Last Updated on January 19, 2021
To Start Dropshipping Business How Many Products Do You Want?
This is one of the most popular questions new dropshippers ask, and it continues to be one they are fascinated with, even after they have received an answer. And that’s because the answer isn’t very satisfying. People want exact numbers. They want a scientific formula that they can simply apply and succeed with. But this is not how dropshipping functions. So what’s the answer?
There is no magic number of products. You can build a very successful store using only one product. Or just a handful of goods. Or hundreds. It depends on the store you’re setting up, how you market your products, the kinds of customers you’re targeting, how related the products are, whether you’re focusing on a specific niche or putting together more of a widespread store, etc… A lot goes into the decision for product totals.
That said, some general guidelines are available that you can follow to get you started. Understand that these are not laws that are hard and easy. This is not a collection of rules to be “do this every time.” As you gain experience and discover the kinds of stores that work for you, you’ll learn your own “rules.” There are beginnings. But they can be sufficient to get you moving in the right direction.
What kind of store do you start?
That is the first question that you will have to ask yourself. Would you like to start a general store, selling lots of different, unconnected items, or would you like to focus on a particular niche? You would probably need more items in your store for the former one because your lack of focus needs more products to make your store feel full. If you’ve only sold headphones, you could get away with a smaller number of products. With a general store where you’re selling headphones, phone accessories, caps, and more, you’ll need representative goods for all those categories.
As we have alluded to, you can start with two overarching types of stores. A general store, featuring lots of different products in many different categories, or a niche store, focusing on some narrow product range that has something particular in common.
Of the two, it’s easier to succeed with specialty stores, but they need more thought and planning. We will discuss each of these in more specific terms and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.
Launching a general store
General stores are relatively easy to set up than niche stores because you don’t have to put much thought into the products you carry. (Though if you do, you’re more likely to be successful, since throwing any old products into a store and expecting them to sell is shortsighted). But even if you take the time to search for proper conversion levels considered being successful. What you don’t have to do with a general store is to try to tie every product together with a theme. This makes it easier to set up general stores, even if you generally have to add more products.
How many? It’s a good start for a general store somewhere between 30 and 50. Less than 30, and in the eyes of potential customers, the store will lack credibility. Imagine if you walked into a convenience store, and they had one rack with ten items in the middle of the store, and the rest of the store was vacant. You’d probably go somewhere else, shopping. It wouldn’t feel really like a store.
You need to make sure you have enough items with a general store to give your shop an authentic feel. Over time, you can and should add more products, but 30 to 50 is a good start. Giving legitimacy to your shop is enough, but not too many to make setup take too long.
Remember, the main thing that you should worry about when you start a new dropshipping store is to get it off the ground quickly so you can start marketing and generate revenue. Before launching, you do not need to get every detail perfect. Once your doors are open, and customers visit, you will have time to perfect things.
- You can get one set up quickly without having to think about themes, finding lucrative niches, or doing any brand building.
- General stores provide you with a wide range of products to sell your ads. Depending on the time of year, you can alter your marketing to focus on your store’s different segments, pushing the products relevant to the season, specific holidays, or other criteria. You aren’t hemmed into specific marketing strategies with a wide range of products.
- More significant numbers of products in a store mean more potential for add-on purchases, where a customer comes to your site to look at the product you’ve been advertising and then buy it, along with several other things.
- A wide range of products may appeal to a broader market segment. Niche shop has a narrower range of appeals. Your market is more significant than with a general store.
- General stores give sellers little space to build brands. If you are selling portable vacuum cleaners, headphones, and specialty hot sauces, it’s hard to imagine a single brand capable of encapsulating all those disparate products.
- General stores are more difficult to market since they have no central theme. With a store focused exclusively on pet products, one ad will capture the essence of everything you sell. Due to the disconnected nature of the products, that is not possible with a general store.
- The flipside to a broader market is a higher degree of market segmentation, which requires more marketing and advertising to find all of these.
Launching a niche store
Starting a niche store requires considerably more thought before hanging your sign “open for business.” You have to carefully think about what niche you want to concentrate on, and why. You need to work out the size of the potential market and be sure you don’t define your niche so narrowly that your customer pool is overly restricted.
Niche stores represent a balancing act. You want to target a particular product trend or consumer segment, but you want it to be large enough to appeal to as many people as possible who are interested in that niche. And you want to try and avoid highly crowded niches.
How many products should a niche shop need to start?
A good thumb rule is 5–20. Because of your specific focus, customers will understand a limited product selection more with a niche store than a general store. The fewer products you need to appear legitimate, the more hyper-focused you are. But some you like. If you sell headphones, you probably need about 15 to 20 different models to feel like you’ve covered the market adequately. However, you can get away with less for something more familiar, like noise-canceling headphones, simply because there’s less to choose from. In a niche store, you need just enough to appear legitimate to the average online consumer.
You want to try and get up and running as quickly as possible, just like with general stores. This can be difficult with a niche store, given the extra care that needs to be taken, but just get your filler items (the products you ‘re adding to your store legitimate, but you’re not actively promoting them) deployed and given basic descriptions. Most people will not look at them anyway, mainly looking at the product they visit based on your advertising. So later research on the minor details. Just gets the store looking good enough to support your marketing efforts appropriately.
Niche stores — Pros
- Niche stores give you far more flexibility to create a brand, and a following than general stores do. If you’re selling anything but mobile accessories, you can get a shop name that perfectly captures the essence of your product line and even brand your products with that name. Branded goods can start having legs beyond your own marketing efforts as satisfied customers spread your name through word of mouth. This means they have a better long term earning potential.
- Niche stores let you create a whole store around a particular product. Imagine you’ve found the perfect product through your study, something you knew you could market successfully, generate buzz around, and sell like crazy. You could then find half a dozen or so related products in a specialty store, and list them all together. There would be filler items simply to support the main product and periodically produce add-on sales. But because of the one commodity, there would be all the effort. General stores do not offer that advantage.
- Niche stores among people who identify with your niche can build a following. And since niche shoppers are often marked loyalists, they will return to your store for future purchases if your brand is good.
Niche stores — Cons
- Niche stores offer you less marketing opportunities due to the narrow product collection. As we have seen above, this can also be a blessing, but it needs to be adequately enforced.
- Niche stores can be wildly successful or huge flops, and this depends on the work you are putting in and the thought you are implementing when designing them. Customers who visit a niche store that doesn’t seem to hold together, where the products under the theme of the store don’t really feel appropriately unified, will likely bounce. Verify that you are doing your due diligence. In a small store, there is more risk but also the chance of greater reward.
Starting a single product store
This final type of store is similar to a specialty store in that it focuses on a particular category of products, but it is distinct in that it also focuses on one specific product in that category. It can be counterintuitive, but single product stores can be handy when produced and marketed correctly. They let you focus on one exceptional product and don’t have to cloud your message with other foreign offers.
As an example, in a single product store, any of the famous “As seen on TV,” products would be doing well. These products have been sold as wonders and miracles, the most significant thing that has ever been created. In these cases selling similar goods will only harm your post. If you’re selling the most excellent cleaning product ever, why would you also sell lesser quality cleaners? It makes it look like perhaps your product isn’t the greatest, or at least you’re not confident enough in your message to hang your store’s prospects on it.
So single product stores can be risky, but they can be massively successful for the right kind of product, adequately promoted.
How many dropshipping products should you start with?
Just few is enough to accomplish what you’re trying to achieve, that’s the best answer we can give. You want to get your store off the ground as quickly as possible. You don’t want to waste time adding hundreds of products, writing product descriptions for them, and sorting them into categories and locations that are correct.
Just get enough products to support your selected type of store and your end goals. Then, you may add more over time once you’re up and running.
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