How to Sell on Shopify Without Inventory

How to Sell on Shopify Without Inventory

Shopify dominates the eCommerce market in the United States, with around 29% of businesses choosing this platform to run their online stores. This impressive market presence highlights Shopify’s overall ease and efficiency in setting up online shops.

Unlike traditional retail models, Shopify allows you to sell online without the complexities of inventory management.

This guide will show you how to sell on Shopify without inventory, embracing tried and tested eCommerce solutions that are perfect for entrepreneurs. 

Minimize upfront investment and storage space while earning passive income today.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. This comes at no additional cost to you.

How to Sell on Shopify Without Inventory Using Print on Demand

The easiest way to sell on Shopify without inventory is with the print-on-demand business model. You don’t need your own warehouse – all that’s taken care of by your POD supplier.

Develop a Brand

The word “brand” surrounded by colorful blocks.

Before diving into product selection or website design, you should develop a strong brand identity to convey your business’s personality and values. 

When thinking about how to sell on Shopify, take your time to brainstorm a name that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your future product offerings. 

Need some inspiration? Try Shopify’s Business Name Generator.

Set Up Your Shopify Store

The homepage of the Shopify Theme store.

1. Select a plan. Shopify provides a range of pricing plans to suit different business sizes and needs. Consider the number of products you plan to list, your budget, and any specific features you need.

2. Choose your theme. Your store’s theme sets the tone for the online presence of your print-on-demand dropshipping business:

  • Look for themes that align with your business’s style and ethos.
  • Check out the Shopify Theme Store for a wide selection of options, both free and paid.
  • Consider mobile responsiveness, as 42.9% of eCommerce customers are expected to shop using smartphones or tablets in 2024.

3. Customize your store’s layout. Store appearance matters, and Shopify makes it easy for you to design it to your liking:

  • Use Shopify’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface to arrange elements on your website.
  • Customize colors, fonts, and imagery to match your brand’s visual identity.
  • Add essential pages like About Us, Contact, and FAQs to enhance customer engagement.
  • Ensure that your site is easy to navigate with a clear menu structure.
  • Speed up loading times using optimized images and leveraging Shopify’s built-in tools.
  • Include clear calls to action (CTAs) on your pages to guide customer interaction.

4. Integrate essential apps. These will help make setting up, marketing, and the user experience even easier:

  • Explore Shopify App Store to find tools to add functionality to your store, such as email marketing integrations, review widgets, or SEO tools.

Decide What Products to Sell

Merchant-approved products in Printify Catalog – long sleeve tee, journal, canvas gallery wraps, and candles.

Deciding what products to sell will determine your store’s popularity. With POD, you can choose from a variety of items, from apparel to home goods – without upfront inventory. 

Consider what products will appeal to your target audience and how these items will reflect your brand’s values.

This step towards creating a successful Shopify store is where market research comes in handy to understand current trends and customer preferences.

Partner Up With a Print-on-Demand Service

Printify's homepage highlighting its free services, more than 900 quality products, and the largest global print network.

Collaborating with a print-on-demand service is the next step Shopify merchants should consider. Services like Printify offer over 900 high-quality products ready for your designs. 

Printify handles the production and shipping times, freeing you from all kinds of worries. You don’t need to manage inventory or take cumbersome walks to the post office. Simply sell products online and collect profits. 

Printify has Print Partners worldwide – simply choose one close to your audience to save on shipping costs and ensure timely deliveries. 

With Printify’s five-star rating on Trustpilot, they’re an extremely reliable partner for your online business.

Design Your Products

Illustration of how applying a design onto a t-shirt works in Printify Mockup Generator.

Designing products without inventory at hand is where creativity comes into play. 

Whether you’re artistically inclined or prefer pre-made designs, ensure that each product reflects your brand’s unique style. 

Use Printify’s free Mockup Generator to create eye-catching designs: 

  • For text-based designs, try the Text Editor.
  • Whip up one-of-a-kind designs with the AI Image Generator.
  • Create your own all-over patterns.

With Printify, all you need is an internet connection and a creative vision to start selling products without inventory.

Quick Tip

Order samples to see and feel the physical product before offering it to paying customers.

Connect Your Store and Publish Products

Printify app installation process on Shopify, asking for the needed app permissions for viewing and editing data.

Integrating Printify with your Shopify store is a breeze – the process only takes minutes. 

Once connected, upload your product designs and begin selling from your Shopify store without inventory worries, making the transition from concept to commerce smoother than ever.

The “Automatically assign a new shopping profile” option selected before publishing a product from Printify to Shopify.

In the world of eCommerce, especially with Print on Demand, communicating your shipping options is key to building customer trust and satisfaction.

With the POD model, like when you partner with Printify, the shipping process is managed by them. They take care of production and packaging – the product is then shipped directly to your customer after a purchase is made. 

Setting up shipping options in your Shopify store with Printify is simple. Choose Automatically assign a new shipping profile when publishing products from Printify. 

This feature ensures that your customers’ shipping rates are exactly the same as those charged to you for fulfillment.

How it works:

  • Automatic shipping profile assignment. When you select this, Printify either creates a new shipping profile for your product or assigns an existing one with matching settings.
  • Consistency across products. If you’ve previously set up a product like Bella+Canvas 3001 with an automatic shipping profile, Printify will use the same profile for all future Bella+Canvas 3001 products from the same Print Provider.
  • Bulk and individual publishing. Publish shipping rates in bulk via the My Products page on Printify or by selecting a product and editing its shipping settings.

Quick Tip

Transparent communication about shipping is essential for building customer trust. Be sure to include:

  • Detailed information about delivery times and shipping delays.
  • Shipping costs.
  • Shipping policies.

Price and Listing Optimization

Earnings calculation example for t-shirts.

Setting the right price for your products is a balancing act between being competitive and ensuring you have healthy profit margins. 

You also need to ensure your listings are appealing to shoppers in the first place, so making your items attractive and easy to find is key to getting clicks and sales.  

Consider these factors while pricing your items: 

  • Competitive pricing. Research other stores’ pricing on similar products. Shopify’s Help Center can provide insights into standard pricing structures within your niche.
  • Profit margin calculation. Consider the costs involved in creating and selling your product, including if there are fees for your POD service.
    Online tools like Omni’s Margin Calculator can help you determine a price that covers costs and brings in profit.

Once you’ve set your prices, the next step is optimizing product descriptions and other listing details.

Product title and description editing view on Shopify.
  • Product descriptions. Craft compelling and informative product descriptions by including their benefits and purposes. Sites like Copyblogger offer great tips on writing effective descriptions.
  • Use keywords. Identify keywords that potential customers will likely use when searching for products like yours. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush can help you find relevant keywords.
    Incorporate them naturally into product titles and descriptions to improve your listings’ visibility in search engine results.
  • Product images. High-quality images don’t only attract customers but also give them a clear idea of what your store sells.
    Take your own photos using product samples – if you don’t know how, try taking online courses from Skillshare. Or, use Printify’s Mockup Generator or PlaceIt to get beautiful product mockups in various settings.

Promote Your Store

A man working on a strategy to promote his Shopify store.

Now that your Shopify store is up and running, it’s time to focus on attracting customers. Effective promotion is key to increasing your store’s visibility and driving sales. 

Let’s take a deeper look into various digital marketing strategies to successfully sell on Shopify.

1. Social media marketing. Leverage platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest to reach potential customers:

  • Create engaging posts that showcase your online store and products.
  • Use targeted ads to reach a specific audience demographic.
  • Engage with your followers through comments, messages, and live sessions to build a community around your brand.

2. Content marketing. While exploring how to make money on Shopify with no money, providing your audience with valuable content is always a great approach:

  • Start a blog related to your niche and post regularly. This can improve your SEO rankings and bring organic traffic to your store.
  • Use storytelling to connect with your audience. Share your brand’s journey, the inspiration behind your products, or customer success stories.

3. Email marketing. Build an email list and regularly send out newsletters:

  • Offer your email subscribers exclusive discounts, product previews, or valuable information related to your niche.
  • Use automation tools to send welcome emails to new subscribers, thank-you emails post-purchase, and targeted promotional campaigns.

4. Influencer partnerships. Find influencers in your niche to reach a wider audience:

  • Identify influencers whose followers match your target demographic.
  • Work with them to create sponsored content or product reviews that can be shared on their platforms.

Gather Customer Feedback

A customer leaving feedback and a five-star rating from their phone.

Encourage customers to leave reviews, and be sure to listen to their suggestions. Browse the Shopify App Store for feedback apps like Powerful Contact Form Builder or Trustify.

This will help you refine your product range and enhance the customer experience, fostering repeat business and loyalty.

Other Business Models for Selling Without Inventory

A woman packaging customer orders for dropshipping and adding “Thank you” notes on the boxes.


The dropshipping business model includes selling products that are stored, packed, and shipped by a third-party supplier

As a dropshipping store owner, you don’t keep the products in stock but transfer customer orders to your dropshipping supplier, who then ships the products directly to the customers.

Third-Party Fulfillment Centers

Using third-party fulfillment centers involves storing your products in a warehouse managed by another company. 

They handle the inventory, packing, and shipping of orders on your behalf. This model allows you to sell on Shopify without handling the logistics of the physical products, like storage and shipping.

Selling Digital Products

Selling digital products involves offering non-physical items like eBooks, courses, software, audio, video files, and digital art. Customers purchase and receive these products online, eliminating the need for physical inventory, storage, or shipping. 

When Shopify stores sell digital products, customers receive them immediately.

Selling Affiliate Products

In affiliate marketing, you promote other companies’ products on your platform. When customers purchase through your affiliate links, you earn a commission. 

This model doesn’t require you to manage or own inventory, as you’re simply directing customers to the affiliate products.

Why Choose Printify for Your eCommerce Business?

Great Product Quality

As the print-on-demand frontrunner, Printify is known for its outstanding product quality. Dropship products like t-shirts, hoodies, home decor, pet products, and tech accessories.


Printify’s intuitive interface is ideal for those new to eCommerce. Its intuitive interface simplifies setting up and managing your Shopify store, even for those with no prior experience.

Reliable Suppliers Worldwide

With Printify, you don’t need to worry about finding reliable suppliers. Their vast global network ensures that you can find the perfect match for your product needs, enhancing the diversity and quality of the offerings of your print-on-demand dropshipping business.

Free Design Tool

Printify’s free Mockup Generator offers cool tools, like the Text Editor, AI Image Generator, and access to the Shutterstock image vault. It simplifies the product customization process, allowing you to easily create unique designs without needing third-party apps.

Automated Order Fulfillment

Printify’s business model takes the hassle out of order processing with its automated fulfillment system. From printing to shipping, they handle it all, freeing you to focus on design and marketing.


Embarking on the journey of learning how to sell on Shopify without inventory opens a world of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

By leveraging Print on Demand and Printify, you can sell on Shopify without inventory management. They will help you every step of the way so you can sell clothes, accessories, or home decor and generate revenue.

Embrace these ingenious eCommerce strategies, focus on creating a strong brand presence, and utilize digital marketing to reach your audience. 

With dedication and the right tools, your Shopify online store can thrive in the dynamic world of online retail, offering both flexibility and profitability.

Make It Happen Today!

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