Podcast Episode 4: General Store vs. One Product Store


EPISODE SUMMARY: A commonly asked question is should you as a Dropshipper start off with a GENERAL STORE or a ONE PRODUCT STORE? In this episode, we’re going to cover exactly what type of store you should start off with first, why one works better than the other, and what to do as you build out your brand.

Jaiden: Alright, welcome back guys to another episode here at the launchers Academy podcast. So today, we have actually an exciting episode for you to listen to, especially if you’re new into dropshipping or you’ve been researching forever and you really lost. And more importantly, even for those that have been dropshipping have a few stores, this is really gonna help really identify and even clarify what you need to do, because a lot of people that are struggling with job shipping, never really realize the important steps of just doing things right off the bat.

So the topic for today is actually General Store versus one product store. So on the topic of general store versus one product stores or niche stores, we’re gonna tell you exactly what you need to do what you should be doing when you first start off. So I’m gonna pass it to Melissa and Christy, when it comes to, you know, starting their first stores, should someone do a general store or a niche store and why the other as opposed to you know, the other one?

Yeah, so maybe I’ll start off here. Before we really dive into Part One product versus general store, let’s define what a general store versus a one-product store actually is.

So in a general store, essentially what you’re selling in your store, you’re selling anything and everything related to many different niches. So that can be you know, beauty products, fitness products, outdoor experience products, and so on. So think of it like a Walmart or a department store.

And then when you’re talking about a one-product store, that’s when you’re focusing only on one product exactly as it sounds are focusing on a very specific niche. So you’re selling mosquito lamp killer, for example, or an LED dog collar and is just selling one product.

So what we generally say is, we always want to start off with a general store, because that’s essentially your testing playground in terms of determining what exactly is going to sell. And if you’re actually going to get sales on your product first. And from there, that’s when you want to start focusing on changing that general store into a one-product store later on, once you’ve actually validated your product that you’re selling and that you are getting sales for the actual product. And Christy, why don’t you add something as well?

Yeah, a lot of new dropshippers when they find a product that they really like, their first thing that comes to their mind is you know, starting a one-product store. And that’s really limiting in terms of, first of all, you don’t know if that product is going to do well. And then you’re putting in all your time and your money and effort into putting together this one product store that might end up you know, being a losing product.

So, you know, starting with the general store first, that’s where you can, as Melissa mentioned, use it as a testing playground to test out many different products and niches, and then you can find your winner and that’s when you start focusing more on a one-product store and putting together you know the website the branding around it, putting together your brand story as well and then scaling it even further. And that’s where you really want to start off with a general store first and test out all these different products.

Now with the general store, the focus is more on the individual product pages so you don’t really have to spend too much time for your you know, your homepage and everything and it’s more focused on the product landing pages that you’ll be directing your ads to so it’s definitely is more flexible in terms of testing out different products and then you can really focus and find your winning product before you move it into a one product niche store.

I love that so you heard it from the ladies right so the general store is where you want to start off with but for those you know, you heard a lot of benefits as to as opposed to why you should start a general store first, and not a one-product or a niche store. But for those that have started a one-product store or a niche store, I mean it’s not too late for you to correct what you’re wrong. But you know for those that are really adamant about starting a one-product or niche store, what are some cons is someone that is already going that route and wants to stay that route as opposed to you know, a general store.

So what are your thoughts there, Melissa and Christy for someone that you know, let’s just say they’re a little confused as you know, I already started one product store what am I just do that but what are some kind of downsides for someone like that if they’re gonna continue that path?

Yeah, so if you already are starting a one-product store, a very specific niche store, you’re really kind of pigeonholing yourself into a specific niche. And what we say you know, as marketers here is you don’t choose the niche, the market should be choosing you. And it depends on what is actually selling, and everything before you actually hone down and dive into your actual one product store. So the market is the one that is choosing what you should be selling based on customer demand and customer sales.

So the point of you starting off from what you think, is a good product, or what you think is a good niche to get into, once you start pigeonholing yourself down there, you’re, you’re gonna realize you’re going to spend a lot more money advertising and trying to get sales, especially if your product is not something that actually sells or customers are actually demanding, then that’s when you’re going to waste a lot of money. And you won’t realize this until you actually throw in a lot of money into ad spend. And realize at the end of the day, your product is not a good product, or it’s a product that is not getting consistent sales. But you put in all the effort and all that hard work of building in your store, putting in all the effort of creating all the ad creatives and everything till at the end of the day, you’re kind of back at zero, almost.

You know, we at Launchers Academy, we always teach our students to start with a general store, because that is the best strategy and you know, getting into dropshipping and being successful in the long run. Because you really definitely want to focus your time and money on testing a product to find the winner before you move into a one-product store. And yeah, that’s exactly what we teach our students as well. And definitely recommend starting off with a general store instead.

I love that. And the point I’ll bring up here is for those you know, you listening, if you have started a one-product store in a niche store, I would advise, you know, with the ladies as well here that you should really stop because the one biggest downside for you to start one-product or in a niche store is kind of going back to what Melissa was saying is like, yeah, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But when it doesn’t work out, and if it does work out, awesome. But if it doesn’t work out, it’s just gonna be very time-consuming for you.

Because imagine the process that you’re taking right now. You find a product, whatever niche is in, you build your entire website around it, you do the copy, you do the imaging, you do the layout to it, if it doesn’t work out, well, what are you gonna do, you’re gonna repeat the same process. So that means you’re going to have to break it down, then put another product on there a different niche, a different copy, and you repeat the same process.

And honestly, that’s very time-consuming. And whether or not you outsource this to some developer, that’s, that’s great. But that’s more money, that’s more time. And if you’re doing this yourself, I mean, that’s a nightmare, the benefit of a general store going back to it is really, you know, you’re able to just build one store. And then you have that one store be very generic, right, so let’s just say it’s going to be John abc.com. And that is just going to be pretty much a whole bunch of different products that you’re going to house and different niches. And then you can sell a whole bunch of them. But here’s the beauty of the general stores. Because if you didn’t realize you can have multiple different landing pages, you know, pages within your store.

So if you’re testing multiple different products, it doesn’t work out, you really don’t have to break it down, you could just leave that page there or remove it entirely. But you don’t have to kind of rebuild the whole thing, you just build multiple different pages. And that’s a lot easier. So really, that’s the huge benefit to doing a general store as opposed to one niche store.

But, you know, let’s walk through the journey of a general store. So let’s just say, you know, we have someone here, you listening, let’s talk to you. So you’re going the route of the general store. Okay. And your goal right now is to turn into a testing playground, as Melissa mentioned, and really just have that be your home base for you to find that winner.

Now let’s talk about exactly what are the next steps if someone does find that winner. And you know, based on the fact that they started general stores. So Melissa, Christy so you know, if you guys can share your viewpoint, what does someone do after they have this general store, and then they find that winner? What were the next steps that they have to take away?

The way that we like to think about dropshipping is broken really down into two phases. So the first phase is the general store phase. That is where you’re really testing all of the different products and finding what actually works and what is a winning product.

Once you actually find a winning product. That’s when you go into phase two, which is starting with the branding and moving into a one product store, changing the Shopify store that you already have into that one product store. And the reason why you want to change it from that general store that you already have, rather than recreating an entirely new Shopify store is that you have a lot of data in the store ready. If you were to recreate that store, you’re starting from scratch was absolutely zero data. So you don’t want to do that.

So moving that General Store rebranding your actual general store into your one product store and changing the domain name that’s kind of important to or something that’s very important as well changing it into a brand. And then from there you’re you know, now you’re building a long-term business rather than focusing on a pure dropshipping general store business. And Christy can add a lot more on the branding aspect as well.

Yeah, because so because you’re already found your winning product, that’s when you can, you know, start turning that store as Melissa mentioned into that one product store, I’m focusing more on highlighting your product benefits, using the same colors as your winning products. For example, if it’s pink, you can use pink throughout your website as well and through your buttons and your logo.

And then also kind of shaping the branding, you want to focus on for that particular product that would appeal to your target market. And then also focusing more on refining the copy further so that you can really put the whole website together that reflects your winning product.

And then also, you know, in terms of your landing pages, you can add a lot more to it than just with your general store. Because now you have this product that you can really focus on your all your effort into it, you can take new photos with your product, you can make it look a lot more appealing, you can have people your target market within your photos as well. And there’s a lot you can do. You can also collect more reviews to really enhance the product, product quality to your audience.

So there’s a lot you can do when, after you, you know, find your winning product, and you put together a one product store. And then you can also start growing your social media as well and building a community around your brand and your products. So there’s a lot more you can do. And as you can see, you definitely want to find that winning product because there’s just you can invest so much time and money into it afterward.

I love that. And Melissa brought up something great, oh if you didn’t catch it is that she was talking about data and pixels. So we’ll kind of dive heavy more into you know which advertising platform you should choose and why. But when you are running your store your advertising, so you collect data, right, you’re building your ideal audience, and for your store to collect all that data. And when you do that, find that winner, it’s about really turning your story into that, you know, a specific store like Melissa and Christy brought up his branding, and really adding, you know, store names, you know, catered specifically to that nation to that product.

But the data was really important is because as you’re testing your initial data doesn’t matter. So much it’s optimizing to really find that ideal buyer. And if you find that winning product, that data that you’ve already collected initially, to find that winning product could be super important.

So that’s why you kind of want to have a general store first, then you would do one product store because that one product store is going to be catered towards that specific data is already built. And that’s all really the benefits of having a general store and really being able to kind of test as many products as you can and really find that winner.

But another thing I kind of want to bring up as well is really the journey for you as a dropshipper, especially when it comes to the store aspect of it is to really be able to just be super general, you know, going back to is super general. But then your journey as a drop shipper is to find multiple different brands and create multiple different brands, you know, off of a winner. So, in a nutshell, really, you’re going to have this general store forever, as a testing playground. So you can keep testing products, then you’re also going to have multiple different other brands with multiple different stores.

So this general store is always going to be there and you should always have one in the back end. But the one, let’s just say you find a winner, that’s just going to be another store for you as an aspect. So you do have two ways of playing with it is you can just focus on one store on that winning product. Or you can have a general store with that winning product. And you can keep testing and testing to find more winners because the goal is to pretty much turn dropshipper into a brand owner, and also have that winner kind of pretty much be accumulating more data and also kind of, you know, making more money for you.

So that’s pretty much kind of the journey for you as a drop shipper. And you know what, why and what you should do when it comes to, you know, opening up your store.

But let’s take this back here, we’ve been talking with all the pros and cons here. The one topic I do want to focus on as you are listening, this is going to be super foreign, important for you to know, especially if you’re new, especially you’ve been researching forever, especially even more importantly, you’ve been doing it see no results and you’re so frustrated.

I want to kind of talk about like, you know, the top three mistakes a lot of dropshippers make when it comes to creating their store. So, Melissa, what’s one mistake that you see a lot of dropshippers make when it comes to creating their generals or even one-product stores?

Yeah, I think the biggest mistake is there are a lot of different apps out there that you can add to your store. And one of the biggest mistakes that we see is people trying to add too many apps at once into this store and trying to you know, increase the order average order value or try to increase conversion with these different apps.

But what they don’t actually realize is that even if you remove the apps later on, it leaves a lot of breadcrumbs. And what that means it essentially is going to slow down your website loading speed. And the moment that your website loading speed is slowed down. ie it takes longer than 30 seconds to actually load for the customer, that’s when you’re going to see a lot higher bounce rate, meaning customers are going to go on, you see, it’s loading. And they’re just going to leave because essentially, that is a poor customer experience.

Anything and everything that you’re doing that are displayed to the customer, you have to think about the customer experience in totality. And the moment that it is, you know, a poor experience for them, they’re gonna leave right away.

Yeah, I love that. So, apps, you know, not having a lot of apps of being very clear, keep it simple, stupid with your apps. Because it’s gonna, you know, slow down your speed. So I love that. What’s another top mistake that we see, you know, newcomers in dropshipping make when it comes to creating their store there, Christy?

Yeah, I would definitely say number one is not optimizing for mobile. So also what Melissa mentioned about you know, in terms of loading speed, it really matters, especially on mobile, since a lot of people are shopping on mobile now. So you really want to make sure your website loads within three seconds, so that when people go on it, they see all the images loaded, they see all the content, and they’re ready to look through it.

And another tip I would add to that is also making sure that your product descriptions are not too long, because people aren’t going to scroll through everything. And you want to make sure that the copy is really easy to digest, there’s a lot of good spacing, and a lot of good images GIFs in between, as well as making sure that you also add in a sticky add to cart bar, because that really helps when people are scrolling through the content. And they want to add to cart, and it’s right there on the screen. So it really helps increase conversions through that.

Another mistake that I’ve noticed a lot of new dropshippers make is the quality of their content is really low. So sometimes you’re using blurry images, or their product copy has a lot of grammar mistakes. And that really subtracts from the credibility of your brand, which you know, people when they go on to your store, they want to make sure that they’re buying from someone they know, like, and trust. So you really want to make sure that you present your brand and your store as credible as possible. So having really high-quality images, having a lot of great copy that really highlights key benefits of the product, and making sure that there aren’t a lot of grammar mistakes, because you definitely want to present yourself in a way that really attracts people to buy your products.

I love that. I mean I asked Christy for one, she gave you three. So that’s awesome.

My quick insight on this as well, the biggest mistake I see a lot of dropshippers make when it comes to creating their store is spacing. Spacing is really important. Because everything is very visual for people when they buy things. So if you have a store, specifically your landing page and a landing page is pretty much where people would kind of click on to latch on to get an overview of your product, right? So if your page is not aesthetically visually appealing for them to kind of look at it’s going to really detour them to kind of click off, it’s going to give them that feeling that it’s too much.

And what I mean by that is the spacing is very critical to kind of really have everything kind of spaced out accordingly correctly. And it aligns and looks really well. Because we look at things visually, we want to be able to kind of have, you know, a sense of simplicity, when we look at things and the best way I can put it is if you ever kind of like went on like an advertising platform, whether it’s like Facebook, or something was just great example, you’ll see some advertisements.

And the first thing you’re going to see is like a paragraph, you know what we called copy, where it’s pretty much the languaging, someone will put to pretty much kind of give you an idea of exactly what they’re going to advertise to you. Or they’re going to try to point out like problem or something and you read it. And there are two types of copy here. There’s the one where it’s bunched up like a bunch of paragraphs. And then there’s one where it’s breaking down sentence by sentence and by sentence. And then most people will click to the copy there when you’re being advertised on the one with the, you know, long, long-form type of texting. And it’s broken down by sentence by sentence, as opposed to the really short one. But there’s a whole bunch of sentences grouped up together in paragraphs. And the reason why you would rather look at that is because it’s visually appealing, it gives your eye a break. So you don’t have to consciously look at a big paragraph.

And you know, subconsciously people prefer to read something like that because it doesn’t look to match up it doesn’t look too heavy. Because if you don’t know a lot of us when we are looking at things we’re actually burning like mental calories, and the fewer calories we have to burn the less we have to activate our minds. That’s going to be the difference whether or not we’re going to continue to keep going through this journey or we’re going to click off because visually if it doesn’t look like we were it visually if it doesn’t look pleasing we won’t want to click onto it.

So what I see a lot of people do when it comes to, you know, building out their product description copy for their landing pages. They have everything mashed up their images paragraph, the gifts even, or you know, their bonds and everything just looks like someone just pretty much took a piece of paper and just crumple it up together and smashed it together that’s like it’s not visually appealing. So what I would caution everyone is really pay attention to the importance of spacing because if it doesn’t look visually appealing for you, when you look at a mobile especially, it probably chances are 100% of the time, it’s not going to look visually appealing to someone else, and to click on to it. So if you see a lot of add to cart, you see a lot of link clicks, but no one actually purchasing, that’s probably going to be a good, big contributing factor as to why.

So those are the, you know, some of the mistakes there. And I kinda want to wrap up and pretty much kind of give us you know, giving you there, the listener one tip from each of us that you can take away amongst all the amazing little nuggets that you can take away today. But really focusing more on what you know, a lot of great dropshippers are doing, and in terms of building their store. So I’m gonna let Melissa kind of give one tip here that we see a lot of great dropshippers doing also what we do for our stores that are been working very well. So what’s one thing that you notice?

I would say? Well, you know, kind of going back to the conversation we had just now if you notice me, Christy, and Jaiden, we all talked about different aspects of customer experience, making sure that you have a good customer experience. So putting on basically your customer thinking cap and thinking of the perspective of being in the customers in place and seeing all your landing pages, ad creatives, all the apps that you use even from that perspective and seeing if you’re actually enjoying the shopping experience.

So the biggest tip here that I would really say is putting yourself in your customer’s shoe, going through the entire you know, landing page checkout experience, add to cart experience yourself and see if you are enjoying this experience as a potential customer yourself. And from there, you’ll be able to edit things and update things so that you’re able to make a good experience for your customers.

Awesome. I love that and Christy what’s you know, one big tip that you can throw that’s been working well for us and also the people that we work with?

I always talk about credibility, you know, when I’m teaching my students, our students about how to put together their general store. Credibility is so important because when people go onto your website, they want to know that this is something that they can trust as a brand, a company that they can buy from.

And you want to do that by making sure that first of all again, the quality of your content is really high. So having really proper grammar on your product descriptions, high-quality images, make also making sure that you have consistent branding throughout your website.

So having a logo, using the same colors throughout your website. And then also including all your different policies such as your return policies, shipping policies, terms and conditions, privacy policy, as all of that really adds to this whole package of having a really credible store. And people want to know and people do look at all of that, I would also add a lot of new dropshippers, they don’t really focus too much on customer reviews, which definitely adds to credibility as well. So making sure all your different products are having, you know, a lot of reviews because people do look at that when they’re making their purchase decision.

Awesome. I love it. So credibility, obviously, right, because regardless of as your storage is, in general, business practices is that you know, people only buy from those they know, like, and trust. And trust is super, super important.

So my tip is really decision fatigue. So a lot of poor dropshippers, when it comes to creating their store, is they give way too many options. It’s like walking to your nearest McDonald’s and they’re like, do you want the extra small, small, medium, small, medium, you know, medium size, large, extra-large or extra, extra-large coke. And then if someone was to ask you that, you’ll probably go like, Well, I mean, I don’t know what to pick, it’s just so many different options.

And a lot of dropshippers do that with their product for their landing page. So a great example is let’s just say you’re selling clothing for you know, and this piece of clothing, let’s just say it’s a t-shirt, you build your landing page. And here’s where the decision fatigue comes in.

In this t-shirt, you have seven different colors you have red, white, blue, green, grey, purple, etc. Okay. And on top of that, you have five more options here in terms of the sizing you have small, medium, extra-large, large, extra-large, four times large, etc. And on top of that, you also give someone the ability to customize their T shirt, whether it’s going to be a crew, neck, V neck, etc.

So when you look at a product like that or a page like that, you’re going to have a lot of drop-offs because people can spend more time burning calories to pick up the options as opposed to reading why they should buy this t-shirt in the first place. Because remember, we’re burning a lot of mental calories.

So the biggest mistake I see a lot of people do so in their stores is decision fatigue. So I call the rule of thirds. And if you want to really optimize better and convert better, you know, going back to one of my favorite acronyms is KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

So you want to make it as clear and simple as possible with fewer decisions for someone to make. Because dropshipping is completely impulse buying people, you only have a matter of seconds or even a matter of short minutes to get someone to buy. So when you have them more fixated on the different options to pick for a product, that’s where you’re going to lose. So the rule of thirds is basically you give someone three different options for whatever, you know, types of styles and you know, types of sizes. So really, the rule of thirds is going to help you out if you are selling a t-shirt, just pick the three most popular.

So as opposed to having eight different colors, let’s just say you’re talking to your supplier would pay you huge dividends. So really just ask your supplier, hey, look, what are the three most popular colors, and they’ll let you know. And then you would just pick those three, whether it’s black, white, or blue.

And then on your sizes, right, obviously, you want to give more sizes. So you want to five sizes max, pretty much the most straightforward, universal sizes, there’ll be, you know, your small, medium, large, extra large and two times large, you know, just to kind of have the broad people that want a t-shirt, but the fewer options you give someone the faster decisions be able to be made. So that’s my little quick tip here. Follow the rule of thirds.

And if you can follow the rule of thirds, that’s where you can convert better. So that’s our tips, you know, pros and cons for you to start a general store as opposed to a one-product store or a niche store. And also, more importantly, certain things to help improve your conversions. Things you should stay away from are things you should really keep mindful of and more important things you should be doing.

So we hope you enjoy this episode. And tune in to our next one is a lot more fire stuff going. But if you did enjoy this episode, will love it for you to just drop your comments and we’ll love to answer it in regards to you know, building out your store. But other than that, until next time, guys, keep up the hustle.

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