Building an e-commerce website has become an imperative for modern businesses. Whether you sell high-end jewelry or handmade decorative items, you need an online store to grow your brand.
As blogger Leigh-Anne Truitt pointed out, an e-commerce website plays a key role in expanding your reach into new markets. Also, it helps you showcase and sell your products to customers around the world, as it gives you a solid insight into your target market and customers.
If you want to take your business to greater heights, there is no alternative to building an e-commerce website.
The challenges of e-commerce
Modern e-commerce website builders have made it easier than ever to launch an online store. You Not needed anymore to hire a professional designer to create your e-commerce website. Instead, you just need to find an easy-to-use online store builder that supports integration with third-party apps and payment gateways.
But it’s worth remembering that running an online store isn’t just about creating an attractive website, which is why so many fail within two months launch. Once you have created an e-commerce website, you need to attract traffic through various digital marketing campaigns. Plus, you need to constantly improve your website to increase conversions.
Then there are the hassles of product development, sourcing, and storage. You also need to take care of order fulfillment, product returns, and customer support.
While most entrepreneurs manage to build an e-commerce website, they often struggle with managing inventory and fulfilling orders. Things get even harder when you’re operating a new business with a “cold start”.
But that shouldn’t deter you from venturing into the world of eCommerce.
The good news is that there are different ways to create a successful e-commerce website without any inventory. This will go a long way in helping you minimize the costs and risks of starting an online store.
Let’s dive deeper into a few of these techniques to understand what works best for your business.
1. Create a print-on-demand store
With a print-on-demand store, you don’t have to worry about making or stocking products ahead of time. Instead, you wait for a customer to place an order before sourcing inventory.
From custom t-shirts and wall art to corporate gifts, you can sell a wide range of products on your print-on-demand store.
You can hire a specialist printer to manufacture your products in-house. However, this will require you to buy and store raw materials. Additionally, you will need adequate workspace to store and operate the printer.
Alternatively, you can outsource the manufacturing of the product to a third-party printing service. Or you can partner with established brands that allow you to create your own online store and drive customers to their websites. Popular examples include Teespring, Teemill and CafePress.
However, you will have to pay a fee to these companies to use their services. This, in turn, could significantly reduce your income. Additionally, you will have less flexibility in terms of the products you can add to your online store.
2. Sell digital products
Developing and selling digital products is one of the most efficient ways to run an online store without inventory. The biggest advantage is that you don’t have to worry about sharing your revenue with third-party manufacturers or logistics partners.
Also, you can create a wide range of products that will appeal to your target customers. The most common types of digital products you can sell on your online store include:
- electronic books
However, you need to make sure that your product is top quality. In addition, you must take appropriate measures to protect your product against piracy.
3. Start a dropshipping business
Dropshipping involves a partnership with a product manufacturer or distributor who takes care of fulfilling customer orders. All you need to do is create an e-commerce website and redirect orders to the manufacturer/distributor.
Dropshipping eliminates all the challenges associated with inventory management, such as sourcing, storing, and delivering products. However, your activity will be limited to the products offered by your partners.
You can circumvent this challenge by partnering with multiple manufacturers. But it will complicate the process of tracking and managing multiple orders.
The final verdict
It is possible to run a thriving e-commerce business without inventory. From building a print-on-demand store to take advantage of dropshipping – there are several ways to venture into e-commerce with minimal investment.
Similarly, you can also sell digital products, such as e-books, industry reports, and templates, on your online store. The important thing is to understand your niche and your target audience and choose the most appropriate technique.