S ince 1. the dawn of the internet, it has shaped our very lives, changing how we live and work at an increasingly rapid pace. The interconnected world today is a very different one than the world that existed a mere 10 years ago, and more so than on a personal basis, the business world has been disrupted to a point that it can hardly be recognized.

In conventional “old school” business strategy for product sales, manufacturers produce a handful of quality products after observing the market, make a few available colors and/or options, and “push” these items out to retailers and resellers in volume, relying on them to sell their products for them.

The popularization of “custom” items, made even more prevalent by technologies such as 3D printing, combined with the desire of the modern consumer to have instant access to an ever-widening variety of products, has led many leading economists to declare the death of the “push” model in favor of a “pull” model, where the immediate demands and desires of the consumer drive production, and marketing is much less influential in the consumer’s purchasing decisions.

So what does this mean for resellers today? In order to keep up with the widening consumer demand for product variety, it means that the breadth of your inventory is more important than it ever was before. Volume-selling items are unable to be predicted reliably, and especially hot items will be picked up by the big players (Amazon, eBay) to be sold directly, undercutting any chance you have at competing. The only way to succeed, then, is to profit from lower-volume sales by having as many items as possible.

With the problems created by the increasingly technology-driven marketplace come some solutions as well. Since profiting from lower-selling items is a numbers game, it means that you need to dramatically expand your inventory, but without storing items, increasing overhead, or putting yourself at risk with items that don’t sell. Drop-ship fulfillment, then, is only the answer.

By allowing manufacturers or distributors to take on the risk of storing inventory, you can expand from hundreds of unique items to thousands or even millions of items with no increase in storage or personnel overhead. Every variant of every item can be made available to your customers, and you only purchase the items that you’ve already sold.

In conclusion, the only way to succeed with the pull model of today’s marketplaces is to leverage dropshipping and access an entire ocean of products in order to satisfy varied consumer demand while minimizing your risk. Combined with the strict standards applied to most resellers today, this can be a difficult endeavor, but it is necessary if you wish to list the millions of items necessary in order to become a success story. It is the only way to win what is, after all, simply a game of numbers.