The question of whether you should start a Niche Store vs General Store comes up more often than not.
This bothers many when starting a new online venture as to what they should sell and how.
Let’s first look at what the difference is.
What is a General Store?
Setting up a General Store is exactly that a website that is put together to add everything and anything. When you stumble upon one of these types of stores many times it has hundreds if not thousands of items available to sell to who ever lands on that website.
The thought many times is the owner assumes that a large number of products is a winning strategy because a passerby site visitor ‘is guaranteed’ to get interested in something and place an order.
Are these assumptions accurate?
What are the benefits of a General Store?
In eyes of someone setting up a General Store some benefits exist.
- Research is not necessary?
That thought process is a fool’s way on how to run a business. Even with a General Store you still need to have an idea on your market and customer preferences.
I will admit you don’t always need to learn anything about the market: you just fill your store with any products that attracts your attention, and wait for the purchases.
- Product choice is huge and requires less research
General stores, you can add just about anything to your web pages. Thanks to technology, you can fill your general store with what ever tickles your fancy really quick. In a couple of clicks many apps allow you to import an unlimited number of goods from multiple suppliers to your own store. Once done your site visitors enjoy a large variety of assorted items to choose from.
- Potential buyers is really wide
Selling lots of different products, you can expect many different people to come to your store and make purchases from you. You are not working with a tiny customer segment; instead, you are basically dealing with the whole world because of all the varied interests.
Sound too good to be true?
Your right if your suspicious because, frankly speaking, this business strategy is not an end all as it may seem.
Down side of a General Store
On first impression setting up a general store might seem like the “easy way” to setting up quickly and undemanding. Don’t be fooled by this seemingly simple concept – in fact, running such a store in an efficient way is a really challenging thing to do.
- Product-related tasks become overwhelming
Large-scale general stores require a diverse range of products, They need LOTs of items (hundreds of them and more), otherwise you will be out of place to potential customers.
With today’s technology you can import large amounts of items in seconds and set prices for them automatically in a couple of clicks from many sources.
But imagine how long it will take you to edit and customize product descriptions?
You don’t have a choice to leave your products with non-unique unedited content that leaves you open for store visitors to find the same products elsewhere for lower prices.
On the other hand if your depending on organic traffic from search engines having unedited content will place you in the omitted results at the bottom of the Google search pages. So you must have unique and interesting product descriptions for SEO.
- Intense Competition
If you thought this was the easy model to follow, your not the only one. The internet is flooded with general stores.
The is generally a business model that is a race to the bottom for prices. Unless you have an in for the lowest priced selling items, this puts you in the commodities arena. This is where the Giants of online business feel comfortable competing. Not a place for the faint hearted and shallow pockets for thin margins.
You have nothing unique about yourself to show to your visitors other than price. Loyalty means nothing to this crowd.
- Organic Google Traffic?
Since you don’t stand for anything unique, it is hard to get a foothold in the search engines. As I mentioned previously unless you have presence as a brand expect to see yourself listed in the omitted results.
- Marketing difficulty is amplified
You have two strikes against you for lowest price and non-unique content that does not offer the new search algorithms something to put in front of visitors.
What you are left is social media, but reaching the proper market is becomes even more of challenge. Paid advertising requires you focus on what is relevant to your prospects. General Stores are just not setup in general to accomplish this.
If you have no previous experience in this business area, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the unstructured and unfocused data within a general store.
What is a niche store?
A niche store is about selling a narrow topic of products. It’s not necessarily about selling a limited amount of products but a narrow range of related products. If you pick your niche properly you will have a very deep vertical and also a very broad amount of products to sell in your store.
In other words, you have lots of ways to identify and create a product niche, and your ultimate choice heavily depends on your personal interests and preferences.
It is always a good idea to choose the niche that you’re passionate about – or, at least, you should know a lot about the products, market trends, and customers’ preferences in this business area.
This valuable knowledge is the key to benefiting from all the numerous advantages of a niche store
Niche store advantages
Let’s dig into why focusing on a niche store is to your advantage.
- Easier management
Niche stores are easier to manage period. When you look at examples of large niche stores and their history on how they started most times they start with one product and grow from there.
I’m sure we can all find one product to start with.
- Well-defined product range
You will always know what products to offer next as opposed to a general store.
For example: if your looking at water sports, related products are easier to find and focus on as your growing.
General stores will always have you hunting for your next big thing they are much harder to define your path for success.
- Competition Manageable
If you have done your research right, generally competition will be moderate. Sometimes you will even find the big brands not dominating your niche in the search results.
This becomes time to pounce, dominate and become the authority of your niche.
- Understandable customers’ profile
When you have a clear idea about the like-minded people who are passionate about the niche you are in this makes it easier to focus on the specific topics and products that attracts your potential customers.
It’s all about understanding who you need to reach in the most precise way, so you can deliver your valuable content to the visitors coming to your web pages. Being like minded, visitors will be happy to join the community you’re building around your brand because of the common ground you share with them.
- Marketing strategy better defined
When you speak your buyers’ language and hang out exactly where they do, you are very likely to succeed in creating just the perfect brand image. Many times this results result in frequent repeat purchases!
Bottom line your marketing strategy becomes easier to manage.
- Efficient SEO
With a niche store and a narrowly defined product offer, you have an opportunity to focus on the intent of your store visitors. Choosing keywords with intent such as buyer keywords or how to keywords set’s you up to be ranked in the search engines by design rather than by chance.
The most important thing about these keywords is their power to attract highly interested people to your store.
If a person Googles a word combination that is similar to your target keywords, and clicks on your website address because it gets shown on the search results page, the visitors intent is being matched with your search engine listing. If you play your cards correct, more than likely, they will make a purchase from you sooner or later if their visitor experience has been met.
- Higher conversion rates
Because buying on the internet is becoming more an accepted way of obtaining anything conversion rates can be higher.
The key thing is to match the intent and deliver a satisfying experience when landing on your webpages.
This becomes much easier to do delivering the proper content and earning their trust when doing business on the internet.
General stores your message is scattered and earning trust is very difficult. Big Brands can get away with very large and diverse product offerings. Trust has already been earned with Brands so the buyers have less hesitation parting with their money.
While the little guy has to earn every customer until they become the authority in their niche.
Niche store disadvantages
I guess it all depends how you define disadvantage. Personally setting up any business requires work and I see niche stores easier to deal with once you know what direction to go.
- You need to conduct a research
This is the longest and hardest part of creating niche stores. When done right the rest is mechanical for building your web pages and adding content.
The most important part of this phase is developing a strategy on how you are going to deliver the best visitor experience once they land on your site.
Luckily if your using Slick Time Savers – Authority Snooper as your research tool, finding out what works for the particular niche you have chosen becomes clear.
Looking at the actual search results you will see the winning combinations that got them to page one of Google.
You will find out what type of content works. Not all content is text based. You need to know this if you are going to meet both Google and your visitors expectations.
Page format and User Experience Design (UX) are key today.
Chrome is a heat map combined with Artificial Intelligence, Google is closely monitoring how people react to web pages and makes adjustments according to best user experience.
In future blog posts I will dive deeper on what makes a good user experience.
The takeaway here is to pay attention on how the competition has their winning pages laid out and model from there.
- One product at a time
Once you know if your chosen niche is viable to jump in, start building pages around one product first. This is important to focus on going deep with each product.
If your product and niche research is done right this is the time to focus on the best visitor experience you can give your visitors.
- Go wide and deep
Everything hinges upon the research phase of building niche stores.
Knowing what appeals to your market is critical both for getting them to click and trip the proper signals telling Google your site delivers that positive experience.
- Tweak, test and repeat
Last phase is pay attention to whatever analytic program your using.
Certain pages/products will drive more traffic than others on your site.
When you model a winning combination and find success keep the pressure up, it’s about being found so take advantage of situation.
If your still confused or looking for an advantage try looking at Done For You Solutions available at Slick Time Savers Done For You Solutions
Need some help working out the details reach out to me via skype
edc01475 and let’s see how we can help you