Start an Online Store with No Inventory!

Start an Online Store with No Inventory!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Drop Shipping
    • Inventory vs Drop Shipping: Which is Better?
    • Pros of the Inventory Business Model
    • Cons of the Inventory Business Model
    • Pros of the Drop Shipping Business Model
    • Cons of the Drop Shipping Business Model
  3. How to Start an Online Store with No Inventory
    • Step 1: Product Research
    • Step 2: Choose a Supplier
    • Step 3: Choose a Selling Channel
    • Step 4: Business Automation
    • Step 5: Create Your Online Store
    • Step 6: Marketing Your Online Store
    • Step 7: Fulfilling Orders
    • Step 8: Customer Service
    • Step 9: Scaling and Multiplying Your Profits
  4. Conclusion

How to Start an Online Store without Any Inventory

Starting your own online store can be an exciting venture, but it can also come with its own challenges. One of the biggest hurdles many entrepreneurs face is the need to invest upfront in inventory. Not only does this require a significant financial commitment, but it also poses the risk of holding stock that may not sell. However, there is an alternative business model that can help you bypass these obstacles: drop shipping.

Inventory vs Drop Shipping: Which is Better?

Before delving into the details of drop shipping, it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both the inventory and drop shipping business models.

Pros of the Inventory Business Model

  • Fast order fulfillment: When you hold inventory, you have greater control over the speed of order fulfillment. You don't have to rely on suppliers to ship out products quickly.
  • Reduced risk of shortages: With inventory, you have a clear view of your stock levels and can quickly restock before running out of products.
  • Ability to negotiate a better price: When purchasing inventory in large quantities, you can often negotiate better prices with your suppliers.

Cons of the Inventory Business Model

  • Storage costs: Storing inventory comes with additional expenses, including warehouse space and shelving, which can eat into your profits.
  • Outdated inventory: If products don't sell, you may be left with outdated inventory that requires price reductions and additional marketing efforts to sell, which can lead to financial losses.
  • Reduced cash flow: The upfront costs of purchasing inventory, storage, and hiring a fulfillment team can put a strain on your cash flow, making it more difficult to expand your business.

Pros of the Drop Shipping Business Model

  • Lower startup budget: Drop shipping allows you to start your business with minimal upfront costs since you don't have to purchase inventory in advance.
  • Low risk: By not investing in inventory, you aren't exposed to the risk of products not selling or becoming outdated. This flexibility allows you to try out different products and niches in order to find profitable avenues.

Cons of the Drop Shipping Business Model

  • High competition: Products that have been trending for a while can be saturated with competition, making it more challenging to sell them. It's important to find ways to differentiate yourself and target specific markets effectively.
  • Lack of control over product quality and shipping speed: As a drop shipper, you rely on suppliers for product quality and shipping speed. Ensuring you work with reliable suppliers is essential to provide a positive customer experience.

How to Start an Online Store with No Inventory

Now that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of drop shipping, let's explore the steps to start a successful online store without holding any inventory.

Step 1: Product Research

Product research is a crucial step in any eCommerce business. It involves finding the right products to sell, identifying profitable niches, and understanding market trends. There are several ways to conduct product research, such as using the AliExpress Drop Shipping Center, exploring your supplier's websites, and analyzing competitor products.

Step 2: Choose a Supplier

Choosing reliable drop shipping suppliers is vital to the success of your online store. Look for suppliers that offer a wide range of products in your chosen niche, have fast shipping times, comfortable payment methods, and a favorable return policy. Platforms like Auto DS can assist you in finding and managing multiple suppliers effortlessly.

Step 3: Choose a Selling Channel

Selecting the right selling channel is key. Popular options include eBay, Shopify, Facebook Marketplace, and Wix. Each platform has its own advantages and features, such as ease of use, potential customer reach, and cost. Consider your target audience and the nature of your products when deciding on the most suitable selling channels.

Step 4: Business Automation

To streamline your operations and ensure scalability, invest in business automation tools. Platforms like Auto DS offer features such as price and stock monitoring, quick product importing, order fulfillment automation, and customer support management. This automation frees up your time to focus on growing your business.

Step 5: Create Your Online Store

When creating your online store, invest time in optimizing product pages, designing a user-friendly interface, and creating an appealing store layout. Customize important elements like your store logo, banners, and product images to establish a strong brand identity.

Step 6: Marketing Your Online Store

To drive traffic and increase sales, implement marketing strategies tailored to your chosen selling channels. This can include running PPC campaigns, leveraging social media platforms, influencer marketing, and optimizing your product listings for search engine visibility. Each selling channel will have its own marketing options, so learn how to effectively promote your store on your chosen platforms.

Step 7: Fulfilling Orders

As orders start coming in, it's crucial to have a streamlined order fulfillment process in place. You can fulfill orders manually by purchasing products from your suppliers' websites and providing shipping details, or leverage automation tools like Auto DS to automatically process and fulfill orders through your buyer accounts.

Step 8: Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is vital for customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and positive word-of-mouth. Monitor and respond to customer inquiries promptly, handle returns efficiently, and maintain open lines of communication to foster a positive customer experience.

Step 9: Scaling and Multiplying Your Profits

Once your store is running smoothly, analyze your sales data to identify top-selling products and niche trends. Continuously add similar products to your store and keep testing new markets and product categories. Scaling your business requires ongoing product research, optimization, and expanding your product range while closely monitoring customer feedback and market trends.


Starting an online store without holding any inventory is an attractive option for aspiring entrepreneurs. By embracing the drop shipping business model, you can minimize upfront costs, test market demand, and scale your business effectively. Remember to conduct thorough product research, choose reliable suppliers, select suitable selling channels, automate key business processes, offer exceptional customer service, and continuously analyze and optimize your store to achieve long-term success.