You want to start an online shop, but to keep costs low, you don't want to have to store any inventory. Luckily, that is an option. With the right setup, you can launch an online shop without filling your home with inventory. Here are the main options.
1. Sell made-on-demand items.
Many items can be made to order. For instance, you can set up a website where people can order your photography on custom coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other items. The items don't exist until someone orders them.
At that point, your printer creates the items and either ships them to you or directly to your buyer. Because the items are only created after an order, you don't have to worry about stocking inventory. You also don't have to worry about losing money by purchasing items that don't sell.
2. Work with a fulfillment center.
If you opt to work with a fulfillment center, you buy inventory, but you don't have to store or manage it. This can save a lot of money compared to keeping a lot of inventory in your home or renting a space for it.
With a fulfillment center, shoppers can order your goods on your website just as they would if you physically stored the items. Then, the order goes to the fulfillment center. Someone fills the order and ships it to the client.
If you restock your inventory, the shipment goes from the wholesaler to the fulfillment center. Then, the staff there take care of everything. Although you pay for the fulfillment services, they help you save money in the long run. This can be a great option if you want to sell physical items without dealing with the logistics.
3. Open a consignment shop.
With a consignment shop, you run a physical or online shop, but you sell other people's goods. Your consigners take the risks associated with purchasing and owning inventory. You do the work of marketing and selling. Then, when something sells, you make a commission. If nothing sells, you don't lose anything but the sales efforts you made.
4. Focus on the digital sphere.
Alternatively, you can just stay away from physical items. Instead, you can sell digital downloads or other types of digital products. If you focus completely on the digital, you can bring your products straight to consumers without worrying about their physical presence. With this option, you don't have to worry about paying commissions or any fees to a third party as you do with some of these other options.