How to Sell On Amazon Without Inventory: A Comprehensive How-To Guide

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Are you drawn to the idea of stepping into the e-commerce world but find yourself held back by the challenge of handling inventory?

If you’re a newcomer wondering how to sell on Amazon without inventory and dealing with the hassles of managing physical products, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll cut through the complexities and explore the exciting avenue of selling on Amazon without the headache of handling actual inventory.

No need to worry about stock levels, storage space, or financial commitment – we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to discover effective methods for selling products online without the burden of maintaining stock, helping you reach your e-commerce goals.

Here are some ways you can sell on Amazon without inventory.

  • Choose between dropshipping or Amazon FBA for inventory-free selling.
  • Effectively manage multiple suppliers with streamlined communication.
  • Find reliable suppliers through research, directories, trade shows, and recommendations.
  • Use your inventory with Amazon FBA for managed fulfillment.
  • Success requires strategic product selection, competitive pricing, and customer satisfaction.

What is E-Commerce?

Traditional e-commerce usually means juggling a pile of products, a daunting task for those new to the game.

Balancing supply and demand, finding storage space, and dealing with the financial risks of excess inventory can be overwhelming.

If you’ve been hesitant to dive into online selling, you’re not alone.

Think about putting your money into a variety of products, only to discover that some gather dust while others fly off the shelves.

Traditional inventory management often feels like predicting the weather – unpredictable and error-prone. The result? Tied up funds in slow-moving items and missed opportunities for fast-selling products.

Storing physical inventory comes with its own set of challenges – renting storage space, managing perishable goods, and handling the logistics of shipping and returns can quickly turn your online store dream into a logistical nightmare.

Our approach frees you from the burdens of traditional e-commerce, offering a streamlined and efficient way to kickstart your online business.


Let’s explore the actionable steps to achieve inventory-free success on Amazon.

how to sell on amazon without inventory

My Amazon Journey

Navigating the intricacies of inventory management in my journey as a successful Amazon seller has been both enlightening and, at times, stress-inducing.

Early on, I grappled with the conventional approach, where products could languish on shelves, gathering dust as I struggled to strike the delicate balance between supply and demand.

The stress of forecasting demand felt akin to navigating through a maze with no clear path. Missteps in predicting which items would be a hit and which would linger led to tied-up funds and missed opportunities.

The traditional e-commerce model often felt daunting with its storage space demands, shipping logistics, and the perpetual risk of overstocking.

However, my journey took a transformative turn when I discovered the liberating concept of selling on Amazon without the weight of physical inventory.

Embracing this inventory-free approach revolutionized my business model. It alleviated the stress of managing stock levels and opened up new avenues for efficiency and success.

By sharing my experience, I aim to shed light on the challenges of traditional inventory management, the toll it can take on a seller’s peace of mind, and the refreshing alternative of thriving on Amazon without the burden of inventory.

Choosing Between FBA and FBM

amazon fba vs fbm

In the dynamic realm of Amazon selling, two primary fulfillment methods stand out: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). Understanding the nuances and making an informed choice between these approaches can significantly impact your selling experience.

Let’s delve into the comparisons between FBA and FBM.

According to Jungle Scouts 2023 State of the Seller Report, 86% of Amazon sellers use FBA and 37% use FBM.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service where Amazon takes care of the storage, packing, and shipping of your products, providing sellers with a hands-off approach to logistics.

On the other hand, fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) involves sellers managing the entire fulfillment process, including storing products, packing, and shipping orders independently, offering greater control and flexibility over the whole operation.

The following table compares FBA vs. FBM fulfillment platforms:

FeatureFulfilled By Amazon (FBM)Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM)
Prime EligibilityYesNo
StorageAmazonSeller or 3PL
ReturnsAmazonSeller handles returns but must follow Amazon standards
Customer ServiceAmazonAmazon
Shipping FeesAmazon handles shipping and bills the sellerSeller
Performance MetricsNoneNone

What is FBM?

what is amazon fbm

Amazon Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) is an alternative fulfillment method where sellers are responsible for storing, packing, and shipping their products directly to customers.

In this model, sellers maintain inventory control and manage order fulfillment processes.

When a customer places an order on Amazon, the seller is notified, and they are then responsible for picking the product from their inventory, packing it, generating a shipping label, and arranging for the delivery.

FBM gives sellers more control over the entire fulfillment process, allowing them to tailor their shipping methods, packaging, and overall customer experience.

It is particularly suitable for sellers with unique or customizable products, as they can implement specialized packaging and branding.

However, FBM does come with specific challenges.

Sellers must have their storage facilities or partner with third-party warehouses, and they need to handle customer inquiries, returns, and refunds independently.

Additionally, FBM sellers may find it challenging to qualify for Amazon Prime, which could impact their products’ visibility and appeal to customers who prioritize fast shipping.

Third-Party Fulfillment Centers

In e-commerce, a third-party fulfillment center is an external service provider that manages the storage, packing, and shipping of products on behalf of online businesses.

Rather than handling these logistics in-house, companies can leverage the expertise and infrastructure of these centers to streamline their operations.

Understanding Third-Party Fulfillment:


Understanding third-party fulfillment is paramount in the dynamic landscape of e-commerce.

Choosing the right fulfillment partner can significantly impact the efficiency and success of your business. Third-party fulfillment centers handle crucial aspects such as inventory management, order processing, and shipping logistics.

This streamlines operations and allows businesses to focus on core activities like marketing and product development. Additionally, by outsourcing fulfillment, you can access expertise and infrastructure that might be challenging to establish in-house.

A deep understanding of third-party fulfillment ensures that businesses make informed decisions, ultimately optimizing their supply chain and providing customers with a seamless and satisfying experience.

Guide on how to navigate the terrain of third-party fulfillment:
  1. Outsourced Logistics:
    • Third-party fulfillment centers act as an extension of your business by storing inventory, packing orders, and managing the shipping process. This outsourcing allows companies to focus on core activities like marketing and product development.
  2. Scalability:
    • One key advantage is scalability. As your business grows, a third-party fulfillment center can seamlessly adapt to increased order volumes, sparing you the challenges of managing a more extensive in-house operation.
  3. Cost Efficiency:
    • Cost efficiency is another benefit. Instead of investing in your storage facilities and hiring additional staff, you pay for the services you use. This can result in significant cost savings, especially for smaller businesses.

Steps to Choosing a Third-Party Fulfillment Center:

  1. Research and Due Diligence:
    • Start by researching different third-party fulfillment providers. Look for reviews, testimonials, and case studies to gauge their reliability and effectiveness.
    • A thorough due diligence process ensures you partner with a center aligned with your business needs.
  2. Service Offerings:
    • Evaluate the range of services offered. Different fulfillment centers may specialize in various aspects, from order picking and packing to shipping and returns processing.
    • Choose a provider that aligns with your specific requirements.
  3. Integration with Sales Channels:
    • Seamless integration with your sales channels is crucial. Ensure the fulfillment center’s technology integrates smoothly with your online platforms and e-commerce systems.
    • This integration enhances order accuracy and expedites the fulfillment process.
  4. Cost Structure:
    • Understand the cost structure. While outsourcing can be cost-effective, it’s essential to understand the fees involved clearly.
    • Assess storage costs, order fulfillment fees, and additional charges to make informed financial decisions.
  5. Communication and Transparency:
    • Effective communication is vital. Choose a fulfillment center that maintains transparent communication regarding inventory levels, order status, and any potential issues.
    • This transparency ensures you stay informed and can address any challenges promptly.

Navigating the realm of third-party fulfillment centers involves strategic decision-making, emphasizing research, and aligning services with your business goals.

By leveraging the expertise of these external partners, businesses can optimize their logistics, enhance efficiency, and focus on what truly matters – delivering exceptional products and experiences to their customers.

Third-Party Fulfillment Center Pros and Cons


Leveraging a third-party shipping center presents advantages and challenges in e-commerce.

On the positive side, such centers provide businesses with scalability, allowing them to handle increasing order volumes efficiently without requiring extensive infrastructure investments.

Cost efficiency is another notable pro, as outsourcing logistics eliminates the financial burden of maintaining storage space, equipment, and additional staff.

Third-party shipping centers’ expertise and specialized infrastructure can streamline the fulfillment process, ensuring orders are handled precisely and quickly.

However, this convenience comes at the cost of some control, as businesses must rely on the practices and timelines of external providers.

Communication challenges and potential dependency on the performance of the third party also pose cons that you should carefully consider.

In my journey as an e-commerce entrepreneur, the decision to partner with a third-party fulfillment center was transformative. The scalability and cost efficiencies allowed my business to grow without the burden of managing complex logistics in-house.

However, maintaining clear communication and regularly assessing the fulfillment center’s performance were critical aspects of a successful partnership.

The increased focus on core competencies elevated the overall efficiency of my business, enabling a more agile response to market demands.

While relinquishing some control was an adjustment, the benefits of expertise, infrastructure, and geographic reach outweighed the cons.

A thoughtful evaluation of these pros and cons is crucial in determining whether a third-party shipping center aligns with the specific needs and goals of a given e-commerce operation.

Pros and Cons


  1. Scalability: One of the primary advantages is scalability. Third-party fulfillment centers can seamlessly accommodate the growth of your business without the need for significant infrastructure investments.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Outsourcing fulfillment services can result in cost savings. Businesses pay for their services, eliminating the need to invest in storage space, equipment, and additional staff.
  3. Expertise and Infrastructure: Fulfillment centers are experts in logistics. Businesses can benefit from efficient and optimized order fulfillment processes by leveraging their specialized knowledge and infrastructure.
  4. Focus on Core Competencies: With the logistics handled externally, businesses can redirect their focus and resources towards core activities like product development, marketing, and customer service.
  5. Geographic Reach: Many fulfillment centers have strategically located facilities, allowing businesses to reach customers more efficiently across a wider geographic area.


  1. Less Control: Outsourcing fulfillment means relinquishing some control over the fulfillment process. Businesses must rely on the practices and timelines of the third-party provider.
  2. Communication Challenges: Depending on the provider, communication challenges can arise. Ensuring clear and effective communication is crucial to prevent misunderstandings and delays.
  3. Dependency on External Factors: External factors, such as the performance of the fulfillment center and potential disruptions in their operations, can impact your business. Businesses must carefully choose a reliable partner.
  4. Cost Structure Complexity: While cost-efficient overall, the pricing structure of third-party fulfillment centers can be complex. Understanding the fees and potential additional costs is essential for accurate financial planning.
  5. Potential for Misalignment: If the chosen fulfillment center doesn’t align with the business’s values, goals, or customer service standards, it can result in a misalignment that affects the overall brand image.

Navigating Amazon Drop Shipping


Dropshipping on Amazon involves a unique e-commerce model where sellers don’t physically handle the products they offer. Instead, when a customer orders, the seller purchases the product from a third-party supplier, who then directly ships it to the customer.

Essentially, the seller acts as an intermediary, facilitating the transaction without having to stock or handle the actual merchandise.

This business model provides several advantages.

Firstly, it eliminates the need for sellers to invest in and manage inventory, reducing upfront costs and operational complexities.

Entrepreneurs can focus on marketing, customer service, and brand growth without the logistical challenges of warehousing and shipping.

Additionally, dropshipping allows for a diverse product range, as sellers can quickly adapt to market trends without the risk of being stuck with unsold inventory.

However, navigating dropshipping on Amazon comes with its set of considerations. Sellers must carefully select reliable suppliers to ensure timely order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.

Understanding and adhering to Amazon’s specific dropshipping policies is crucial. This includes being the seller of record, providing valid tracking information, and meeting customer service expectations.

While dropshipping offers a low-entry barrier into e-commerce, success hinges on strategic product selection, competitive pricing, and a robust understanding of Amazon’s guidelines.

Sellers must carefully manage their supplier relationships, as any shipping delays or product quality issues directly impact customer experience.

In essence, dropshipping on Amazon reshapes traditional retail dynamics, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter the e-commerce landscape with agility and reduced operational complexities.


Pros of Amazon Dropshipping:

  • Low Entry Costs: Minimal upfront inventory, storage, and warehouse space investment.
  • Diverse Product Range: Easily adapt to market trends and offer a wide range of products without the risk of overstocking.
  • Scalability: Effortlessly scale the business without the constraints of managing physical inventory.
  • Focus on Marketing: Allows sellers to concentrate on marketing, customer service, and brand-building.
  • Reduced Financial Risk: Lower financial risk compared to traditional retail models.

Cons of Amazon Dropshipping:

  • Dependence on Suppliers: Relying on third-party suppliers introduces the risk of shipping delays, stockouts, and product quality issues.
  • Limited Control: Sellers have limited control over inventory management, shipping processes, and product quality.
  • Profit Margins: Lower profit margins due to the additional costs associated with dropshipping, such as supplier fees and shipping expenses.
  • Intense Competition: Dropshipping is a popular model, leading to increased competition and potential saturation in specific niches.
  • Amazon Policies: Must adhere to Amazon’s specific dropshipping policies, including being the seller of record and meeting customer service expectations.

What is Amazon FBA?


Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a comprehensive service designed to simplify the e-commerce fulfillment process for sellers.

In this system, sellers send their products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, where they are stored until a customer places an order.

When an order is made on Amazon, the FBA system automatically identifies the nearest fulfillment center with the product in stock.

Amazon then takes charge of picking, packing, and shipping the product directly to the customer. FBA also manages shipping materials, labels, and customer service, handling inquiries, returns, and refunds.

Products fulfilled by Amazon through FBA are often eligible for Amazon Prime, providing customers with expedited shipping options.

FBA extends its reach beyond Amazon’s platform through Multi-Channel Fulfillment, allowing sellers to fulfill orders from other sales channels.

While FBA offers convenience, it involves associated fees covering storage, order fulfillment, and other services.

Despite the costs, many sellers find that the advantages of FBA, including increased visibility and streamlined logistics, outweigh the fees, making it a popular choice for sellers on the Amazon platform.

Importance of Choosing the Right Products Without Inventory


In inventory-free selling models, such as dropshipping or using Amazon FBA, the importance of product selection cannot be overstated. Choosing what to sell becomes crucial, as you don’t physically handle the products.

Customer satisfaction and trust rely heavily on strategically selecting high-quality items from reputable suppliers. This is essential, as customers must receive products that align with their expectations, and your ability to inspect merchandise directly is limited.

Effective product selection is not only about meeting customer expectations but also about navigating the competitive landscape. In the e-commerce market, standing out is essential. Identifying products with high demand, low competition, and favorable profit margins contributes to the success of your inventory-free business.

Additionally, considering shipping times and costs is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and reputation on platforms like Amazon.

Balancing customer satisfaction, market competitiveness, and operational efficiency is at the core of product selection in inventory-free selling.

Optimizing and Managing Your Amazon Sales


Effectively managing and optimizing Amazon sales is a comprehensive process that involves strategic product selection, competitive pricing strategies, and leveraging Amazon’s advertising features to enhance product visibility.

Inventory management is crucial to prevent stockouts while avoiding overstocking. Exceptional customer service, including prompt responses to inquiries and timely order fulfillment, contributes significantly to positive reviews and ongoing sales success.

Utilizing Amazon’s data analytics tools allows sellers to regularly analyze performance metrics, customer behavior, and sales trends. This data-driven approach informs decision-making to optimize sales strategies.

Creating optimized product listings with high-quality images, well-crafted descriptions, and relevant keywords enhances product discoverability and encourages conversion.

Remaining informed about Amazon’s policies and guidelines ensures a positive seller experience and minimizes the risk of account issues that could impact sales.

Actively seeking and responding to customer feedback, both positive and constructive, contributes to building credibility and refining products and services over time.

Methods and Resources to Monitor and Boost Sales on Amazon Without Physical Inventory

Tracking and increasing sales on Amazon without inventory involves using tools and strategic approaches.

By combining these tools and strategies, you can actively track and increase sales on Amazon without physical inventory, creating a dynamic and responsive approach to the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.


Essential tools and strategies:

1. Amazon Sales Analytics Tools:

  • Utilize third-party analytics tools, such as Jungle Scout, Helium 10, or Sellics, to track sales performance, analyze market trends, and gain insights into competitor activity. These tools can provide valuable data to inform your sales strategy.

2. Amazon Advertising:

  • Leverage Amazon’s advertising features, including Sponsored Products and Brands, to increase product visibility. Strategic advertising can drive more traffic to your listings and boost sales. Regularly monitor and adjust your ad campaigns based on performance data.

3. Keyword Research:

  • Conduct thorough keyword research to optimize your product listings. Use tools like MerchantWords or Keyword Tool to identify relevant and high-volume keywords. Incorporate these keywords into your product titles, bullet points, and descriptions to enhance discoverability.

4. Competitor Analysis:

  • Regularly analyze your competitors. Identify successful products, pricing strategies, and customer engagement tactics. This information can guide pricing decisions, product positioning, and overall sales strategy.

5. Social Media Promotion:

  • Promote your Amazon products on social media platforms. Share engaging content, run promotions, and create a social media presence to drive external traffic to your Amazon listings. This can help increase sales and build brand awareness.

6. Email Marketing:

  • Implement email marketing campaigns to engage with past customers and encourage repeat business. Offer promotions, announce new products, and request reviews. Building a loyal customer base can contribute to sustained sales growth.

7. Customer Reviews and Feedback:

  • Encourage positive customer reviews and feedback. A positive reputation is crucial for Amazon. Implement strategies to enhance customer satisfaction, promptly address any issues, and request reviews from satisfied customers.

8. Pricing Optimization:

  • Regularly review and optimize your pricing strategy. Consider dynamic pricing tools that adjust prices based on market trends, competitor pricing, and other variables. This helps ensure your products remain competitive.

9. Amazon Coupons and Deals:

  • Take advantage of Amazon Coupons and Lightning Deals to attract attention to your products. These features can create a sense of urgency and drive more customers to purchase.

10. Stay Informed and Adapt:

  • Keep abreast of changes in Amazon’s algorithms, policies, and market trends. Adapt your strategies accordingly to remain competitive and maximize sales opportunities.

In Conclusion

Navigating e-commerce without physical inventory on Amazon demands a strategic blend of tools and tactics. Our guide to “How to Sell on Amazon Without Inventory” has unveiled a landscape rich with possibilities.

Sellers can actively track and enhance sales performance by leveraging analytics tools, optimizing listings with relevant keywords, and employing advertising features.

Starting to sell on Amazon without the burden of inventory opens avenues for creativity and adaptability.

Crafting a thriving online business involves strategic pricing, promotional tactics, and attention to market trends and customer behavior.

The journey to a successful venture requires a dynamic approach that includes social media promotion, email marketing, and a keen focus on customer reviews and satisfaction.

In the dynamic and competitive Amazon marketplace, our insights into tools and strategies empower sellers to initiate their journey into selling without inventory and establish and grow a flourishing online business.

Remember, success lies in understanding how to sell on Amazon without physical inventory and continuously adapting and optimizing your approach to create a sustainable and thriving presence in e-commerce.

Questions? We have the answers!

Can I sell on Amazon without having products?

Operating an Amazon business without maintaining inventory is commonly referred to as drop shipping. In straightforward terms, the process involves a seller receiving orders on Amazon and subsequently forwarding them to a supplier. The supplier then directly ships the products to the seller’s customers.

How can I sell something online without inventory?

Dropshipping: This is where the manufacturer produces and ships products directly to the customer on your behalf. You can also operate an affiliate store or offer print-on-demand digital products and services.

How do I find products to sell on dropshipping?

Utilize tools like Google Trends, Amazon Best Sellers, or eBay to identify trending and popular products. Analyze your competitors by exploring other dropshipping websites in your niche to understand the products they are offering. This will provide insights into popular items within your industry.

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