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5 Smart Ways to Open an Online Shoe Store Without Inventory

Do you want to know if it is possible to open a shoe store without inventory? If YES, here are 5 smart ways to start an online shoe store without inventory. Generally, shoe stores sell shoes, sandals, boots, and similar products. They can also sell shoe cleaners, socks, laces, and other accessories.

Shoe stores operate with set prices, giving customers a great selection of products at affordable prices. Some shoe stores may offer shoe cleaning services, though such services are pretty rare. Shoe Store customers are more or less charged as little as $10 for a pair of nice laces to $400 for a pair of nice boots.

Average shoes cost about $70, though prices vary greatly. Although a shoe store can exist alongside a main department store, most are independent while some are also managed as e – commerce stores. E – commerce is incredibly effective, and the most successful shoe stores have online buying portals.

You too can greatly generate revenue or even increase your profits by expanding into a digital market. If you are really good at e – commerce, you can even start an entirely online store without inventory.

5 Smart Ways to Open an Online Shoe Store Without Inventory

With over 1.6 billion websites online, starting a new one can be daunting, especially if you want to start a new business venture. However, it is very much possible to sell shoes online without stocking any inventory and it will be good business, and not seen as a fraudulent attempt in the united states.

The main thing is to choose the right Business model. Below are five possible models to choose from when looking to start shoe store online without inventory.

  1. Start an Affiliate Store

In this online model, entrepreneurs promote products of other entrepreneurs and earn commission fee by reaching out to people and selling these products. Note that affiliate stores are indeed a successful method of business for people who are new to this business.

There are numerous companies across the globe with their own specially designed affiliate programs. If you are starting your shoe selling business through an affiliate store, you can choose the one which suits you. You can join various programs to promote their products.

However, you need to carefully understand all the rules and regulations concerning the program before joining it as there are many programs that do not allow using email marketing. You can promote your products through your email list, website, blog, or social media.

Also remember that the commissioned rates are always set by the companies that offer the affiliate program. So, one disadvantage of this model is very low income. It is very hard to make your living out of this method if you are just dependent on this. This method can generate passive income but cannot be a source of enough constant income.

  1. Multi – Level Marketing, or MLMs

Multi – level marketing, or MLMs as they are often called online, aren’t made for everyone. Most people don’t enjoy the turmoil of either recruit people into selling with you or selling to your friends. Meanwhile, for some other people, they are a dream come true, and a way of earning some serious cash. And, you can create websites online where you can sell inventory.

Note that most MLMs will create a website for you that you can direct your customers to. But, if you want to go the extra mile, you can make a website that actually attracts new customers to you. Except for few MLMs, the entire inventory is stored in one of their warehouses.

You can pick it up yourself and distribute it, or customers can choose to have it shipped straight to their door. You don’t have to do anything but reap the rewards of having someone buy the product. Most people will have to pay an initial fee to join the MLM, and may have to pay training costs after that.

  1. Product-on-demand services

This business model simply involves the method of selling produce-on-demand. You can also add products like hats, tote bags, t – shirts, cups, key chains, home decoration items, mugs etc. through this method. It allows you to build your own brand as well. However, the first step that you need to do is to connect your online store with any product – on – demand service. Then you can design your own custom shoes, accessories, and clothing.

For you to sell these products from your online store, firstly you have to charge your customer for the product and send the order of that product to the product – on – demand service directly. These services make the ordered products and take money from you along with the shipping cost. Finally, they deliver the products to your customer.

You can generate as much income as you want by charging your customer however you want. This service is indeed a very good option for selling these kinds of products. Another benefit of this method is that you can build your own brand.

However, building a brand of your own is not an easy task as it is very difficult to stand out from the market competition. It is not easy because the niche of this method is very limited, narrow and very famous. However, one disadvantage of this method is that if you want to make your business successful, you must have amazing shoemaking and designing skills and creativity.

  1. 3PL/FBA

Although this model is not a business without inventory, it is merely a business without warehousing. It is very similar to a traditional online store: the only exception is that you don’t have to worry about inventory storage and order delivery. 3PL is a third party logistics company. Most 3PLs handle the storage of your products and fulfil orders.

Sometimes they even provide customer support and product returns. However, the process is the following: you ship your goods to the 3PL provider. When you get an order from a customer, you send it to the 3PL. The 3PL ships the order to your customer. You pay the provider a monthly fee and a per order cost for fulfilment.

Note that FBA stands for fulfilment by Amazon and works the similar way. But it seems to have more risks than benefits. Amazon takes a significant part of your revenue. They strictly regulate the business. They can hold your money for any reason.

They can ban you or shut you down at any time. And the competition there is enormous. But indeed, you don’t have to store any inventory and deliver orders yourself, and your margins can be rather high. But this model cannot be truly called a business without stock since you still have to purchase your shoes upfront.

  1. Drop Shipping

Note that a traditional Drop shipping cycle functions like this: firstly, customers order a particular shoe from your online store. Then you send the details of your order to your wholesale supplier. Then your wholesale shoe supplier ships the order directly to the customers.

However, have it in mind there is a lot of difference involved in this process. Firstly, you don’t need to pay for the products until your customers order something on your online store. Secondly, you don’t have to keep a stock of your products and you don’t need to send them to any place. It simply means that Drop shipping is the only true method to do Online business without any inventory.

Indeed, anyone can start and manage an online shoe store without inventory or without spending a lot of money through the Drop shipping model. You can earn additional profits if you run your Drop shipping business through platforms like AliExpress as these platforms give a lot of cash back.

Your shoe selling business can be even more lucrative if you can find a supplier at lower prices. You can set any margin of your choice in this way. This business model is very suitable for people who want to run an online business with massive sales, but don’t want to spend on inventory.


E – commerce is incredibly effective, and the most successful shoe stores have online buying portals. When looking to start an online shoe store, it pays to diversify or specialize. When starting a shoe store business, make sure to research popular brands.

Once you have achieved some popularity, make sure your customers go to you for their shoes. You can specialize in selling boots, for example, or athletic shoes. If you are looking at selling products online without inventory, there are many options to choose from. The five highlighted above are just a small sample of how you can sell without even setting foot in a warehouse.