Are You Struggling with Inventory? Learn How to Sell on Amazon Without It

Posted by Jimi Patel | April 9, 2024

Navigating the intricacies of inventory management can often pose significant challenges, especially for Amazon sellers starting or scaling their businesses. Luckily, there’s a smart way to sell on Amazon without having to keep piles of stuff in your garage: it’s called “selling without inventory.” This guide will show you how it works and give you tips on how to do it well. Whether you’re new to selling online or you’ve been doing it for a while, selling without inventory can help you make the most of what Amazon has to offer.

Various Methods of Zero Inventory Selling

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1) Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

For sellers who want to avoid hassles regarding inventory issues, Amazon FBA remains the preferred mode of business operation. Once FBA is used, the sellers store their inventory at the warehouses of Amazon. Once an order is placed, Amazon takes care of the process – from storage and packing to shipping and customer service. That way, there is no physical storage on the part of the seller, thus ensuring all delivery times are fast, so customers are satisfied and maybe more sales are made.

2) Dropshipping

Dropshipping offers an easy way of selling without inventory. A business model in which the seller lists products on Amazon but doesn’t stock them. The seller, therefore, does not invest in the product being sold, as the case is in buying from a third party such as a wholesaler or a manufacturer, who then ships the product directly to the customer whenever the seller receives an order. This model mitigates the investment and risk front-loaded to the seller, but at the same time, it requires very careful management of supplier relationships and ensuring the quality of the product at par.

3) Merch by Amazon or Print on Demand

Merch by Amazon is the perfect blend of print-on-demand for creatives and designers. To put it simply, this is a kind of print-on-demand service that allows sellers to design merchandise, such as T-shirts, hoodies, and everything that can come to mind, and sell these designs without dealing with any merchandise physically. Amazon takes care of the printing and shipping of your products for every sale, and it charges no upfront inventory expenses. It’s a very good model for anybody looking to monetize designs without many of the logistical headaches related to manufacturing and fulfillment.

4) Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP)

KDP helps authors and content creators easily and quickly publish and sell their digital books on Amazon, allowing the author or publisher to make their books available for purchase around the world without needing to hold physical inventory. This makes it not only very easy for writers to publish but also opens a whole international market for them. KDP takes authors and independent publishers from all over the world and makes their books available to millions of readers on the Kindle store worldwide. This means authors keep all rights to their work, take home up to 70% of the sales, and set their prices.

5) Digital Products

On the other hand, selling digital products such as software, courses, or music on Amazon is a good way to avoid inventory costs. Digital products have the uniqueness that they are made only once and can thus be sold without limits to restocking forever. This model allows high margins of profit and the possibility of passive income; however, marketing efforts have to be very tough since competition is huge.

What’s Better: Selling with or without Inventory

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Whether to sell with or without inventory is determined based on the objective of the business, capital considerations, and the amount of risk the business might want to be exposed to. Without inventory, it means selling without any form of restriction. The term “selling without inventory,” therefore, may be synonymous with flexibility, easing the startup costs, and above all, ease of scaling—all factors that provide a competitive advantage to new sellers testing the waters. On the flip side of that, though, selling with inventory can afford a lot more control of the product experience and potentially drive higher profit margins, which would drive brand loyalty in turn.

Things to Keep in Mind When Selling Without Inventory

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Selling on Amazon without any inventory to hold might look freeing and, at the same time, financially beneficial; still, it has to be managed and strategically planned. And to do this, a few of the key considerations shall be:

#1 Quality Control

This will make consistency in quality very difficult to ensure without direct control over the inventory. The best bet to ensure that the product quality meets the standards and expectations of the customer is to either develop a very good relationship with a supplier or use reputable print-on-demand platforms.

#2 Customer Service

Make sure that your customer service is top-notch, considering one to be at the behest of third-party vendors when it comes to fulfillment. Always be very fast in customer questions and solving problems. A reputation can easily turn into positive repeat business and high ratings.

#3 Compliance with Amazon Policies

It is also worth noting that the company has strict policies in place for its sellers, even those who deal without inventory. All such rules—those concerning dropshipping and the sale of digital products—need to be availed to yourself, so to speak, lest you fall into penalties that include possible suspension.

#4 Market Research

With Amazon keyword research tools and other resources, research some profitable niches in addition to identifying the trends, competition, and opportunities needed that exist with new products. This will help keep you on the cutting edge to keep you in that one market you are in.

#5 Promotion and Marketing

Your brand might as well not exist if it were not for the physical inventory, considering that without it, your brand could simply not be at par with other brands. Invest in marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and social media marketing to increase visibility for customers to see your listings.


For many, selling on Amazon with meets standards inventory will unlock the opportunity for a brand new kind of entrepreneur who would like to explore the space of e-commerce but is chained down by traditional barriers. Ranging from Amazon FBA and dropshipping models to Merch by Amazon, KDP, and selling digital products—sellers reduce the upfront cost significantly and the risk involved is very little, while they get to leverage the broad customer base that Amazon has to offer. One may take the help of Amazon seller experts in this regard. While this approach does offer a level of flexibility and scalability, it does so at the cost of requiring unmitigated success in quality, customer service, compliance, and marketing. As the eCommerce landscape continues to change, zero-inventory methods represent the future frontiers of forward-thinking business positioning.

Published by Jimi Patel

Jimi Patel, is a Co-founder and CEO at eStore Factory, an Amazon SPN certified agency that serves as a one-stop solution for all your Amazon business needs. Having helped countless brands increase sales and grow their footprint on Amazon, Jimi provides the most practical and effective solutions for your business. He is highly skilled in developing and executing plans that align with your specific business goals and objectives. When not working, Jimi enjoys practicing yoga and traveling to new places. He is an avid reader and enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the e-commerce industry.

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