How To Sell Products Online Without Inventory The Effective Way

The internet is full of opportunities to earn a decent income, if you know how to do it. And one easy way is to learn how to sell products online without inventory.

In fact, you do not need to worry about all the aspects of running a business of selling products – the product creation, product storage, product delivery, etc.

All you need to do is promote a product owned by someone else and earn a commission when a sale is made. This is the business you are aiming to build.

The product handling and even post-sales customer service will be taken care of by the merchant.

Sounds simple and straight-forward right? It actually is.

What I have just described above is actually known as affiliate marketing. I’d say that affiliate marketing has been around for as long as the Internet existed.

Why Is Affiliate Marketing A Good Business Model To Begin Your Online Business Journey With?

Well, for one thing, you do not have to worry about creating the product to sell, not to mention a product that is well-received by the market.

As an affiliate marketer, you identify a product that is already selling really well and then market that product. You have the freedom to choose and promote whichever product that you think is best for your customers.

Because what are the chances of making a sale of a product that is already in high demand vs. working hard to push and market something that no one knows about, or worse, no one wants? I’d say it is pretty high!

How Does It Work?

I have identified four crucial steps that will ensure your success in affiliate marketing.

Step 1: Identify the niche market you would like to be an expert in.

First, you need to pick a niche to market your products in. This can be anything at all, something that you have knowledge or experience in, or simply something that you are interested in.

The reason to pick a niche is that as you start doing your marketing, it is more effective to promote products that are similar as you are able to target specific groups of people.

The second reason is that to be able to be sell something well, it is important to build trust and authority around a subject first. And that can only be achieve if you target a specific niche.

Step 2: Identify products within the niche market to promote.

The next step after you have selected your niche is to identify the products within that niche that you can sell.

This is actually pretty simple. All you need to do is do a search on Google on your niche + affiliate programs. For example, if my niche is gardening, then I’ll do a search on “gardening affiliate programs” and you will find a list of affiliate programs that are available for the gardening niche.

Better yet, if you know of a specific product that you think is brilliant and would like to promote, you can always find out if the brand offers an affiliate program.

For example, if you are an iPhone user and you think it’s a wonderful product to promote, you can always find out if Apple has an affiliate program. Well, Apple does in fact have one, over here.

Besides searching for affiliate programs individually, there is another way which I think is even better. And that is through affiliate networks.

Affiliate networks work as an intermediary between the merchants and the affiliates and they usually maintain a directory that is organized by subject/niche.

Amazon has the biggest affiliate network for consumer products, which allows you to promote any product that is sold on their platform.

Amazon affiliate

There are a few affiliate networks for digital products, such as software and eBooks. And one of the best is ClickBank. ClickBank allows you to sort the products in its directory by popularity and bestsellers, enabling you to quickly determine which products have the highest chance of doing well in your marketing campaigns.

Clickbank marketplace

I personally prefer to promote digital products as commissions are usually higher. The reason is that production cost per unit of digital product is quite low, and therefore a big part of the sale value can be paid out as commissions. Commissions for digital products can go as high as 75%, whereas commissions for physical products usually only go up to 10%.

Step 3: Create a vehicle or platform to promote the products.

The next step is to create a vehicle that you can reach potential customers with. This is the platform with which you use to promote the products that you have identified.

When you sign up for an affiliate program, you are given an affiliate link that is unique to you. So anytime someone clicks your link to purchase a product, you will receive a commission.

There are many ways you can use to reach a potential customer, such as social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, or even YouTube. But I find that often the most effective way is to through your own website.

Your website is essentially your piece of online real estate or a storefront, if you will. This is essentially where people will go to when they are searching for information regarding your niche or specifically on a product in your niche (something that you could be promoting).

Website should be the first platform you work on as websites are the first places people go to get information. A good website gains the trust of potential buyers and has the authority in the particular niche it is in. And as your website gains more authority, the easier it is to convince people to buy the products you are promoting.

Building a website is actually quite easy these days. You can literally build a website in minutes with a few clicks of a button. The platform that I use is SiteRubix that is which is one of the tools of Wealthy Affiliate (I will be discussing what Wealthy Affiliate is at the end of this article).

Wealthy Affiliate site builder

Step 4: Build your Internet presence and authority and drive traffic to your site.

As you may have guessed, setting up a website is only the beginning.

What you need is visitors to your website (the traffic). This is because it doesn’t matter how beautiful or great your website is, it is pretty much useless if no one is there to see what you have to offer.


One of the most important methods to drive traffic to your website is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is essentially optimizing your website so that it ranks highly in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

There are many factors when doing SEO for your website, but the most important metric considered by search engines is your content, and how useful and value-adding it is to your visitors. The more relevant and better your content are, the higher your website should rank.

Getting ranked, especially on the first few pages on the search engine, is very, very important because people hardly scroll past the first 3 pages of the search result.

What Do I Need To Do To Get Started?

There are many affiliate training programs that teaches you what you need to know and do to have a successful online business. I recommend you sign up for a good program that gives you structured training so that you have a solid foundation.

I stress that you should go for a program that focuses on setting the right foundation and providing you the tools to get started. There are many programs that promise to make you a lot of money with little to no work from your part. You should stay away from these, as they usually teach unsustainable methods to make money or just outright scams.

One of the best platforms I’ve seen and personally used is Wealthy Affiliate.

What is Wealthy Affiliate?

Wealthy Affiliate is a comprehensive platform that offers just about everything you need to have a thriving affiliate marketing business.

It provides step-by-step training on absolutely everything you need to know and do exactly from scratch, with weekly live classes (and hundreds of hours of past live class replays).

Additionally, the platform has a responsive community of tens of thousands other affiliate marketers on the platform, support and coaching and live chat with other members.

Wealthy Affiliate also features state-of-the-are website building and hosting tools, and a keyword research platform.

I have done a pretty comprehensive review on Wealthy Affiliate on what the platform is all about and what it offers. Check it out here.

12 thoughts on “How To Sell Products Online Without Inventory The Effective Way”

  1. I used to have 2 Thai restaurants in the U.S. Let me tell you, having a restaurant makes good money. However, the cost of running the restaurant day by day is a LOT! You start from stocking your inventory, insurance, rent, staff, CPA, and the lawyer fee etc. Trust me everyday when I walked into the restaurant, I had to pay for something. That is why I sold 2 of my restaurants and start this affiliate marketing journey. Just started WA a few months back, so far so good. We will see how I do. 

    • Hi Nuttanee,

      Affiliate marketing definitely allows you to get rid of the issues of running a full scale business and allows you to focus only on one aspect of it, which is marketing. Once you identify a good selling product, I’m confident you will succeed in it.

  2. Thank you so much, am always glad anytime I stumble upon money making articles like this. I want to give affiliate marketing a try but am having a hard time finding  a niche and the products to market, when I finish brainstorming I won’t be far from your blog in seeking help.Thank you 

    • Hi Clement.

      Finding a niche, especially for beginners, can be a bit of a daunting task. However, I suggest you start with something that you are familiar with or at least have a basic understanding of it since you will be creating a lot of content on the subject. You don’t have to be an expert in it. You can always learn more about your niche as you go about building your website.

      And it’s important you don’t spend too much time sitting on it and avoid paralysis by analysis.

      Anyway all the best in starting your website! It will be a fun journey!

  3. You do a great job of breaking down the steps necessary to affiliate market.  I like affiliate marketing because, as your title suggests, it gives the website owner the ability to sell products online without inventory.  No inventory, no returns, none of that – just referring people to the merchant to buy and getting paid to refer them.  It’s such a simple concept, and I love the way you explain it in easy to understand terms.

    • Hi Babsie. You’re right that affiliate marketing is a simple concept and all you have to do is keep on improving your marketing strategies. The best thing about it is you do not have to be perfect from the start. You can always earn as you learn! 

  4. Dear Joe,

    This was very insightful and I loved how easy you made it for readers with step by step instructions.

    Indeed, Affiliate marketing is the best way to earn money online with a small investment and the best way to sell products online. I am a full-time affiliate marketer since December 2017. The below quote will tell you why Affiliate Marketing is Awesome…

    “Affiliate Marketing has made Businesses Millions & Ordinary People Millionaires.” – Bo Bennett

    As you explained it very well by just following our passion we can earn money online. Without owning any product we can sell products online and earn money which is amazing.

    Thanks for the Great inspiring post!

    Wishing you all the very best!


    • Thanks for your feedback Paul! Indeed the risk is low for the affiliate marketing business and upside is unlimited. As long as we put in the effort, there is no reason we will not succeed.

  5. Being a user of affiliate marketing myself,  i find that this website is very beginner friendly and very informative. I like the fact that there is step by step instructions on how to get started and how one can use the platform of wealthy affiliate too sell products without inventory. Wealthy affiliate is truly a great platform to get the push in the right direction of developing a thriving online business. Great job ! thank you for sharing. 

    • Thanks for your comment Jamiro. You’re right. Wealthy Affiliate takes a lot of guess work out of your learning journey. The training on the platform is second to none!

  6. Thank you for sharing about the possibilities that affiliate marketing has to offer. I have heard about selling products without having inventory from a friend who is doing it from Dropshipping.

    Is this different from affiliate marketing? I heard that Dropshipping doesn’t require any physical inventory to make money.

    Thanks in advance for answering my question.


    • Hi Jessie. You’re right in that dropshipping also does not require inventory. It is a fulfilment method where a merchant will purchase the product from a third party whenever a sale is made and the product will be shipped directly to the customer without passing through you. 

      The biggest difference between dropshipping and affiliate marketing is that a dropshipping merchant still has to manage inventory related issues such as wrong or damaged items received by the customers. 

      Another difference is that dropshipping is usually only for physical products and competition can be very high as many merchants will promote the same products and tend to slash prices to make sales. This leads to extremely low margins. Affiliate marketers do not face this issue as they  promote a product by one merchant and hence the market dynamics are different.


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