One of the biggest challenges people face when they want to start a business is the issue of having to deal inventory. But did you know you can sell products online WITHOUT inventory?
Having a business with inventory can be a problem! Imagine inventing some sort of gadget that you’re certain people will want to buy from your website. But then you have to pay money to have it manufactured, pay to have it stored somewhere, and pay to have it shipped.
If you don’t start selling a whole lot of those gadgets real soon, you could wind up with a big loss and a whole lot of products that you’d rather not have!
So why deal with it all? Why not sell products online without inventory? Go digital instead!
Ideas to Sell Products Online Without Inventory
Developing your own eProducts can put you at a unique advantage over traditional brick and mortar-style businesses that still rely on physical products.
One example we can all relate to is the music industry. In the past decade, online retailers that sell music online have greatly surpassed those that still insist on selling physical CD’s.
The same is true for computer software; almost no one gives you a physical disc anymore. It’s just the way this media works now, and it’s much easier on the sellers!
We’ll show you how to create your own e-inventory business. Then we’ll follow up by sharing some true-life success stories of people who have done so.
Throughout my blogging career I have witnessed several marketers who developed and sold their own products online without having to worry about any inventory.
And they’ve got the income reports to brag about it. The following are a few incredible examples of success stories where digital products have proven to be a great passive income idea.
So, how can you skip the inventory and build your own e-commerce business?
1. Create an eCourse
Do you have knowledge about a subject that will provide value to others? For instance, have you paid off thousands in consumer debt?
Or, have you had success with designing and selling t-shirts? Maybe you’ve learned some great parenting skills. Or learned how to slash expenses and save a large percent of your income. Make a list of the skills you have that can help others.
Then use a site like Teachable to help you easily create your online eCourse.
2. Create Designs for T-Shirts and Other Items
Back in 2016, my oldest daughter created some fun designs for t-shirts. She opened a free Redbubble account and uploaded her designs.
She was 16 at the time, and just wanted to have some fun with the minimal graphic design skills she had learned. So she uploaded this design and a few others, and let e-commerce do its work.
Redbubble sells her designs on t-shirts (her best selling item), mugs, pillows, tote bags and more. All she does is do a bit of promotion and sit back and collect regular checks.
And she has a blast getting checks every month from Redbubble. The money goes right to her PayPal account and she saves it for “fun money”.
The great thing about sites like Redbubble and CafePress is that all you do is upload your design. They take care of inventory, printing, shipping and customer service.
You don’t have to pay anything to upload your designs to these sites, either. Both companies just take a portion of the sales and give you the rest.
Your job is to create great designs and to market those designs so people can find them. Share them on social media sites like Pinterest or Instagram, or on your personal Facebook page.
The more people that know about your great designs, the more people that have a chance to buy them.
3. Write an eBook
Another way you could share knowledge you have is by writing an eBook. You could write a non-fiction eBook and share historical events or how-to information.
Or, you could write a fiction eBook and use your imagination to share entertainment with the masses.
In order to start, you’ve got to write a GREAT book. Truth: if your book doesn’t have valuable or engaging content, it won’t sell.
Once you’ve written your book, it’s easy to publish it online. You can publish with Amazon via their Kindle Direct Publishing program, or use the dozens of other eBook publishing companies.
You’ll want to be sure your eBook is formatted correctly too. Amazon KDP can help you with that, or you can pay an outside party to format it for eBook publication.
Better yet, save some cash and learn how to format your book for eBook publishing on your own.
Once your book is published, be sure to promote it on social media and via other venues. Amazon KDP has a great book they offer to members that helps them learn how to promote their book.
Follow the suggestions in that marketing book if you want to maximize sales. Great content plus great marketing equals lots of sales.
*Hint: Successful e-book authors will tell you that in order to write a successful book, you’ve got to start with a successful blog.
Your blog will be a foundation, a springboard of sorts, for your book. If you’re sharing your blog content and finding that you’ve got lots of people reading your information, you’ve already created a marketing group for your book.
4. Create an eProduct
eProducts are another option for selling without inventory. You can sell eProducts in a variety of ways such as:
- Downloadable computer software
- Creating an app
- creating a system or website theme
- sell downloadable, printable art
For instance, this Etsy store, Faith and Farm Life, sells downloadable, digital prints for home and office for just $5. Buyers get digital prints in five different sizes that they can buy frames for that will fit their home or office style.
And the seller doesn’t have to deal with shipping or inventory.
There are other ideas as well. The goal is to create an item that would help other people have an easier time working on the internet or in real life. Think apps that help people achieve goals or make life easier.
Or software programs that do the same.
Now, here are three real-life success stories of people who are getting rich by selling products online without inventory.
Digital Inventory Success Stories
1. Selling eBooks with Steve Scott
It’s pretty difficult not to know the name Steve Scott when it comes to talking about eBooks. Steve’s line of ebooks are widely regarded as some of the most helpful titles around for subjects like blogging tips, marketing strategies, self-help, time optimization, and more.
Even more impressive than his ebook portfolio are his monthly income reports. Just check it out! Within a few short years, Steve went from making a few bucks per month to making over five digits of income per month! In May 2014 alone, he made $65,643.53! That’s more than some people make in a whole year!
The beautiful part – his entire book business is sold electronically on Amazon. No stacks of hardcover books in his garage waiting to be sold. Every time someone buys one of his ebooks, the file just digitally transfers automatically!
One thing you can learn from Steve Scott’s ebook business: The more books he produced, the more successful he seemed to become – both financially and within his own writing niche.
To paraphrase from one of Steve’s books: You’re not going to get rich by selling just one ebook. You’ve got to create several awesome pieces of content.
That way if someone reads just one of your works and loves it, they’ll be hungry for more great advice – and that’s when you’ve got an opportunity to make multiple sales.
Steve also emphasizes repeatedly the importance of building an email list; even if it means sometimes giving away his next book for free or next to free.
With an email list you’re sure to get a captive audience that already knows and trusts you. That only makes selling your next digital product that much easier.
Here’s another example of someone who knows how to sell products online without inventory.
2 .Launching an eCourse with Brian Dean
Backlinko was a blog that pretty much came out of nowhere, and yet has become one of the most creditable sources of advice when it comes to blogging.
Even though the author, Brian Dean, publishes on the site about once a month, his articles quickly become the topic of lots of discussion and gets shared all across the blogosphere.
His secret: Epic posts. Most of his posts are about as long and actionable as a well written ebook. And yet he gives the advice away for free.
So what’s the motivation behind all of it?
In 2014, Brian started offering exclusive eCourses on backlinking and marketing strategies for bloggers. The results? In a podcast with Niche Pursuits, he reported that “each launch has brought in over six figures; and I’ve had a few launches this year.”
That’s not bad for not actually selling a physical product! All he’s selling is what he knows about blogging, and people are getting in line to buy!
Why are people willing to pay out a few hundred dollars for advice on blogging? Because they know that if Brian gives away such great stuff on his blog for free, then surely he’ll have amazing stuff in his paid courses.
By putting his best work out there and establishing himself as an authority figure, people will pay to have you teach them what you know. Although it takes a little time to prove your value and build up trust, the end result can be well worth the investment.
3. Creating an eProduct with Spencer Haws
Are you a great computer programmer or coder?
No? Then don’t worry!
Neither is Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits. But that didn’t stop him from creating one of the best and widely used keyword research tools on the market, Long Tail Pro.
Long Tail Pro lets users research which keywords get searched the most on the web, and then it further quantifies the competitiveness of those keywords so that you know which ones will be the easier ones to go after.
After blogging for a number of years, Spencer began to recognize certain patterns and attributes that seemed to make one page rank higher on Google over another.
Although no one really knows the secret behind Google’s ranking algorithm, he felt so confident in his page ranking evaluation skills that he paid to have a software program developed that would help others overcome the same challenges.
Although Spencer has never really revealed exactly how much he makes from his sales of Long Tail Pro, he has made general statements about his online income being “more than he was making at his old job” and into the five-figure per month range.
The lesson: You don’t have to know everything yourself to develop a good eproduct that other people will want to buy and use. You just have to know there’s an opportunity and be the one to champion its creation.
Skip the Inventory and Go Digital!
A solid business doesn’t always have to revolve around selling physical products. You can definitely sell products online without inventory if you’ve got something that people want.
Just like with real products, it just has to be something of quality that people would be willing to trade their hard-earned money for. If you really want to achieve great sales numbers, filling a demand with your supply is vitally important.
This is especially true if you want your business to last through the long haul, recessions and all. Having products that people need or want in good times and in bad is crucial to steady sales.
And by having no inventory, you can keep your overhead and operational costs to an absolute minimum, and that just means earning more money for you!
If you’d like to learn how you can get started creating your own website, then you should check out our free guide on how to start a blog here. That link will show you how to start a blog in 15 minutes or less–and make money from it.