Patricia Protopapadakis   November 8, 2018

Making the Decision – Niche vs. General Store

Venturing out on your entrepreneurial e-commerce quest is exciting and empowering – you can finally work for yourself, choose your hours, and watch your hard work grow into something incredible!

Heck, your bed can even become your new desk if you wanted it to!  (Based on personal experience, I do not recommend this).

You get so wrapped up in all of the exciting opportunities your new endeavor will provide that once you sit down for the business plan, everything comes to a halt.

As with every business quest, you have reached your first fork in the road.

“What kind of store am I going to start and how do I even know there is a market for it?”

dropshipping general store vs niche

Just like everyone else, you have found yourself landed on this page because you are in the predicament of choosing between a niche and a general store.

As a business owner, you have done your duties of thorough research, but the results have yielded repetitive articles with the same pro’s and con’s list that get you nowhere.

Just in case this is the first article you have come across, I have broken down that universal list below for the sake of sparing your time.

NICHE

Pro’s:

  • Easier to brand your business
  • More precise ad targeting
  • Gain a cult-like following

Con’s: 

  • Limitations on the products you can sell
  • More time and money investments

GENERAL

Pros:

  • Easier to scale
  • More product flexibility to test
  • Adaptable to trends
  • Learn as you earn

Cons:

  • Low virality
  • Less brand loyalty
  • Less passionate customers

Alright, moving on.

Why hasn’t there been a more straightforward solution?

You won’t like this answer and I’m writing it knowing there will be more than a few eye rolls, but:

You can and will find success through both routes. The only obstacle is your analysis paralysis.

dropshipping niche or general store

Feeding this ever so common stagnation are myths you have been served during your routine research.

Myth #1
You can’t run a successful niche store because you are not passionate about the particular niche.

Myth #2
Starting a general store becomes too overwhelming because the product options are endless and you end up with a store full of random nonsense that will generate no sales.

Myth #3
Once you make the decision between general or niche, you can’t EVER change your business direction.

So let’s cut to the chase and debunk these myths by first tackling the truths.

Truth #1
Starting a general store will be easier to break into e-commerce with.

Truth #2
You can pivot that general store into a niche store with proper time and data allocation.

This article will walk you through starting off in the general market and selecting a product line that will seamlessly transition itself into a profitable niche store.

niche or general store shopify

Starting off, you should only have a product line of no more than 5 items. Here’s why:

  • Running ads can get expensive, so you want to be able to properly budget and allocate your money wisely.
  • It becomes hard testing which products will actually scale because you won’t be able to properly determine which item is performing the best.
  • Having a large product line becomes distracting in general. When you first enter into this industry you are going to be pummeled by loads of information, spare your time and energy on learning instead of getting lost in Ali Express’s sauce.

Call me crazy all you want, but just because you are starting a general store does not mean you need to fill it up with products to make your site appear trustworthy.

We have run plenty of stores with a product line of as little as 3 items that have brought in at least $300 daily revenue within the first month of launching. Trust us on this one.

Now that we know how many products we need to place on our store, we can continue on to finding those products!

The best thing about starting off with a general store is that you can select trending products from different niches to sell on your store. You will have a diverse product line that can appease anyone!

Market research can be daunting but it is integral to any successful business. You need a compilation of profitable niches to base your current product hunt after.

Since we are aware that is a need in high demand; we have provided a list of 20 popular niches and examples of products from each. You can get your free copy here.

Another tool that will become essential to your market researching efforts is the following link:

https://myip.ms/browse/

This site is a sink of every Shopify store in existence. The reason it will benefit YOU is that on this site you will see how many visitors each site gets a day and its own world site popular rating.

niche vs general store shopify

These two free tools I have handed you are great, but without the proper utilization and execution, they can keep you going in circles.

Whats the solution to this – how will you find products that will ACTUALLY sell within these different niches?

My answer for you is:

dropshipping general store vs niche

Cookie.io offers multiple features for finding profitable products to sell on your store, but for now I am going to focus on two of those features that you can use hand in hand with the tools I have given you above.

Feature #1
Hunt for Products

This powerful Facebook graph search reveals top product sellers, high-performing ads, and engaging content.

I’m going to walk you through finding a valuable product to sell using the 20 popular niches list I provided above.

Step 1: Go to Facebook and load up the Cookie app.  Once the product search pop up appears, type in the niche you are searching for, I used the coffee niche example from our list. Make sure to include the following phrase in quotations: “get yours here.” Using the quotes ensures it will pull up results that are most likely selling something, and that is what we are ultimately in search of! Don’t worry about the rest of the fields, just click search!

niche vs general store shopify

Step 2: A results list will populate, but these aren’t the results were looking for. Make sure to right click the page and select the Magical Reveal option from the drop-down.

dropshipping general store vs niche

Step 3: Once the results have populated make sure you sort them by engagement to discover what products are getting the most attention.

dropshipping niche or general store

As you can see, these prescription coffee mugs get thousands of likes and shares, so we can make the safe assumption that this is a product that will sell.

Step 4: Take note of the ad copy and even peruse through the stores to get inspiration for product descriptions and check out pricing – you want to stay competitive!

Step 5: Hop on over to Ali Express and search for those exact, or closely similar items to sell on your own store!

niche vs general store shopify

Feature #2
Top Seller Reveal

This bad boy is pretty straightforward, all you have to do is go to that website of Shopify stores I gave you, select one that interests you, enter its URL in the search field and count your lucky stars that someone created this tool for you!

dropshipping general store vs niche

You can use the results of both of these features to find these exact products or closely similar products to dropship yourself from Ali Express!

In addition to these fantastic features, Cookie.io also provides multiple monthly webinars by top industry leaders to ensure its subscribers can succeed in this industry.

Additionally, Cookie.io offers a free 7-day trial period so you can test out every feature (even the ones not mentioned in this post) to find profitable products for your store.

Discover valuable products and become an e-commerce guru with Cookie.io.

Once you have selected the products you want to sell on your store, you need to import them over from Ali Express.

You could spend your time importing the products over one by one and spend a few days doing it, or you can use SMAR7 Express to do all the work for you.

Using our prescription mug example, you can easily search for that item on Ali Express and click “Import to Shopify” to automatically add the product to your store within seconds using SMAR7 Express

niche or general store shopify

This app will not only import the products over for you with the click of a button, but it will also fulfill those orders in Shopify for you!

SMAR7 Express is also about to launch a 100% automated dropshipping experience.

The new features will automatically:

  • Purchase products
  • Send confirmation emails with tracking information
  • Ship the products to your customer
  • Update your inventory
  • Handle any issues that may arise

Soon enough you will be able to fulfill orders without having to even login to Shopify!

Express also offers a 7-day free trial, so go ahead and cut out a chunk of your workday by installing SMAR7 Express here.

Now that we have covered finding and importing products to your store, we must focus our attention on…

TESTING!

dropshipping general store vs niche

The testing period is where many store owners let their distractions and impatience get the best of them. You HAVE to give your products TIME to TEST.

Just because sales aren’t flying in within the first 12 hours doesn’t mean your products are a complete flop, don’t go frantically searching for new products to go load onto your store, just yet.

It will turn into a sick cycle of getting you and your business nowhere.

When you first open your store you will be running test and collecting as much data as you can.

Data collection and testing products aren’t the sexiest parts of running your own business, but it definitely leads to what is – revenue.

You should allocate 3 days to properly test the success of each product. If you do come across a few flops – do not get discouraged! Use that information to pivot and find products that will drive sales!

After about a month of data collection and putting products through their tests and trials, you can slowly expand and begin adding products related to the original line. Continue to test and see which niche is showing the most promising results.

Once you begin to gain traction and discover the niche category that works for your store, you can expand on that particular collection and eventually break into that niche completely.

Backtracking to myth #1, you may still not have a devoted passion for this particular niche, but you do have a greater understanding of the market demands to continue running a prosperous store.

Your journey doesn’t end here. Just because you’re beating your monthly revenue goals does not mean that product testing and research should stop, you must continually phase products in and out to advance your successes.

Now that we have determined your course of action and finally resolved the ongoing question of “niche or general?”, go out there and create your store with the assistance of Cookie.io and SMAR7 Express and come back here for more resolutions to your e-commerce woes.

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37 thoughts on “Making the Decision – Niche vs. General Store

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37 Responses

Jack

November 9, 20182:45 pm

Great article, this info has really given me confidence in continuing my general store.

Vinod Sharma

November 9, 20183:49 pm

Exactly what I needed.
Love SMAR7 Aps !

harout

November 11, 20183:39 pm

I’m a little confused looking for the cookie app on Facebook, can you guys post a link to it or let me know what exactly to search for? thank you

Alexander Asante

November 13, 20181:14 am

Great article, Patricia and I love it to the top. Looks like in order to succeed in this e-commerce business, one have to do a whole heck of work but the consolation is what my main man Devin has put together to make it a walk in the park. Devin, you absolutely rock. Hey I’ve almost purchased everything you put out there in this article and can’t wait to pick your brains in the path of success. I’m yet to launch my store, still going through the modules and just finished Build Week. Can I apply all these tricks while going through the modules or I have to finish first?

Thanks a million Patricia and Professor Devin.

    Patricia Protopapadakis

    November 13, 20189:42 am

    Hey Alexander!

    You are awesome, we are thrilled to have you apart of the SMAR7 Family! You can totally apply as you go 🙂 We are excited to see your successes to come!

Oneil

November 13, 201811:02 am

Great informative post patricia..i spared my time and energy on “learning” instead of >(getting lost in Ali Express’s sauce)…I’m greatful to be here studying with you guys…

Louis Montecalvo

November 13, 201812:12 pm

Just read your article still in first faze of building my business but can not wait to start using your formula ,

Charlotte Ropati

November 13, 20187:35 pm

I started through the cookie.io and when watching your webinar it seemed very easy just lost but going to signup for my 14 day shopify trial to get started and will research with the tools provided.

Devin your story is mine and I want to succeed and pay for my ‘shiny objects’ plus more LOL. 🙂 Thank you

Djed

November 15, 20182:49 am

Very good article , definitely reveal the truth about starting with general or niche store , and go even further by giving tools fr products research a.d high performing ads on fb , as suggestions we would like to know how to generate free sales on Instagram and other social media platforms , a blog on this one this topic will greater , thanks in advance Smart7 Apps

    Patricia Protopapadakis

    November 15, 201810:28 am

    Hey Djed!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! I am ALWAYS open to suggestions, I will definitely keep that one in mind 🙂

Chara

December 19, 20182:05 am

hi! this is a wonderful website and i constantly take pleasure in the information posted here. Bookmarked and shared. Thanks once more!

http://www.google.com

Ankit

December 24, 20184:41 am

Hey, Hi
I am from India. I would like to know do you have any special advice or suggestions for dropshippers based out of India. It’s still early for Indians to accept dropshipping, but we are trying out.

    Devin Zander

    December 27, 20185:20 pm

    I think it’s possible to do from anywhere, sadly since I’m not familiar with any laws or regulations there I can’t be of much help

Rukon

December 30, 20186:38 pm

The next question I have: 2) I have just bought the action map for FB ads and again Devin suggests view content initially etc but Devin has told me recently that now the objective should be Purchase, you can probably understand that I am a little concerned about purchasing training material that is out of date as I am very eager to learn the current method and it causes me uncertainty as to how many other training materials I may purchase which are also obsolete. I would love for the training that I am receiving to be current methods especially on FB ads as this is precisely where I am short on knowledge. Final question; the video Devin presents on the cookies site suggests that you will get smar7 express alongside the cookies app if you were to purchase the cookies app.

Rukon

December 30, 20186:45 pm

I am not sure where my first questions went as it came as a pop up at the bottom. The question was how do I navigate this site https://myip.ms/browse/ to specify Shopify stores. also, I am not receiving my free 20 popular niches, I have provided my email address a fair few times already. By the way, I really enjoyed your article.

Bethany Chos

January 10, 20198:16 am

Thanks Devin and Patricia! Great info which I am going to check out now! I have been trying ecom for several months now, with no success. I did have my first sale on a free just pay shipping product in Dec. I have two niche stores and now thinking of going general with the next. Tired of the tedious product research only to find products that are not really in my niche. Not a techie is my worst deficit. Yours, Bethany

scott bradley

March 16, 20197:59 pm

Great info – well written. This is super fun – thanks for your great guidance!

Abraham

March 31, 20194:29 pm

Great Article. Cheers Guys!
My few questions that you probably address in other blog posts are more about the process. I would be glad to read such posts if you do have and can send me the link to them.
First, how do you handle the competition from the Ali express suppliers that ship to the customers on your behalf? Do you have to beg them for respecting your business by not putting price tags and ads in the package? And how do you get certain that they respect it?
Second, why is the Ecom advice all about trending products? is it because we are small starting stores compared to big names like Walmart and others? Is there no way to sell good products without caring about them being trending?
Third, how can we be sure of the quality of products when we try to dropship from China through Smart Express? Do you have a kind of pre screening of suppliers. As a buyer myself, I prefer buying form walmart or other big names because of the easy (and sometimes free) return. If I become a store owner dropshipping from Ali Express, how do I handle customers returns (all the way back to China)?
I know I am literally asking for Golden knowledge by my questions. It may not be free to get answers. But it will be more than helpful.
Thanks.

    Patricia Protopapadakis

    April 1, 201911:46 am

    Hey Abraham, glad you liked the article!

    For your first question, all you have to do is simply leave a request in the note field while ordering the products on Ali Express requesting that no promotional material will be left in the packaging. Your suppliers will honor your wishes because the end goal is to continue doing business with you. They won’t compromise that.

    For your second question, it will be a lot harder to sell a product that isn’t currently trending, it’s not going to fulfill that impulsive buy that most shoppers are out for. However, if there is a market for the product and it solves a pain point that will stoke that impulse purchase, then, by all means, you should test it out.

    As far as quality, there are ratings that you measure by such as supplier feedback, you don’t want to go with a supplier rating less than 90% and avoid any products that have less than 4.0 on feedback. You also want to go with suppliers that have been distributing for at least a year. In the ‘find products’ section of SMART Express you can filter the number of orders for a particular product, you want to look for items that have around 200-1000 orders (this will be variable depending on the product) but generally, the more orders a product has the more it tells you about the quality of the product and the fact that it is in high demand.

    And for the returns, suppliers will replace damaged items for free, but if a customer changes their mind on the purchase or wants to return it for any reason, you have to create your own policy but in those cases, you will usually have to pay for that product at cost.

    Hope this helped and if you have any further questions I’d be happy to clarify!

Larry Tangemann

April 1, 201910:45 pm

I normally don’t read the bottom comments but i’m glad i did this time. I lot of info shown down here.
My questions is, I just started and would like to know when i can get started? Can I start now or do i have to wait until the course ends, to begin?

    Patricia Protopapadakis

    April 3, 20192:16 pm

    Hey Larry!

    If you are referring to the HCOM course, it’s set up as a learn and earn situation. I believe after going through week 5 you should be able to start running ads to your store 🙂

kenneth bucchi

April 9, 20191:06 am

Thanks for everything, I am determined to achieve success with your program/s. I have not added everything yet because we had a major upset in family, hopefully it’s over and I can get back on it. I have a question though, I have tried to access the pdf for the 20 niches several times and nothing has ever been sent to me accept an email asking if I want help with finding profitable products and talking about cookie. Is this what is supposed to apear ? In your videos you talk about the list of 20 niches and I have never seen or been able to find it yet. Could you help me by commenting here or email me at my email address please. Thx so Much Kenny

David Caudill

April 12, 201910:27 am

Hello Patricia, I have to say that this is quite an impressive article and the tools seem to be a truly great asset and I do have a few questions for you and the pretty darn amazing Devon Zanders. (Which is how I come to read your article here.

Thanks, Devon and see I do read your emails. LOL)

Since this is my first time commenting here I feel I should tell a little about myself before I start bombarding you with questions. I have been doing affiliate marketing with some success since 2011 and have been hearing about Shopify for about the past year or so but have actually taken notice of the success boom in the last 6 months and instead of being the ‘professional procrastinator’ that has seemed to make me the last to jump on board of what’s actually making money online I am taking the first serious steps into starting a Shopify store.

So my first question is, how do I get started with a great team like Smart7Apps and what is the cost?

#2: I am retired and on a fixed income is it possible for me to get started with a Shopify store without losing my house?

#3: I do still have my side gigs which is my digital product review Blog and two Youtube channels and I already have ad accounts with Facebook, Bing, and of course the big G. (Google) are these an asset or a hindrance?

I hope I’m on the right track here but the key to it all is, that I am retired so I have time to spare but not a lot of cash. I have a wife, four Boxers (that are our children/baby’s) and 13 grandchildren that we just can’t seem to stop spoiling but in order to spoil them properly and leave something for our 6 kids ( the original Brady Bunch here 3 girls, 3 boys) I want to do the Shopify set-up right, and grow it into a nice online business and use it to generate a comfortable income.

I look forward to your response and let Devon Zanders know that I say “he ROCKS!!!”
Thank you for everything and “to your success, we wish the very best!”

Have the day that you deserve,
David Caudill

    Patricia Protopapadakis

    April 15, 201910:24 am

    Hi David! Very excited for you and your new business pursuit. SMART Apps only creates apps to help facilitate your sales and business growth – so you can find our apps within the app store and at cookie.io.

    I have also created an article on how to start a store on a budget – so feel free to check that out 🙂
    https://smar7apps.com/blog/shopify-store-on-a-budget/

    Wish you all the best!

Charles E Lunsford

April 14, 20191:08 pm

I just signed up and want to repeat a question asked earlier. What do I do first? I did not join H-COM for the simple reason it’s a bit too high for my budget at the moment. In the Intro video Devin goes over from scratch how to get started,

Are the steps contained in Drip Apps? I signed up and am wondering.

Larry Angel Torres

April 17, 201910:33 am

Thank you