How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?

So you want to start a dropshipping business? That’s awesome. But one of the first and most important things you need to do is to ask yourself “How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?”

When I first started dropshipping, I struggled with this question too. Part of you thinks more products equals more sales, right?

However, offering too many choices can actually backfire and confuse potential customers.

The ideal number of products to begin with depends on a variety of factors, which we’ll explore in this guide. I’ll share the key considerations around:

  • What type of dropshipping store do you want to create?
  • How to select the right products for your business.
  • Building your marketing capabilities.
  • Sourcing and managing inventory.
  • Making smart financial decisions.

My goal is to provide a comprehensive overview to help you determine the optimal strategy for your specific business goals and resources.

We’ll look at recommendations and best practices from successful drop shippers so you can avoid common mistakes.

Let’s start with the first big decision – whether to create a niche store focused on a specific product category or a general store with a wide variety of products.

How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping? – Quick Reply

When first starting out with dropshipping, it’s best to begin with a small. Focused product selection. Start with just 1-3 items if you’re running a niche store, or 5-20 for a general store.

As a new drop shipper, having too many products divides your time and makes it hard to adequately market each one. Start by picking a few winning, high-potential products aligned with your brand.

Focus on optimizing your listings and promotions for those core offerings. Once you achieve consistent sales and have established marketing strategies, then you can start cautiously expanding your catalog over time.

How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping

Type of Dropshipping Store

When starting a dropshipping business, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to create a niche store or a general store. This will significantly impact how many products you should start with. Let’s compare the pros and cons of each approach.

Niche Store

A niche store focuses on specializing in one specific category or type of product. For example, you might create a store that only sells yoga equipment and activewear.

The benefit of a niche store is you can really tailor your branding and marketing to a targeted audience who are passionate about your specialty. You don’t need a ton of products to get started. 5-20 products are usually enough to launch a niche dropshipping store and have it appear credible to customers.

Since you can intimately understand your niche market, you’ll be able to source the exact products your customers will love. You can even offer fewer options but still seem legit to shoppers who understand your specialty store won’t have the limitless selection of Amazon.

Some examples of successful niche dropshipping stores include:

  • GearHungry – outdoor and survival equipment for men.
  • Pepper Leaf – spice kits and accessories.
  • The Glow Maker – candles and aromatherapy products.

The downside of a niche store is you have a smaller total addressable market. But you make up for that by being able to better attract and convert the customers who do fit your niche.

General Store

A general dropshipping store is one that sells a wide variety of products across many categories and audiences. You’re not focusing on any one product type or niche.

The advantage of a general store is you can test out a bunch of different product types and categories to see what gains traction with your audience. You also open yourself up to a much larger total market of potential customers.

But keep in mind – a general store needs a much larger starting product catalog to seem credible and fully stocked to visitors. You’ll want to have 30-50 products or more when launching a general dropshipping business.

It can also be more challenging to market a general store since you don’t have a focused brand identity. You’ll need to work on optimizing and advertising each product line separately.

Some examples of large general dropshipping stores include:

General stores can definitely find success by riding waves of trending products quickly. But most dropshipping experts recommend starting with a niche store as an easier path for beginners.

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One Product Store

Finally, some dropshippers choose to build their entire business around just one main product. As the name implies, a one-product store will typically sell only a single item (or just a handful of extremely similar items).

The biggest example of success with the one-product store model is Anker. They focus exclusively on selling portable chargers and continue to dominate that niche.

The upside of a one-product store is you can really dedicate all your time and resources to optimizing the marketing and branding for that single product. You don’t have to spread your focus across a wide catalog.

The risk is that you’re obliged to just one product performing well. If there ends up being low demand or high competition, it’s hard to pivot.

In general, a one-product store is an advanced approach best for experienced dropshippers. It’s not recommended when you’re just starting out, as you want to test product viability.

Now that you know the difference in product range between niche, general, and one-product dropshipping stores, let’s look at other factors to help determine your starting product count.

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Product Selection Considerations

Once you’ve decided on a niche or general store approach, you’ll need to carefully curate your starting product catalog. Follow these tips when selecting your initial products:

  • Avoid choice overload – Don’t confuse customers with too many options right away. Limiting selection helps drive conversion rates. You can always add more products over time.
  • Balance variety and focus – Have enough products to lend credibility as an e-commerce store, but don’t spread yourself too thin trying to cover every option. Start with a thoughtfully chosen collection.
  • Expand intentionally – Add new products slowly over time based on customer data and engagement. Quickly launching with a huge catalog makes it harder to focus.
  • Ensure consistent quality – Carefully examine each product and supplier. Make sure the quality aligns with the brand image you want to cultivate.
  • Curate closely-knitted products – Products should complement each other and appeal to a consistent target customer. Avoid jarring jumps between unrelated items.
  • Understand customer demand – Do thorough market research to identify customer needs and products that satisfy them. Verify demand exists before listing items.
  • Fill product gaps – Look for product segments, features, or designs that competitors miss. Find ways to fill obvious holes in your niche.
  • Solve pain points – Hunt for products that alleviate customer headaches and address frustrations they experience. Pain relievers naturally draw interest.
  • Check competitor products – Research what products competitors carry and look for gaps you can fill or improvements you can make.
  • Consider margins – Factor in product costs and projected margins when selecting items. Favor products that offer better profitability.
  • Assess seasonality – Understand how demand for products fluctuates throughout the year. Factor seasonality into your product mix.
  • Check shipping restrictions – Verify there are no prohibitive shipping restrictions or costs associated with products.
  • Leverage best-sellers – It can be smart to include a few proven top sellers that are already hit with consumers.

Carefully hand-picking your starting product selection is critical. You want to focus on highly sellable items aligned to your brand and niche.

Avoid the temptation to list every product you can source. Start smart, drive success with core products, and then expand your catalog.

Marketing Capabilities

When determining how many products to start dropshipping, it’s critical to think about your own marketing skills and bandwidth.

As a beginner, it’s extremely challenging to effectively promote a large number of products simultaneously across multiple platforms. Starting with just 1-3 core products helps you focus your efforts.

Think about your available time and resources for tasks like:

  • Creating quality product listings and descriptions.
  • Optimizing pages for SEO.
  • Producing marketing assets like photos and videos.
  • Configuring ad campaigns on various platforms.
  • Managing multiple sales funnels.
  • Monitoring inventory across suppliers.
  • Providing customer service at scale.

It’s best to start small while you’re on the learning curve for e-commerce marketing. Get a handle on promoting just a few well-known products initially.

Once you achieve consistent sales and establish effective marketing strategies, then you can start expanding your catalog.

Some key steps for optimizing the promotion of a small product line:

  • Identify your highest potential product and make it your hero item to spotlight.
  • Create detailed, benefit-focused marketing copy and visual assets for each product.
  • Set up basic conversion optimization elements like reviews and trust badges.
  • Focus on mastering marketing on just 1-2 dominant platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram).
  • Analyze data frequently and double down on top-performing campaigns.

The benefit of a focused product selection is you can really concentrate on fine-tuning every marketing detail for those core items. Once your promotion skills are strong, adding in more products becomes much easier.

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So don’t feel like you need a huge product catalog from day one. Start with a select few products and give them the marketing attention they deserve.

Sourcing and Inventory Management

When starting a dropshipping business, it’s tempting to quickly list hundreds of awesome products you find from suppliers around the world.

But a big secret of customer satisfaction (and repeat purchases) is consistent product availability and inventory depth. Nothing disappoints shoppers more than seeing an out-of-stock notice right before checking out,

That’s why it’s important to take a measured approach with your product sourcing strategy:

  • Thoroughly examine suppliers for reliability and responsiveness before listing their products. Screen them as you would a business partner.
  • Verify suppliers have sufficient inventory depth on key products. Make sure they can support sudden spikes in sales.
  • Use supplier ratings and reviews to assess the stability of their fulfillment operation. Avoid suppliers with red flags.
  • Start with a modest product selection from reliable sellers before expanding. Don’t risk over-extending suppliers.
  • Use inventory management tools to stay on top of real-time availability. Remove or pause products as they go out of stock.
  • Arrange for priority access to replenish inventory for top-selling items.
  • Have a backup supplier for critical products whenever possible.

Building a stable foundation with experienced, high-quality suppliers enables you to reliably deliver a positive experience even as your product selection grows over time.

Solid supplier relationships and inventory management are just as important as great marketing. Take it slow, do your diligence, and your customers will thank you,

Tools and Apps for Managing Inventory

Once you start listing more products, keeping on top of dynamic inventory availability becomes vital. Luckily, there are great tools and apps to help,

The major e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce have built-in inventory management features:

  • Automatic inventory level updates from supplier data feeds.
  • Bulk editing capabilities to tweak inventory across products.
  • Dashboard views to quickly identify low-stock items.
  • Rules to automatically pause products when they sell out.

This covers the inventory basics, but there are also powerful 3rd party apps that provide enhanced functionality:

  • Dropified – Robust multi-channel and multi-warehouse inventory tracking. Helps manage supply across many suppliers.
  • Cin7 – Deep integration across sales channels. Inventorysynced in real-time.
  • TradeGecko – Excellent for B2B order management and inventory control.
  • Stockly – Great for monitoring supplier and competitor inventory in real time.
  • Forecast – Uses historical sales data and trends to predict future inventory needs.
  • Linnworks – Easily manage and fulfill orders across multiple sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc.

The key is finding an app aligned with your business model and inventory workflow. Focus on ease of use and automation to save time.

Smart inventory management ensures customers get the product availability and service they expect. Don’t let it become an afterthought as your product catalog expands. With the right tools in place, you can confidently scale your dropshipping business without chaotic inventory headaches.

Financial Considerations

Your available capital is another big factor in determining how many products to start with for your dropshipping business.

There are primarily two financial constraints when sourcing inventory:

  • Upfront product costs – The more unique products you stock, the greater your upfront capital needed for initial order inventory.
  • Platform monthly fees – Many platforms have monthly subscription plans that offer better rates and features for higher product counts.

As a beginner drop shipper, it’s advisable to start small and minimize risk. Test demand with a limited product lineup before investing heavily in inventory that may not sell.

Once you have confirmation your products are feasible, reinvest your revenue to expand your catalog. The cash flow from your top sellers can fund growth rather than relying solely on outside capital.

Subscription plan limitations can also incentivize starting small. It’s frustrating to have platform fees holding you back once your business takes off.

Focus first on a secured product. As your profits scale, your financial capability to expand your inventory will follow.

Getting Customer Feedback

One of the best ways to determine which new products to add to your dropshipping catalog is simply asking customers,

Leverage your early buyers to provide feedback on what additional related products they’d like to see you offer. Some easy ways to collect input:

  • Email surveys – Send occasional email surveys with questions about products customers would purchase. Offer incentives to complete.
  • Website polls – Display quick website polls asking customers what products they want next.
  • Product reviews – Monitor reviews to see if customers mention seeking alternate versions or complementary items.
  • Support tickets – Check support tickets and live chat logs for product requests.
  • Social media – Solicit product expansion ideas via social media polls and questions.
  • Include follow-up questions in packaging – Insert a small paper survey in shipments asking what else they need.
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Getting requests directly from those already engaging with your brand is extremely valuable. It takes the guesswork out of deciding what additional inventory to stock.

Refilling products based on client input helps align your product expansion strategy with real customer demand. You’ll drive higher sales by catering specifically to their needs.

So don’t rely solely on your own assumptions. Go straight to the source and let your customers guide your product selection decisions,

Leveraging Product Bundles

Once you have an established set of top-selling products, a great way to continue expanding your catalog is by offering bundled sets of complementary products.

Product bundles allow you to provide discounted pricing when customers purchase groups of related products together. It’s a win-win:

  • Increased order value – Customers get better pricing by buying bundles vs individual items.
  • Higher perceived value – Grouping related products increases the overall value perception.
  • Customer convenience – No need to purchase components separately. Added simplicity.
  • Cross-selling – Introduce customers to new items associated with their original purchase.
  • Lower shipping costs – Bundling decreases per-unit shipping costs.

Some examples of potential product bundles:

  • A new vaper kit with flavors and accessories.
  • A jewelry set combining necklace, earrings, and bracelet.
  • A starter gardening kit with seeds, pots, and tools.
  • A pet kit with food, treats, and toys.

You can offer general bundles that appeal to any customer or create targeted bundles optimized for specific user segments like beginners, gift-givers, etc.

Get creative with finding opportunities to provide bundled offerings. It’s one of the easiest ways to expand your product selection and delight your customers,

Conclusion – How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?

Determining the ideal number of products to start dropshipping isn’t easy. It depends on your business model, resources, and goals.

The key is starting small with a few core offerings, and then expanding cautiously over time based on data and customer feedback. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to stock a huge catalog upfront.

Focus on finding great products aligned with your brand and niche. Deliver on quality and reliability as you scale.

The most effective dropshipping stores stay flexible and let customer demand guide their growth. With smart strategies, your perfect product count will reveal itself through the process.

Let’s wrap up with answers to some common questions about “How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?”.

FAQs – How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?

What is the minimum number of products I need to start a dropshipping store?

There is no universal minimum number of products required to launch a dropshipping store. However, having at least 5 quality products helps lend some initial credibility as an e-commerce business. The goal when first starting out should be to identify and focus on offering your core products that have the highest potential for success based on your research and goals. You can always expand your catalog over time.

Is it better to start with a niche store or a general store when dropshipping?

Most experts recommend starting with a niche store focused on a specific product category that you can uniquely dominate. This targeted approach makes it much easier to brand and market effectively to your audience. General stores that sell a wide variety of products can work but typically require significantly more effort to gain traction.

How do I choose the best products to start dropshipping?

Scrutinize potential products thoroughly to make sure they satisfy an unmet consumer need or solve a pain point. Verify there is sufficient demand for the product and that the niche isn’t oversaturated with competition. Check that suppliers can support stable long-term inventory access. Choose products aligned with your brand image and niche that get you excited. Leverage best-sellers where possible to build on proven success.

When should I consider expanding my dropshipping product catalog?

After your initial product selection starts selling steadily, you’ve optimized your listings, and you have effective marketing strategies in place, you can begin cautiously expanding your catalog. Use customer input and engagement data to guide the addition of new products. Reinvest revenue from top sellers into expanding inventory vs increasing external capital reliance.

How many products are too many when first starting a dropshipping store?

More than 50 products are generally too many when just starting out, as it spreads your time and resources too thin. It also makes it extremely difficult to adequately optimize each product’s marketing. Add new products slowly over time once your core items are profitable. Focus on quality over quantity when launching to prove your business model initially.

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the article “How Many Products Should I Start With Dropshipping?”. Keep visiting.

Hello, I’m Samuel, and I’ve been in the dropshipping business for the past 9 years. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of helping many novice dropshippers grow their businesses. Based on my experience, I’ve launched this blog to share my insights and knowledge with the dropshipper community.

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