Choosing between a niche store and a general store will be one of the first decisions you will make as a new Shopify store owner.
And making that decision isn’t as straightforward as some may think, especially for someone new to eCommerce.
Well, after reading this article, your polarizing and conflicting decision making will come to an end.
I’m going to take you through not only deciding which choice to make but also how to get your store set up and find products that will sell the day you open up shop!
But first, let’s cover the basics of each store type.
A niche store is a dropshipping or print on demand (POD) store focuses on a single specific niche or subject.
Niches focus on passions and items that have a cult-like following, such as particular careers, specific dog breeds, and hobbies.
A general store is one that sells a variety of items from different categories of niches.
General stores aren’t necessarily composed of passion-based items, although some can be.
General stores focus on selling a variety of unique products with the same shopping experience, similar to a Wal-Mart or Amazon.
There are 30 other articles out there that will explain, in-depth, the universal pro’s and con’s list that distinguishes a niche from a general store.
So I’m not going to rehash the unnecessary information to you.
Instead, I have created a straightforward chart that will explain each point to you.
Let’s move on and debunk some common myths and misconceptions associated with the chart above.
You can effectively sell products to consumers in a niche you’re unfamiliar with.
It may take a little extra research, but you can familiarize yourself with the pain points and passions of the customers within your stores’ niche.
It’s true, AliExpress can turn into a rabbit hole that will suck you in without even realizing it. However, with the right tools and methods set in place (which we will be going over shortly) you can resist the distractions.
Starting with a general store is the easiest way to break into eCommerce.
A general store gives you the chance to test different products without any restrictions on products or audiences to sell to.
No matter what you choose to do, you’ll never be ‘stuck’ with that decision.
I will admit, it is easier to start with a general store that pivots into a particular niche based on which types of products sell the most on your store. Not to mention, you will know how to target the niche you decide to focus on precisely.
However, if you start in a particular niche, you can always expand your product line and introduce new collections of different niches. Targeting new audiences may be rocky at first, but you’ll still have old traffic to rely on for sales.
For the scope of this article, I’m going to mostly focus on getting started with a product line and sourcing products.
If you want to learn about optimized store set up and design, check out our free downloadable Shopify Conversion Checklist!
This checklist will take you through the ABC’s of building a Shopify store from the ground up.
It teaches you the optimal placements of certain features, how to choose a cohesive color scheme, app recommendations, and even recommendations for the best sales converting themes!
Instead of spending money on hiring a designer that is unfamiliar with store design optimization, download our FREE Shopify Conversion Checklist created by those who specialize in it.
You should start with a product line of 5 items or less, here’s why:
Just because you’ll have access to every single type of product available on AliExpress doesn’t mean that they’re all great products to sell.
You want to pay attention to the wholesale price, dimensions, and the accessibility to the products in questions.
You want to avoid dropshipping products that have a high wholesale price because then your mark up will be too high for someone to purchase on impulse.
Larger items will have higher shipping costs; which will either have to reflect on your stores’ shipping policy or your products pricing – which will also exceed the impulse price point.
Finally, consider the accessibility to the products your customers may already have access to. Commodities such as car chargers and cable adapters wouldn’t be the wisest things to sell on your store.
You should be selecting products that:
If your product in question doesn’t meet any of these requirements, move on.
Although Amazon is viewed to be every dropshippers biggest competitor, you can use their strong points as your very own.
Amazon has a section in its navigation titled “Today’s Deals.”
Essentially, it’s a treasure trove of products separated into different categories and niches that are only on sale for 24 hours.
The reason I mention it as a validation tool is that underneath each product, you can see the number of products that have been ‘claimed’/bought during the sale period.
So not only can you view the popularity of products, but you can see how they will perform with added scarcity metrics added to your product page.
The key is to look for products that have had half of their stock ‘claimed.’
eBay is another popular platform you can take advantage of.
eBay also separates its products into categories. However, you won’t be doing much product research on the platform itself.
There is a site called Watchcount that you will use in conjunction with the platform.
According to Watchcount: “Watchcount shows you the most popular eBay items in real-time, as voted by eBay users.eBay continuously tracks votes (when users click “Add to Watch List”), and we report the results…We reveal live Watch Counts (how many watchers), providing rankings and unique search capabilities you won’t find on eBay US itself.”
Take product categories from eBay and type them into the search bar of Watchcount.
You can then verify the product popularity and interest by ‘watch’ feature!
Once you gather a wide selection of product types and niches, go to the Audience Insights tool in your Ads Manager.
Once you’re there, type the niche into the interest field and if the reach isn’t at least 1 million people, ditch the niche and product and move on to the next niche and product idea.
Now that we’ve validated the niches and found prospective products to sell, its time to find them on AliExpress!
However, I’m sure that you’ve found out pretty quickly that there are thousands of variations of products on AliExpress, which is why I want to recommend Cookie.io.
Cookie.io is a comprehensive product research tool that allows you to quickly find profitable products you can start selling on your store within minutes!
Instead of spending 10 hours a week on product research that yields no results, Cookie.io allows you to quickly find proven to sell products so you can focus on tasks that will scale your business.
Instead of scouring through hundreds of products and comparing reviews, order amounts, and seller ratings, Cookie.io does all the work for you!
Let’s take a look at the specific tools within the Cookie.io suite.
For those of you interested in a print on demand store, you should know that Pinterest will be your go-to validation buddy.
You won’t be able to copy the designs you find on Pinterest. However, you can see what types of products and niches are trending to inspire yours.
And with Cooki.io’s Pinterest Searcher sorting through engagement on Pinterest has never been easier.
Just type in the ‘niche’ + product you’re interested in the search bar, and the items with the highest engagement and pins will appear in the search results!
You can narrow down results by the number of times a post has been saved and specify the time frame, so you only view the most recent designs and products out there.
The Etsy Product Search tool allows you to see which products customers are buying in real-time on Etsy with a simple keyword search!
This tool allows you to stay on top of current product trends and find products that your customers will want to buy.
Another tool in the Cookie.io arsenal that shows you which products are selling in real-time is the Reveal Top Sellers.
The difference between this tool and the Etsy Product search tool is that you aren’t limited to the best selling products on Etsy…
…You have unrestricted access to the top-selling products on ANY Shopify store!
In addition to viewing the best selling items on a store, you can use this tool to determine:
The only thing required of you is a Shopify URL, which you can find on Myip.ms.
Myip.ms is an online database that hosts every single Shopify stores URL.
All you have to do is grab any URL from the database and plug it into the search field.
… Now you can find your next profitable product!
The AliExpress Search tool is the go-to product research tool for dropshippers.
This tool filters out low interest products on AliExpress and only pulls products that are proven to sell in the search results.
Let me show you how the AliExpress Search tool will start making you money the moment you use it.
… And watch your soon-to-be profits populate!
As you can see, the first result generates a product that has had 3,242 orders!
The price is only $0.80, and you can easily resell it for $25.00.
The product research doesn’t stop there! Just click the ‘Find Stores Selling This’ button on the search result to find other dropshipping stores selling this same product!
You can then use the information on their product page to determine a competitive price and different ways to pitch your product! You never want to copy someone else’s descriptions or titles exactly. However, you can improve upon them to create your own!
You can then use their URL in the Reveal Top Sellers tool to see which products are selling the most amongst your competition!
In addition to our powerful software, you also get access to our revolutionary $10K a month Shopify training and weekly interactive workshops put on by eCommerce Experts
This 5-part training takes you through building a store from the ground up to scale it and turn profits as quickly as possible.
This training includes the EXACT strategies we used to scale our Shopify store to $10K a month in just 30 days.
In this training you’ll learn everything from:
At Cookie.io, we believe that there is always an opportunity to learn, especially in an ever-changing eCommerce landscape. Which is why all Cookie.io members get free access to live, interactive workshops hosted 3X a month!
In these live workshops, taught by industry leaders, you will learn conversion-boosting strategies that you can implement immediately. Topics range from SEO best practices to custom store designs and even using metrics to increase your store’s revenue.
Typically, these workshops are about $200/session, but as a valued Cookie.io member, you get access for free.
Cookie.io usually is $67 a month…
… HOWEVER, if you sign up today, you can get started for only $1 and locked into our 33% off startup special.
So, instead of paying $67 a month, for just $47 a month you can get access to our proprietary software, $10K a month Shopify training, and weekly interactive workshops indefinitely.
Patricia is a self-proclaimed dog enthusiast who also happens to spearhead the content marketing efforts at SMART Apps. When she’s not petting dogs or writing about the industry insights, you can find her on a yoga mat or reading anything that feeds her bibliophilic needs.