General vs Niche Store Dropshipping: A Complete Breakdown
Nowadays, one of the most frequently asked questions among dropshippers is whether to start a general or a niche store?
A niche dropshipping store offers a higher conversion rate, while a general store provides more flexibility for beginners. If you have enough experience, then a niche store would be the better choice.
With that said, finding what works isn’t as black and white since the decision also depends on a variety of other factors.
So in this guide, we’ll provide an unbiased assessment for both of these dropshipping models to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s dive straight into it!
What is a General Dropshipping Store?
As the name suggests, a general dropshipping store doesn’t restrict you to a particular niche or product.
From clothing to pet supplies – you can sell just about anything you lay your eyes upon (as long as it isn’t illegal).
This also means that you can cash in on viral trends without having to worry about diverting from your original business plan.
Usually, beginners are suggested to go with a general store because you don’t have to pen down elaborate details before starting it.
There’s always room to improvise and add more products if your current listings do not generate enough sales. However, this is also one of the biggest weaknesses of a general store.
While shopping online, customers often look for stores that specialize in certain products, so naturally, general stores wouldn’t be at the top of their consideration list.
- Perfect for beginners/inexperienced dropshippers.
- Can be started with a low investment.
- Flexibility to improvise according to the latest trends.
- Designing the website is easier.
- Easier to reach more people.
- Lower conversion rate.
- Difficult to rank on SERPs
- Higher competition level.
- Marketing can be challenging.
What Is a Niche Dropshipping Store?
Niche dropshipping is more about narrowing down your options to a particular category or segment.
For instance, you can either build your business around selling pet products or dive one layer deeper to exclusively deal in dog supplies.
The point of a niche store is to find a more specific direction, as opposed to a general store where there aren’t any restrictions.
You may be wondering why restrict your options when you can sell everything? The answer is simple – targeting a niche offers a higher conversion rate.
To begin with, niche stores are easier to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) because your keywords are more defined.
Similarly, it is also easier to come up with creative marketing ideas as your products are geared towards a certain audience.
With so many ways to promote your business, it’s only natural that you’ll attract more customers.
However, finding a niche that works can be quite difficult and time-consuming. As a result, beginners can easily feel overwhelmed.
This is why you can read our Ultimate FAQ Guide to Find Profitable Dropshipping Niches.
- Niche stores have higher conversion rates.
- Easier to rank on SERPs.
- Creative marketing opportunities like starting blogs.
- More repeat purchases.
- Upselling is easier.
- Finding a niche can be a time-consuming process.
- Challenging for beginners.
- Website design needs to be more optimized and specific.
- Requires a greater investment.
Comparison Table of General vs. Niche Store
|Metrics||General Store||Niche Store|
|Experience Level||Perfect for inexperienced/beginner dropshippers||Intermediate dropshipping experience may be needed.|
|Required Investment||Easy to start with a low investment||Higher investment is required for website design and marketing.|
|Traffic Potential||Harder to market thus lower traffic potential.||Higher traffic potential as it is easier to rank on SERPs.|
|Profit Margins||Depends on the current trends and luck but generally lower than niche stores.||Not dependent on trends and higher profit margins due to more traffic and recurring orders.|
|Risk Factor||Lower risk as the listings can easily be changed.||High risk in case of wrong niche selection.|
If none of these options works for you, then you can also go for a one-product store. Check out our Ultimate FAQ Guide on How to Start a One Product Store to learn more about it.
General vs Niche Store: The Final Showdown
Still, having trouble deciding what store type to go for?
Here’s a deeper insight on some of the most important factors to consider before you start your dropshipping business:
1) Experience Required
As simple as dropshipping may sound, diving into it without prior experience and understanding may not be the best idea.
Expert dropshippers estimate that only 10 percent of dropshipping businesses are able to succeed during their first year.
As we mentioned earlier, a general store can be started with little to no experience, and only requires a small investment.
So in case, things don’t work out, you wouldn’t put yourself on the brink of bankruptcy.
Opposingly, niche stores require elaborate planning, prior knowledge as well as more understanding of the methods you could follow to attract your targeted audience.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that in terms of experience, a general store offers more flexibility and the financial risk is also much lower.
General Store: 1 – Niche Store: 0
2) Competition Levels
Analyzing your competition is the key to run a successful business.
Unless you’re bringing an extremely rare product to the market, the chances are that there are already hundreds of dropshippers selling it.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of a general store. The more diverse your store is, the harder it becomes to keep a track of the competition.
And even if you try doing so, your experience wouldn’t be too pleasant. It will drain most of your time because there isn’t a certain category that you can narrow down to.
On the other hand, the whole idea behind niche dropshipping is to dive deeper and target a specific category so you can reduce your competition.
Hence, if you don’t want the whole world to be your competitor, then unarguably, starting a niche dropshipping store would be the better option.
General Store: 1 – Niche Store: 1
3) Search Engine Ranking
Nowadays, all the businesses are in a race to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
While no one knows a concrete and absolute way to reach the top, having more defined keywords is certainly a part of it.
And as you may have guessed, general stores don’t have a specific category of keywords one could target. Every time you bring a new product, you’d have to market it in an entirely different way.
This is the reason why niche stores are more likely to rank higher on the SERPs.
You only need to hunt down the keywords for the category you’re dealing in, and then, build your SEO strategy according to that.
As a result, the better optimized your listings are for a keyword, the higher they’re likely to rank on search engines.
So in terms of search engine rankings, a niche store usually fares better in comparison to a general store.
General Store: 1 – Niche Store: 2
4) Marketing Strategy
Devising an effective marketing strategy heavily depends upon your targeted audience.
For general stores, marketing is more of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be quite challenging to write a creative sales copy to promote your business as a whole.
And on the other, you can easily make use of the tools we mentioned to study the current demographics and learn more about what’s hot so you can add it to your listings.
As for niche stores, it shouldn’t be surprising that coming up with a marketing plan for them is much easier.
Since your marketing strategy revolves around just one segment, you don’t constantly have to think about what’s next.
And once you start using online tools, identifying your target audience becomes much easier and you can get more relevant traffic.
This is a tough one to decide, but since niche stores offer more flexibility in terms of marketing, we’ll give them the win.
General Store: 1 – Niche Store: 3
5) Revenue Potential
The market size value of the dropshipping industry was estimated to be $149.4 billion in 2020.
So it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that every year dropshippers around the world are racking up big bucks from this business.
However, the store type often makes a big difference on your bank account.
In this case, niche stores usually make more money because of the higher conversion rate.
Judging by how we discussed above that a niche store is not only easier to rank on SERPs but also easier to market, it shouldn’t be surprising.
With that said, this doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t make any money by running a general store.
In fact, general store dropshipping businesses can also make a pretty penny – but normally, the overall revenue isn’t as much as what you’d make by running a niche store.
General Store: 1 – Niche Store: 4
General vs. Niche Store – Who’s the Winner?
Judging by the score above, it’s safe to say that a niche store is a clear winner.
However, at the end of the day, the decision is heavily dependent upon your personal preferences and your overall experience.
If you have an appetite to take risks and a higher investment, then niche stores can bring promising results.
Alternatively, if you are just getting started with the world of dropshipping and want to understand more about the business, then you can’t go wrong with a general store.
So we hope after reading this guide, you’ll be able to make a better decision on what works best for you!
Regardless of what you decide, from product sourcing to warehousing, NicheDropshipping can provide you with a one-stop solution to all your dropshipping needs, so get in touch with us today!
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Over 10 years experience of foreign trade
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