General Store Vs Niche Store: Which Should You do? (2021)
Find out whether General Store is better than Niche Store or not Below!
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One of the most common questions for new dropshippers is what they should choose between niche and general stores. It’s not a light topic, either, since it can make or break your store.
Today, we’ll answer just that. Let’s take a look at the 2 types and what they are and learn which is the best option for you.
Since most gurus recommend general stores, newcomers are likely to go with this choice. The name is quite self-explanatory: they’re stores covering different niches, staying way from a single focus.
Most dropshipping stores will look like a less organized Amazon or Walmart, and this is unfortunate for many entrepreneurs. On the other hand, these stores offer a window towards a larger audience for your targets.
Again, most stores have a name that’s too generic, and they often don’t bother working on their brand. You’ll likely see store names that don’t offer any suggestion regarding what you can find on these stores, and you’ll prone to find random products scattered on the catalogs.
Pros of general stores
While most gurus tell you to start a general store without really knowing why for themselves, there is a reason why it became so popular. There are legitimate reasons, and several will make sense to both you and me.
However, most of the time, it’s the result of gurus not planning their businesses ahead of time.
Among the pros of opening a general store, we have:
You’re not resting your success on a single option
You get to play with a huge product variety. This means you have a lot of chances to play with different types of ads for each product, making it easier to discover an approach that hits your target audience.
You can compare it to keeping your eggs in different baskets: if one falls, you won’t lose everything.
You’re independent from niches
You’re not under the obligation of sticking to a single niche. Related to the previous pro, you have more room to experiment and find the product(s) that will bring you success.
You can have kitchen tools, toys, phone accessories, and even makeup items all sitting on a single store, and you don’t have to worry about going with a specific theme for your business and products that fit with each other.
More freedom in marketing
Again, this advantage is mostly an extension of the previous ones.
General stores are easier for your marketing process since the huge range of items you’re offering lets you market each one differently and to a different audience.
You can run different approaches depending on the products and the audience you want to reach. If your store covers a dozen niches, then you can run a dozen different adverts and increase your odds of earning customers.
Cons of general stores
Unfortunately, there are also several valid reasons for why experts recommend you go for niches instead of general stores. So let’s see the downsides of general stores:
Lack of structure
We sort of mentioned this already: lack of organization. Sadly, the same quality that makes general stores a good idea also makes them a lot more difficult to set up for your users to navigate seamlessly.
If you have hundreds of unrelated items, then organizing them in categories will be a nightmare; the result is making your customers feel lost looking for what they need.
This is more than just offering toys and electronics together. I’ve found paint brushes right next to an egg separator.
Do note that this isn’t always the case, and there are general stores that hit the nail in the head in this regard. What I mean is that it’s much harder to make your general store look good, and even some of the best-performing stores fall for this.
Cross and upsells are harder
Like with the advantages, this is a consequence of the lack of structure in your website, and it’s another big hit for your profitability.
A good strategy to increase the average value for your orders, you can offer your customers different items that work as complements to the main product; this can also help you with cart abandonment.
For instance, if you sell a cellphone case, you could also offer them a pair of earphones for a lower price or even a sturdier case. That’s something that you probably can’t do if you’re selling different items with no relation between them.
Pixel optimization takes long
OK, I’ll admit this needs to be thoroughly verified, mostly because of how Facebook enjoys to keep obscured the pixels’ functionality and how they can actually help you build data. However, many dropshippers have noted that both ads and pixels take longer to optimize when running general stores; it’s likely to be caused by the constantly changing audiences, demographics, and interests.
If you’re using a single site with a niche, your audience, along with demographics and interests, will (almost) surely remain similar. This isn’t the case for general stores, and it gets worse if you’re testing your ads and products.
Let’s say you use the $5 per day approach. You do it with a product, and you realize it’s not a profitable choice. The result is switching to a new item and changing the audience completely. You’ll repeat the method, but you want to have the pixel with the info on your first audience.
Are you looking to find and deliver stuff that only a few people need – but there is a good demand for it? The other side of dropshipping focus is niches: this is a more popular approach when going for more legitimate gurus, like Franklin Hatchett. Of course, this also requires lots of knowledge and training.
From a general perspective (see what I did there?), a niche store is a venture focused solely items closely related to one another. An example would be a sportswear store or a store focused on gaming accessories.
With these stores, it’s much more likely to find specific domain names following a theme, like WearingTheSport. You’ll also find more work on branding here, with domain names like LucysKitchenTools.
Pros of niche stores
Niche stores take more time to set up, and it’s common knowledge that you need to plan carefully; that’s why many gurus steer clear from them. However, if you take your time to plan your business, study, and train yourself properly, you’ll find better success than with general stores.
Since they’re almost opposites, you can expect that the pros here will be the opposite of the cons for general stores. So, let’s see how that works:
Niche stores, unlike their general counterparts, often follow a noticeable structure. That’s made a lot easier since you’re focusing on items within certain categories, and this makes the venture easier to navigate for your visitors.
For example, if you sell phone accessories, you can focus on cases, earphones, headphones, selfie sticks, camera lenses, chargers, etc. As you can see, setting up your categories is also a lot easier.
Easy cross and upsells
This is yet another consequence of focusing your store on items that are either similar or complementing between each other. It makes it easier to increase your average order value.
As already mentioned, if you’re selling a phone case, you can upsell your clients to a better-quality and more expensive item to increase your profits from the cart. On the other hand, you can also sell other items to complement your case, like selfie sticks.
Faster pixel and ad optimization
Again, the entire pixel topic isn’t the absolute truth, but it’s popular belief. I’ll restate that Facebook isn’t a fan of confirming particular questions, yet we’re talking about information pointed out and brought up by many entrepreneurs on the internet, so there’s something going on.
When it comes to running your ads, you’re have more chances of optimizing them faster if you don’t mess with your metrics like audiences, demographics and interests.
Changing these can make things more confusing, and Facebook will have to run new searches on people interested in the new item you’re offering instead of the old one. Luckily, when all the items you sell are closely related, the audiences for your different products will share several metrics.
To illustrate, it’s easier to find similarities between people buying kitchen knives and cloths than between people buying makeup and action figures.
Cons of niche stores
Of course, every day has night, and as there are pros for niche stores, there are also cons. As with the pros, you’ll probably find that they’re almost opposite to the advantages of general stores:
Dependent of niches
If you want to go for a niche store, you want to really get into the mindset. You want to look for domain names that fit your niche and develop a brand around it. It means setting more money aside for your logo, image, and social media presence.
Furthermore, if you fail to find success with your niche, then it’ll be much more difficult to make the switch to a new idea. If you start a general store, you can niche down after you find a winner, but you need to commit a lot just to start a niche store.
Failure is more difficult
As a direct consequence of the previous problem, if you do fail to profit from your niche, you’ll have to do a complete overhaul on your business. You might even want to switch towards a general venture.
Depending on your site platform, this might be harder or easier. Shopify lets you simply update your URL/domain and swap your products. However, WordPress solutions will have you creating an entire new domain and installing everything from scratch.
Solutions to possible issues
The best way to keep niche-related problems at bay is to plan your venture properly. You’re starting a very real business with dropshipping; it’s not a quick buck.
Saving money on inventory is good because you can invest more in education, training, and marketing. It also means more time for research and planning. If rush things and find that your tests aren’t yielding good products, you’ll reduce your savings quickly.
Take things patiently: research the niches that interest you, choose your products, and build your store with enough time.
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