5 Ways to Start an Online Business with No Inventory
Managing inventory is an added risk that many business owners would prefer to do without. It can be difficult to predict how much of which product you'll need, and as we've seen over the past year or more, supply chain delays can also have an impact on how quickly you're able to fulfill orders.
There's also the risk of purchasing too much inventory that you're not able to sell. This means you then have to store it at your house, or pay more money to store it somewhere else.
The last thing you want to be worrying about as you build a balanced business is inventory, so here are 5 ways you can setup an online business with no inventory!
1. Print on Demand Products
This is a form dropshipping where products can be customized without managing order fulfillment.
An order is placed through your site and then the print on demand service produces your custom product, and ships it directly to your customer.
Some examples of print on demand products are:
Art prints (yours or art in public domain)
2. Fulfilment by Amazon
This has become a popular option for those who want to run an ecommerce store, but don't want to manage inventory. In exchange for fee for storing your products, as well as a commission, Amazon provides you with the platform to sell your products and allows you to:
Choose the products you want to sell on Amazon
Those products get delivered to an Amazon warehouse
Amazon stores your products for you
When a product is sold, it'll be packed and delivered by Amazon on your behalf
To learn more about fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), click here.
Much like fulfilment by Amazon, with a dropshipper, your order gets packaged and sent on your behalf. This will minimize the time you would be spending managing stock, and fulfilling orders.
The difference with this approach is that the order is placed through your website, and then your dropshipper handles the backend fulfillment. With Wix eCommerce, you can even choose between ready-to-sell products by selecting a catalog.
3. Affiliate Store
With an affiliate store, you get paid a commission for promoting others products on their behalf. This means when an order is placed, the full amount goes to the seller, and they then will pay you a percentage of the sale.
To make a decent amount of money with this approach, you'll need a significant amount of relevant traffic. This means an audience that is actually interested in the products you're promoting.
4. Offer Digital Products
Digital products are usually unlimited (so you don't have to worry about managing stock), and they can be sold as many times as you like. This means that once you've created the digital product, you have a good potential for growth.
Some examples of digital products are:
Entertainment (podcasts, video, or music)
Educational (course, ebook, template)
Something to keep in mind is how you plan to protect your digital products. Because they're digital, they run the risk of being copied or redistributed, so make sure you build in a process that helps prevent or limits the possibility of this happening to your digital products.
5. Sell Your Services
You can choose to productize your services, which involves selling your expertise as an outcome. Think about the experience you've built over the years and what audience would benefit from what you know.
Next, create a list of problems or challenges that audience faces. Be specific, and consider what process they'd need to follow in order to solve that problem. Don't forget to establish a set timeline and expectations for the service, so no one is making assumptions and your client can be as prepared as possible.
By productizing your service, you're creating a scalable, repeatable process that can eventually be replicated by other members of your team as you grow.
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