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Print-on-Demand Explained How to Sell Custom T-shirts, Accessories, or Merch

How to Start Selling Merchandise Online From Home Without Inventory

10 min read

If you’re ready to start making from home, selling merchandise online is a great solution. What if we told you you can start making money selling products online without storing any inventory on your home?

We know how intimidating it can be to break into the ecommerce world. However, selling merchandise from home without inventory is easier than you think. Keep reading to find out our simple four-step process to selling online without inventory.

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Step One: Connect with Your Audience

Before you can break into the virtual marketplace, you should decide who you want to market your merchandise to. The first step to deciding who you want to sell to is deciding what it is you want to sell.

When you choose the product mix you want to sell, you must keep your customer base in mind. Think about things like your ideal client’s age range, what they’re interested in and where they hang out. Keeping these things in mind makes it easier to find your niche so that you can focus on being the best candidate within that niche.

Lastly, branding is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to connecting with your audience. Your personal branding is part of what sets your business apart from the crowd. It is also what your customer base will come to recognize you as so nailing your branding is absolutely essential to your success when it comes to selling merchandise at home without inventory.

Step Two: Choose Your Business Model

What if we told you there’s more than one way to get started selling merchandise at home without inventory? There are so many different ways that you can make money from literally anywhere in the world. Here are our top five favorite business models:


Dropshipping is simple: you take the orders, collect the payment, and charge a premium for a product that is stocked in someone else’s warehouse. Then, you pay them the cost of the item and their workforce fulfills your order for a fee. This business model is popular because the startup costs are low and a third party handles all the logistics after payment is collected.

The key to running a successful dropshipping business is to get your pricing margins right. You must make sure the price you sell the merchandise for is enough to cover the amount your suppliers charge for the item plus your costs of running the business. You also need to turn a profit to make dropshipping equitable, so adding a little more on top of these costs is the best course of action.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment by Amazon  (FBA) is one of the most popular ways many business owners choose to start selling merchandise from home without inventory. If you’re looking to partner with a reputable source that you can rely on, this might be the perfect option for you.

But how does it work? The process is easier than you might expect.

Amazon FBA options do require you to stock merchandise, but not in your home. Instead, when you purchase units you want to sell, you forward the items to an Amazon warehouse. Then, Amazon stocks your products on their shelves and handles the picking, packing, and shipping each time an order is placed.

One amazing benefit that you get from Amazon FBA is that you get to use their platform to sell. Since Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, you have the opportunity to get your merchandise in front of the largest online crowd out there.

However, with a larger audience comes more competition, so it’s essential that your advertising and branding are on point if you hope to be successful.

How to Sell Merchandise via Print-on-Demand

Print on demand is similar to dropshipping with a twist. Like dropshipping, there is no need to invest in inventory or handle the shipment of products yourself. Products aren’t even printed until an order is placed and ready to be fulfilled, which eliminates the possibility of you getting stuck with inventory that you can’t sell. Instead, orders are placed as a preorder and shipped later.

With print-on-demand services, you can make merch that can have a design printed on it  you can even make your own design. Here are a few examples of the most common items print on demand retailers sell:

  • T-shirts
  • Posters
  • Wall decor
  • Phone/tablet cases

Print-on-demand providers also offer special white labeling services that allow you to sell their product with your name on it. In exchange for this service, you pay an administrative fee.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a different approach than the previous business model options we’ve discussed here, but it’s still a wonderful example of ways to make money selling merchandise without stocking inventory in your home.

Affiliate marketing doesn’t directly make you money from selling products on an online store. Instead, you market products for other companies and receive a commission for each unit sold. Typically, companies track these sales by providing you with a special link or offer code that customers must use for you to get credit for the sale.

Affiliate marketing is ideal for hopeful entrepreneurs who have a large following or are prepared to do what it takes to amass one. Since commission rates determine how much money you can make, making as many sales as possible is essential to being a successful affiliate marketer.e

Step Three: Curate Your Product Offerings

Once you’ve chosen a business model for your virtual store, it’s time to curate your product offerings. This is one of the most thrilling parts of becoming an entrepreneur, so get excited. It’s your job to choose products that reflect your brand’s style, niche, and target audience

When you’re choosing which products to sell, it’s helpful to have guidelines in place to make the process easier. If you want to focus on offering affordable fashion, for example, you’ll need to pick products that have a low enough cost for you to keep the items affordable without damaging your profits.

You’ll also need to keep in mind who your target audience is. You’ll need to choose merchandise that fits your niche. In other words, what is your target audience interested in? How do they like to spend their money and what do they spend it on? These are all crucial questions you should ask during this phase in your process.

It can be tempting to spend exorbitant amounts of time on curating product offerings, but this actually isn’t the best practice. Remember, you can always adjust your inventory offerings later, but you can’t get this time back!

Make sound decisions, but don’t spend too much time second-guessing yourself. Trial and error come with the territory of starting a new business, so trust the process!

Step Four: Start an Online Store

Now that you’ve targeted your audience, chosen your business model, and curated your product offering, you need a space where you’ll list the products you have for sale. Utilizing others’ platforms such as Amazon or eBay is a good option for some, but you’ll pay fees and the customization options available are slim to none when it comes to design on these platforms.

If you want to create a one-of-a-kind online shopping experience for your customers, creating your own store is the way to go. With so many site-building options out there, you don’t even need to have any coding experience to get started.

Ecwid is an ecommerce platform that makes selling online easier than you can imagine. Create your online store in just a few clicks and seamlessly share your store across all your social media platforms.

It doesn’t cost anything to get started and our Free plan makes sure that no hopeful business owner is ever held back from their dreams because of a lack of money in their pocket.

Create an account with us today to get started selling merchandise online without inventory today!

Do you want to learn more about selling merchandise online?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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