I’ve piqued your interest, you’re likely already wondering how to sell things on Amazon without inventory.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

I wrote this guide to teach you how to sell on Amazon without inventory.

Let’s begin.

How To Sell Stuff on Amazon Without Inventory: What Does It Mean?

how to sell on amazon without inventory

Many sellers on Amazon use three popular methods when selling products online without purchasing needing to purchase inventory.

  1. Selling digital products like e-books, audiobooks, and music

  2. Selling print-on-demand products via merch by Amazon

  3. Selling products via dropshipping

I’ll discuss each to help you start selling immediately, jumpstarting your online business and career as an Amazon seller.

How To Sell on Amazon Without Inventory

Selling Digital Products

Selling Digital Products

You can start an Amazon business without inventory by selling digital products.

The nature of digital products means you don’t need inventory. Thus, you can focus on selling and growing your business.

Selling digital products on Amazon is easy, even for beginners. You can open an Amazon store quickly and make your first sale in days.

Benefits of Selling Digital Products

  • Digital products have an unlimited shelf life and require no raw material to create.

  • The costs to sell on Amazon are minimal if you sign up for the Individual Seller plan.

  • You can sell without significant ecommerce experience.

  • Your profit margins can be generous when selling digital products.

  • You can take advantage of Amazon’s credibility as an ecommerce marketplace.

Cons of Selling Digital Products

  • Amazon still takes high commission fees from you with every sale on its platform.

  • You can only sell digital copies of books via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

  • You may miss out on profits due to the market demand for physical books.

Selling digital products is an excellent way to use the Amazon no-product platform. You can update, add, or change your digital product according to customer demand. 

Selling Merch on Demand Products

Selling Merch on Demand Products

Wondering how to sell shirts on Amazon without inventory?

Amazon’s Merch on Demand Content Creator program lets you personalize and sell products using your artwork. You bring your digital art creations to life through various merchandise, including shirts and hoodies.

This system lets you sell physical products without your own warehouse space.

Amazon will store the products, print your artwork, and ship them to buyers.

Benefits of Selling Amazon Merch on Demand Products

  • You can use Amazon’s Prime Shipping to distribute your products.

  • Your art receives significant exposure from Amazon’s retail space.

  • You don’t need to buy inventoryyou just produce the art.

  • You can manage your ecommerce selling by yourself or with a small team.

  • You gain a steady income stream when you make a name for yourself.

Cons of Selling Amazon Merch on Demand Products

  • Depending on your desired volume, the pool of possible products you can sell may not suffice.

  • You may receive lower royalties from your sales than you expect.

  • You may need to invest in Amazon SEO and seller tools

Merch on Demand can be an amazing way to earn profits while engaging with your audience. While there is a selection process before Amazon lets you upload and sell your designs, you can meet their requirements easily.

Selling via Dropshipping

Selling via Dropshipping

Start an Amazon dropshipping business if you want to be an online retailer.

All you need to start an Amazon dropshipping business is an Amazon storefront.

You find suitable dropshipping companies or suppliers who ship the products to your customers when they order.

Benefits of Dropshipping

  • You can dropship using other sales channels besides Amazon.

  • You can scale your business on Amazon according to customer demand.

  • It’s easier than other Amazon business models.

Dropshipping is an excellent option if you want to focus on sales and have a reliable supplier with high-quality products.

Cons of Dropshipping

  • The dropshipping industry is extremely competitive, and getting significant ecommerce sales may be challenging.

  • You only have control over the branding of the products, not the quality.

  • There’s little you can do if your supplier isn’t dependable and can’t properly manage their inventory.

  • You’ll have to deal with customer inquiries and complaints.

  • You must conduct significant product research to find profitable products and succeed at dropshipping.

Dropshipping can also work if you set up an Amazon private-label business, where you rebrand a private-label supplier’s products as your own. You can start a private-label business on Amazon, provided your products adhere to Amazon’s guidelines.

What if I Already Have an Existing Inventory?

Some businesses may want to switch to a no-product-inventory business model if their inventory costs are too high.

You don’t have to throw away your inventory. You can still sell your products on Amazon and have someone else handle other aspects like packaging, shipping, and returns.

Selling via Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)

Selling via Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)

The most popular option to sell on Amazon without inventory is to join Amazon’s FBA program and become an Amazon FBA business.

Many FBA sellers have succeeded with this program, and you can also be an FBA Amazon seller.

The Amazon FBA program lets Amazon handle your product fulfillment.

You sign up for the FBA program and send your inventory to Amazon’s warehouse (Amazon fulfillment center).

When your customers order products, the teams at Amazon fulfillment centers pick the items, pack them, and ship them to customers on your behalf.

Becoming an FBA Amazon seller means Amazon handles inventory management, packaging, shipping, customer service, and returns.

An FBA inventory lets you focus your time and energy on selling and growing your online business.

For example, you can focus on finding reliable suppliers or optimizing your ecommerce website for a smoother transition to a no-inventory model.

Consider these drawbacks before letting Amazon FBA handle your inventory.

  • There may be less profit because of the seller fees and commissions Amazon FBA takes from your sales.

  • The speed of customer service depends on Amazon’s fulfillment centers

  • You may spend significantly on FBA storage fees if you don’t sell your FBA inventory fast enough.

However, you shouldn’t let these challenges deter you.

Many Amazon sellers thrive on Amazon’s FBA seller program. If you don’t want to do inventory management, packaging, and shipping of your remaining products, let Amazon FBA handle it.

The Amazon FBA platform is ideal if your audience is Amazon Prime customers. As an Amazon FBA seller, your customers can enjoy Amazon Prime’s free two-day Prime shipping options.

Selling via Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Selling via Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Third-party logistics offer another to sell products on Amazon with no inventory. These companies aren’t part of Amazon but provide the same services.

Third-party inventory solutions provide all-inclusive storage and shipping, including collections and inspection. It’s a suitable alternative if you don’t like Amazon’s logistics.

Benefits of Selling via Third-Party Logistics

  • You can store your entire inventory in their warehouses

  • You can optimize fulfillment for a specific region if your logistics provider has a third-party fulfillment center in the same region.

  • You may get rates that are cheaper than Amazon FBA services.

Cons of Selling via Third-Party Logistics

  • Your provider’s fulfillment centers may not be as efficient or widespread as Amazon’s

  • The quality of the storage and shipping solutions may not be up-to-par with Amazon FBA.

  • It can be more expensive upfront, depending on the type of products and how much inventory space you need

Even using third-party logistics, you must follow Amazon’s product guidelines.

Using 3PL to sell stuff on Amazon without inventory can still be profitable, even in the short term. This method can work for you if you want to quickly offload as much inventory as possible.

How To Sell On Amazon Without Products

I’ve just explained how to buy and sell on Amazon without inventory.

What’s the ideal method for your business?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to selling on Amazon without inventory because every business has different goals and sales strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Buy Retail Products From a Retailer and Sell Them Immediately on Amazon?

Yes. This process is retail arbitrage and can be very profitable if you sell in the right markets. However, you may have to handle and ship products independently or use Amazon FBA for fulfillment.

You can simply consider dropshipping if you want to sell without inventory.

Can I Make Products and Sell Them on Amazon but Store Them Elsewhere Besides My Place?

Wondering how to sell products on Amazon with your own warehouse? You can, but it’s not necessary.

If you want to keep product development and manufacturing in-house but don’t want to deal with storing your goods, consider 3PL or the Amazon FBA program.

You can sell on Amazon without physically keeping your inventory. You’ll technically still have inventory, but your 3PL or Amazon will take care of handling, packaging, and shipping for you.

How Can I Make Market Research Easier if I Want to Sell Without Inventory?

How Can I Make Market Research Easier if I Want to Sell Without Inventory?

Many Amazon research tools like Helium 10, JungleScout, and AMZ Scout are available.

These tools can help determine which profitable products you can sell without inventory.

Can I Offload My Inventory to Amazon FBA While Transitioning to a No-Product Amazon System?

Amazon warehouse storage works by forecasting how likely your product is to sell, not the quantity of your product. The only way to store your inventory off-site is with a 3PL provider.

Alternatively, you can transition to an FBM model while emptying your inventory. However, this method requires you to keep, package, and ship products yourself.

The Bottom Line

I hope my guide helped you learn how to sell on Amazon without inventory.

Don’t hesitate to begin selling by trying any of the methods I discussed if you don’t like managing inventory or processing customer returns yourself.

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