How to become an online retailer with zero investment? It sounds gimmicky and impractical, but it is possible. People who had started online retailing with zero money now have a fully established eCommerce business earning millions.
Most of us want to start an eCommerce business but drop our ideas because we lack funds, don’t have our inventory, and have no brand. But, genuinely, to become an online retailer, you don’t need a product to sell, but you can resell other products by your label. So, does that raise your adrenaline?
Reselling business is a base of eCommerce business that needs no investment and no inventory. That will sound shady to you, but more than 500k resellers are currently in India. Many eCommerce brand owners started their journey as resellers, side hustles, or part-time, and today they’re running an organized business. So let’s jump into what reselling is and how to start and scale it.
What Is Reselling (Dropshipping) Business?
Reselling business means a reseller sources products from a wholesaler or manufacturer and then resells them to the end consumer under the reseller’s name. Unlike other eCommerce businesses, you do not need to do inventory management or have any investments in this business.
In India, this concept of reselling business is adapted from the U.S., where it is known as dropshipping. The process of reselling or dropshipping starts with finding a supplier who promises to deliver products when the order comes. Next, you start marketing the product through a website, social commerce, and word-of-mouth.
When customers order from you, you directly pass the order to your supplier, which he/she directly fulfills and ships to the consumer under your label. So customers think they bought the product from you, but you’ve only made sales and paid the commission. Then, the manufacturer or wholesaler supplies the actual product.
So you get the commission benefit without investing in inventory or any other investment. The supplier benefits by selling his product, and the customer benefits by consuming the product. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
In India, many resellers get their products from websites like Meesho, eBay, Alibaba, and IndiaMART. Resellers use different marketing tactics and platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and other social media platforms to target customers and earn profits by selling ready-made products. Amazon FBA is the best example that primarily enabled reselling in India, where people order products in bulk and then resell them on Amazon for profit.
Reselling VS Distributorship
Many people compare dropshipping with distributorship and think it is the same. They are both defined as the same but have some differences:
Resellers do not hold inventory like distributors. Distributors buy inventory from the supplier in bulk and store it in their warehouses, unlike resellers, who completely operate on a demand-based approach and are not responsible for holding any kind of inventory. Instead, resellers simply act as a middleman between the manufacturer and the end customer.
Distributors have stronger relationships than resellers with the supplier. Distributors connect with suppliers more than retailers because they buy products from the supplier, help them improve the product, and assist in marketing, government clearances, and labeling. However, resellers work with suppliers to only forward the product to the customers and earn a commission. They do not help in marketing and labeling.
Benefits Of Reselling (Dropshipping) Business
No Investment Required
In reselling, you don’t have to manufacture or store products. Therefore you can hit the ground in reselling with zero or nearly zero investment. Your role as a reseller is simply to act as a middleman in the purchase cycle.
Can Sell Multiple Products
The best part of reselling a business is you are free to sell as many products as you want; there is no restriction. You can offer multiple product categories from different suppliers to the customers. The only thing to keep in mind is that the product must be in demand and of good quality.
Easy To Establish
You can start reselling your business in just 5 minutes. But, first, you must ensure that your product display (such as websites, social media pages, etc.) is in place and that you’ve one supplier.
Set Your Profit Margin
In reselling business, you’re free to set the final price of the product, which may increase your profit margin. However, it is advisable to do prior research and analyze the standard price on which other businesses are selling the same product.
Platforms You Can Use To Start Your Online Retail Business
Certain platforms will help you reach out to customers and start your online business.
Meesho is one of India’s best online earning apps, helping more than two million people sell their products to their customers. You can start a nationwide reselling business within a blink on the platform and start earning the next day. Meesho is popular among retailers, particularly homemakers and students. You can choose from over three lakhs of products available at a minimum wholesale price.
You must be aware that most people hang on social media today. Social commerce is the new normal in this century, and companies like to engage and connect with their customers through social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. You can run social media pages to attract and engage your audience to sell products.
Shopify is the most trusted eCommerce platform used by millions of eCommerce sellers and resellers worldwide. This platform allows you to set up your eCommerce store/ website online to resell products. Although the platform costs you some investment, it is worth a shot. You can sell to different marketplaces, social media, and retail locations with Shopify integration.
BigCommerce is a renowned and widely used cloud eCommerce platform known for its low cost of ownership and highly flexible API. In addition, it provides comprehensive assistance through tools that help you scale your reselling business.
How To Start An Online Retailing Business With Zero Investment?
Identifying the industry, viability, and competition, and finalizing the product
As online reselling is one of the competitive online businesses, it is imperative to conduct market research before starting an online reselling business. You should deeply research market viability, competition, and other parameters.
Sourcing the product
Finding the right supplier of products is a critical part of the reselling business, but many new resellers ignore it for the sake of high margins. Ensure to source the products from a trusted supplier who pays attention to details. There are two options to find the right supplier: get suppliers from online apps like Meesho, and Alibaba, to source quality products, or you can reach out to local manufacturers for products that can be easily resold.
Establishing the right communication channel
Identifying the right method to reach the potential customer has significance in the reselling business. First, you need to find the platform where your customers hang out or mostly use. Then, you can use communication channels like blogs, eCommerce websites, or social media to reach out to your customers.
Marketing it right
You know the quality of your product is good, and it will be beneficial for your potential customers. But your customers do not know what your product is, is the quality really good, and whether it will be helpful to them unless you market it correctly.
Setting up the payment method
Choosing the right payment method could be a deal breaker, and online retailer infringe on it. Customers are very vigilant about their money; if they do not trust your payment gateway, they will not transact from it and abandon buying from you. Therefore, choose a common payment method that your customers trust.
Conclusion: You don’t need money to start an eCommerce business
Reselling does not need investment, but it surely needs effective communication, marketing, and sales skills. If you can convince people to purchase from you, then reselling your business will generate substantial income for you.
You must know reselling is just a start. You can build your eCommerce brand starting from that. If you want to play big and earn big:
Start reselling < Earn Money < invest in inventory < develop your product < build your own eCommerce brand.
eCommerce business, in regards to digitization, is a money-making machine. But eCommerce business needs the expertise to tackle complexities and help from aggregators like NimbusPost for last-mile delivery, smart warehouse fulfillment, and much more.