How to Sell on Amazon Without Inventory: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Sell on Amazon Without Inventory: Step-by-Step Guide

Amazon offers a wealth of options for selling online without hefty upfront investment costs and the stress of managing inventory. Explore dropshipping and Print on Demand, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Merchant (FBM), and how to offer digital products.

In this article, we’ll cover each option to help you to start a successful online business. Discover how to sell on Amazon without inventory and the pros and cons of each fulfillment method.

Key Takeaways

  • Dropshipping and Print on Demand are external Amazon selling models where fulfillment is outsourced to third-party suppliers. In contrast, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) use Amazon’s logistics or merchant interface.
  • Dropshipping offers the simplest way to outsource a diverse range of wholesale products, while Print on Demand allows for higher levels of product customization.
  • FBA offers the ease of handling storage, shipping, and customer service, while FBM requires more involvement from the seller, but greater control over inventory logistics.
  • Offering digital products like eBooks or music downloads through platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing and TuneCore is a completely inventory-free option.
  • Dropshipping and Print on Demand offer easy market entry with low upfront costs, suitable for new entrepreneurs. FBA, although potentially more costly upfront due to high fees, provides scalability and access to Amazon’s robust merchant interface.

Your Guide on How to Sell on Amazon Without Inventory

So, how do you start your Amazon selling journey as a new business? Let’s go through the most popular and effective models to sell products without inventory to decide what best suits your goals and budget.


Dropshipping on Amazon is one of the most popular choices for sellers looking to establish a store without holding physical inventory or managing order fulfillment.

The process is fairly straightforward. It involves selecting wholesale products from reliable suppliers found through partnered dropshipping networks or third-party fulfillment centers.

Once connected, set up an Amazon storefront and list the wholesale products as your own. After someone purchases from your store, the order is sent to the suppliers, who will pack and ship the product to your final customer. 

A dropshipping solution lets you sell through many sales channels, from a standalone site to marketplaces. However, you’ll need to put in additional effort for marketing. The competition is also stiff, so choose your products carefully.

How it works:

  1. Conduct product research and look for dropshipping suppliers that provide the merchandise you want to sell.
  2. Next, define your brand and target audience to develop a niche and marketing strategy that gets the products in front of potential customers.
  3. After the planning phase, prepare quality product listings for your selected goods in a marketplace, online store, or Amazon storefront.
  4. Once you’ve listed these products, customers will start purchasing. Note that you are responsible for setting prices, promoting the products, and the customer service process.
  5. The dropshipping supplier fulfills and sends the products to your final customer, and you’ll receive a profit based on the retail markup.

Dropshipping pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Small startup costs.
  • No need to manage inventory.
  • Automated order fulfillment.
  • Etsy Community.
  • Vast variety of products.
  • Global fulfillment centers.
  • Little to no customization.
  • Dependency on third parties.
  • Lack of quality control.
  • Shipping and delivery times can be long.
  • High competition.

Print on Demand

Screenshot of the Printify platform homepage listing the unique advantages of selling with print on demand.

Print on Demand (POD) is an evolution of dropshipping, which includes product customization and solves other shortcomings of the dropshipping model. 

Similarly to dropshipping, POD sellers act as intermediaries between customers and manufacturers. However, unlike dropshipping, sellers create their own product designs on white-label items.

POD provides the freedom to customize and sell products with your own artwork and branding. Once listed on a marketplace or storefront, the product is produced upon purchase, limiting the need for inventory and reducing product waste.

Do this by partnering with an independent print company or connecting with an all-in-one POD service like Printify. We offer centralized solutions, including product design tools, eCommerce integrations, and automated fulfillment with vetted Print Partners worldwide.

Selling products with POD is the best way to sell customized merchandise without worrying about inventory management. However, POD products have slightly higher retail prices than wholesalers’, so sellers must often increase their product offerings or lower prices to be competitive on Amazon.

How it works:

  1. Partner with an independent print company or sign up for a POD service like Printify or Merch by Amazon. 
  2. Define your niche, develop a brand identity, research your target audience, and set up a marketing strategy to promote your merchandise. 
  3. Choose your products and design them with your branding or artistic ideas. Then, publish your items in an online store using a POD integration.
  4. When customers purchase your products, a fulfillment center prints the customized designs, packs the new merchandise, and handles shipping.
  5. Track the logistics, communicate with customers if needed, and you’ll receive a profit from the retail markup.

POD pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Products are printed on demand, so nothing is left unsold.
  • No need to manage inventory.
  • Zero upfront costs.
  • Branding opportunities provide a competitive edge.
  • Global fulfillment centers.
  • Higher retail costs mean lower profit margins.
  • Smaller selection of products than from dropshipping wholesalers.
  • Designing requires a longer product development process.
  • Dependency on third-party Print Providers.

Make It Happen Today!

Boost your eCommerce sales with print-on-demand products. Partner with Printify today.

Selling Digital Products

Photo of a woman selling digital products on Amazon through her laptop at home.

You can sell on Amazon even if your items aren’t tangible.

The most popular way to sell digital products is by offering eBooks via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), but this category also includes audiobook downloads, printables, art prints, and music.


Familiarize yourself with Amazon’s strict eBook guidelines.

To sell music on Amazon, you can choose the Amazon service TuneCore or DistroKid. Tunecore is proprietary but doesn’t offer direct digital rights management (DRM), while DistroKid is a third-party service and acts as a flexible alternative.

  • Amazon TuneCore charges $9.99 for a single and $34.99 for an album.
  • DistroKid plans start from $22.99 per year for unlimited songs and albums.

How it works:

  1. As an Amazon seller, you can offer digital products, such as eBooks via KDP or music with TuneCore or DistroKid. 
  2. Prepare your work, select a niche, and define your brand and marketing strategy.
  3. Sign up for the appropriate subscription or membership and upload your digital content or product following the chosen platform’s guidelines.
  4. Your customer purchases and downloads the items immediately, and you’ll receive funds via the platform’s payment gateways.

Selling digital products pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Complete inventory-free selling.
  • Small startup costs, depending on the digital product.
  • Full control over price and profit margins.
  • Higher chances of creating your own private-label business.
  • Selling digital products can require specific skills and talent.
  • Requires extra marketing efforts to get visibility and traffic.
  • High competition, depending on the niche.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment by Amazon is a service where you send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers to handle logistics, like packaging and shipping. 

The FBA platform is popular for sellers dealing with retail. This process involves purchasing items at discount prices, sending them to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and then profiting by reselling the merchandise at higher prices.

FBA is the optimal method for selling products to Amazon Prime customers, who represent a customer base characterized by high market demand. However, we recommend that you identify profitable products of top quality to ensure higher customer satisfaction.

How it works:

  1. Subscribe to an Amazon seller account with an individual ($0.99 per sale) or professional ($39.99 per month) plan.
  2. Create listings following Amazon’s requirements and specifying your choice to sell using FBA inventory.
  3. Using the FBA seller platform, register to send your inventory to a fulfillment center according to Amazon’s guidelines for packing and shipping.
  4. Once connected, Amazon takes care of the fulfillment process, including shipping and customer service for products sold.

Fulfillment by Amazon pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Inventory-free business model, since storage is handled elsewhere.
  • Does not involve an external network or third-party supplier.
  • Amazon FBA comes with strong prestige and customer loyalty.
  • Excellent 24/7 customer service.
  • Amazon sellers are subject to referral, commission, and storage costs.
  • No low-stock notifications – FBA inventory is tracked manually.
  • You’ll need to hold or purchase upfront inventory before connecting to FBA.
  • Strict shipping guidelines and little control over pricing and fees.

Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) or Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Instead of using Amazon fulfillment centers, Amazon sellers can opt for Amazon FBM to handle their own inventory, packaging, shipping, and customer service. This is done by dropshipping custom merchandise or using third-party inventory solutions (3PL).

3PLs are different from dropshipping suppliers or Print Providers. They collect, inspect, pack products, and provide warehouse storage space and shipping services. Most 3PLs also deal with customer returns when necessary.

This puts you in charge of the fulfillment process, having full control over the product quality standards while keeping the logistics process separate. 


Always thoroughly research and find reputable third-party solutions, especially considering the shipping availability to desired locations.

How it works:

  • Sell products as an Amazon dropshipping store from reliable suppliers or 3PLs that manage inventory and deliver customer orders.
  • Prepare the products, conduct market research, and set up a business plan, brand identity, and marketing initiatives. 
  • Create a storefront, choose the FBM method, prepare product listings, and receive delivery information upon selling products. 
  • The information is given to the dropshipping supplier, Print Provider, or 3PL, which will take the product out of storage and provide shipping fulfillment.

FBM and 3PL pros and cons:

Pros Cons
  • Freedom to create and design your own products.
  • 3PLs allow for adaptability and scalability during product trends.
  • Third-party solutions can provide more personalized logistics.
  • Moderate to high startup costs as it requires purchasing inventory.
  • It is harder to ensure product quality from external services.
  • Little control over stock and product distribution.

Make It Happen Today!

Pros of Selling on Amazon Without Inventory

Photo of the Amazon marketplace homepage displayed on a tilted monitor.

Each selling strategy caters to different needs and business goals, from reducing initial investment for inventory costs and storage space to streamlining logistics with integrations.

These various selling methods on Amazon that do not maintain physical inventory share several key benefits.

Cost-Effective Warehousing

Operate without large inventory investments since these methods significantly reduce or eliminate the need for physical warehousing and logistics. Reduced initial costs and overheads also make it easier to scale a business long-term with limited resources.

Lower Financial Risk

Without the need to purchase inventory up-front, you aren’t faced with operational risks like overstocking and unsold stock. This allows you to be more flexible with product testing and more adaptable to seasonal peaks and other market trends.

Global Reach

Reach international audiences without the challenges of international shipping and customs for physical products. Whether through direct fulfillment services or digital sales, your business can expand to a global customer base.

Adaptability and Scalability

By leveraging existing infrastructure – whether it’s Amazon fulfillment centers, external providers, or digital distribution channels – you can scale operations by utilizing ready order management tools. Simply create and edit product offerings and adjust to fluctuations in demand.

Product Offers and Customization

Particularly with POD, you can offer a wide range of customized products without committing to a large initial purchase. You also have the freedom to specialize in smaller niche product batches with zero inventory requirements. These are great options when starting from scratch and looking for a niche.

Focus on Core Competencies

With logistics and fulfillment handled by Amazon or third-party options, you’ll have time to focus on product development, marketing, and providing excellent customer service. You can also refine your brand and encourage customer reviews without operational complexities.

How to Sell on Amazon Without Inventory Using Printify

Why sell on Amazon with Printify? Because we’re partnered with them to make selling without holding inventory a breeze. 

Follow our steps to create and sell a diverse range of products, each made-to-order using your designs. Our automated fulfillment is a cost-effective process without any storage costs. Plus, our product customization tools are super easy to use!

1. Create an Account

Sign up for a free account. Once you’re ready, take some time to explore the dashboard and familiarize yourself with our helpful resources and awesome features.

2. Choose What to Sell

Printify offers a wide Catalog with hundreds of high-quality products, from apparel to accessories and home decor. Identify trending products that fit your niche and have the potential for decent profit margins.

Explore manufacturing features, production costs, fulfillment locations, customizable design, and branding options available for each product on its dedicated page.

3. Connect Your Store

To sell on Amazon using Printify, register as an Amazon seller with a Professional seller plan

Once your seller account is active, go to your Printify Dashboard and connect your Amazon store via My stores – Add new store.


When adding a custom product to your Amazon store, you must request a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) exemption to list your Printify merchandise without needing a product barcode.

4. Create Products and Edit Listings

Design your products with our easy-to-use Product Creator (formerly Mockup Generator). Upload and edit your designs or create new ones from scratch.

When creating your listings, optimize them using relevant keywords your customers will use when searching for your products. Upload high-quality images, and ensure your product titles and descriptions are clear, consistent, and appealing to encourage good customer feedback.

5. Promote Your Store

Marketing your Amazon store is crucial for attracting buyers. Capture your customer preferences by utilizing Amazon’s advertising, such as Sponsored Products and Brands.

Additionally, leverage social media platforms, email marketing, and content marketing to drive traffic to your listings. Also, consider running promotions or discounts to encourage first-time purchases, and always provide exceptional customer service.

6. Monitor Your Performance

Regularly check your sales performance and customer feedback on Amazon. Use Amazon’s analytics tools to track sales and see which products are selling and which aren’t.

Pay attention to customer reviews to track product and service quality. Consistently adjust your strategies to enhance your store’s performance and increase sales.


You’re now fully informed on how to sell on Amazon without inventory using different methods. We’ve explored POD with Printify, dropshipping suppliers, Amazon FBA, and FBM.

All that’s left is to pick the business model that works for you, do your product research, assess market demand, curate your listings, and create a thriving online business. 

Sell on Amazon today and enjoy making profits without holding inventory.

Make It Happen Today!

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  1. Kristen Kelly Nesbeth
    April 25

    i don’t see amazon on here, will it be available soon

  2. DJ
    April 25

    This doesn’t explain connecting an Amazon seller account to printify. Amazon isn’t an option in the create new store integrations.

    1. Ariel Summers
      May 17

      Hi DJ,

      Yes, you’re right, we don’t offer direct integration with Amazon, however this can be done through Shopify. In case you need any assistance with the set up, please reach out to our support team.


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