A lot of people frown at the idea of selling products online because they think that it involves storage and shipment. The truth, however, is that you can actually start and run your online store without dealing, firsthand, with physical products. This article wraps up 3 main ways to sell and market products online without the trouble of storing or shipping any product:

1. Dropshipping is one of the main ways of selling products online without inventory

Dropshipping is a kind of business that involves selling products online without physically dealing with inventory. Ideally, you can create your own website, take orders through it, but someone else (your distributor or vendor) takes care of the distribution. In essence, you’re just a conduit between the distributor/vendor and the customer.

You can also skip the building of your website part and dropship on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. Dropshipping is the best way to begin selling products online with zero investment.

How does dropshipping work?

Case in point: In the course of scouring the internet to find products, a customer stumbles across your website and orders some products. The customer pays for the products, and then you instantly place an order with your vendor or distributor at wholesale price. The vendor or distributor will then deliver the products to the customer with your brand or logo on them. So the customer will know that the product has come from you and not the distributor. However, dropshipping is not for the fainthearted, as it takes years to start realizing decent profitability.

2. Amazon FBA is another way to sell products online without inventory

FBA is an acronym for Fulfillment With Amazon. FBA is a relatively new program, but it’s already causing ripples in the e-commerce world. It’s a smart way of selling your products fast without managing your inventory.

Here’s how FBA works. You ship your inventory to one of Amazon’s Fulfillment Centers situated near your clients across the world. Amazon will store your products securely. You’re at liberty to send as much inventory as you want. You then have to create an Amazon account and list your products. When a customer notices and likes your product, they will place an order. Amazon takes care of everything from customer support, selling the product, shipping, receiving payment to returns. This program is advantageous because you get access to a ton of customers available on Amazon. The downside to FBA, however, is that you have to abide by Amazon’s terms and conditions, not to mention they take 15% percent of your sales as commission, including 10% to 15% fulfillment. On top of all that, it’s much harder to build your brand on Amazon because customers assume that the products come from Amazon.

3. Utilize A 3PL to sell products online

3PL stands for third-party logistics. It’s, essentially, a layer in your supply chain that aids you with your logistics.  To understand how 3PL works, take a look at this scenario. You make a product and deliver it directly to the customer. That, ideally, is a 1PL. If you decide to start utilizing shippers (middlemen), that’s essentially a 2PL. If you decide to deliver your products to a warehouse, which then ships to the customer on your behalf, then that’s a 3PL. A 3PL is, essentially, a warehouse that helps you with distribution. A 3PL company will charge you for the storage, picking, packaging, and shipping of your products. The upside to 3PL is that you have the opportunity to bring your brand to the next level because you have total control over your customer flow. Your margins are normally more than 50% which gives you a lot of flexibility on advertising. The downside to 3PL is that you have to purchase the goods beforehand and you have to market the products yourself.

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