When it comes to how many products you should start with, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on your business, your target market, and your goals. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you make this decision.
In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of starting with a small or large product line, and we will provide some tips for finding the sweet spot for your business to answer the question, “How many products should I start with for my online store?“.
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The Goldilocks Principle
In business, as in life, there's often a “sweet spot” that's just right. For starting an online store, that sweet spot is having enough products to attract customers without having so many that you can't give each product the attention it deserves. We like to think of it as the Goldilocks principle: not too many, not too few, but just the right amount.
However, there is no magic number for how many you should start with. It all depends on your specific circumstances. It depends on your business, your target market, and your goals.
I recommend starting with between 10 and 20 SKUs (stock-keeping units) and seeing how things go. This gives you enough variety to attract customers without overwhelming yourself or your team. Plus, it's always easier to add more products later than it is to remove them from your inventory!
What are some things to consider when deciding how many products to start with?
There are a few factors you should keep in mind when deciding how many products to carry:
Amount of money
The first factor is the amount of money you have to invest. If you don't have a lot of money to put into inventory or marketing, it's probably best to start with just a few products, as you don't want to overload your inventory or go into debt buying products that may not sell.
You can always add more later as your business grows.
Your target market
Who are you selling to? If your target market is small, you might not need a large product line to attract customers. If your target market is large, you'll need more products to appeal to a wider range of people.
What are your goals for your online store? Are you looking to generate a lot of revenue or build a brand? If you're looking to generate revenue, you'll need a large product line to appeal to as many people as possible. If you're looking to build a brand, however, start with a smaller product line so you can focus on quality over quantity.
Type of business
What kind of business do you have? Is it tedious to add products to the platform on which your business is on? Is there any way to automate them or can you come up with a process to make the addition process easier?
Selling digital products or physical products: how difficult is it to add more products to your inventory? If you sell digital products, adding more is as easy as creating a new file, so you can list as many products as possible. If you sell physical goods, however, you'll need to factor in the cost of manufacturing and shipping. You can read more about budgeting for costs in the following post: How Much Does it Cost to Start an Online Business? [Website & eCommerce]
Selling Physical Products on an Online Marketplace or Online Store
If you are selling physical products, there are also different business models. If you sell on marketplace platforms such as Amazon or your online store on Shopify and carry your product inventory and do your own fulfillment, how difficult is it to add more products?
Inventory management: how much time and effort will it take you to keep track of your inventory levels for each product? Can you automate this process or do you need to do it manually?
Number of SKUs: how difficult is it to add more products to your inventory if you sell on marketplace platforms such as Amazon or your online store?
The other factor is the amount of storage space you have. If you're selling physical goods, you'll need to have somewhere to keep them before they ship out. Again, starting with just a few items will help limit your expenses until your business is bringing in more revenue.
The last factor is the amount of time you have to dedicate to shipping orders. If you're doing all the shipping yourself, starting with a smaller number of products will help you avoid getting overwhelmed. You can always add more later as your business grows and you're able to outsource some fulfillments.
Selling Physical Products on Marketplaces with Dropshipping
Even with dropshipping, even though you do not need to carry inventory, you still need to invest money in marketing, so it's still probably best to start with just a few and add more later as your business grows.
After looking at the factors to consider when deciding how many products to start with, we will now look at the pros and cons of starting with a small or large product line.
The Pros and Cons of Starting with a Small or Large Product Line
The Pros of Starting With a Small Number of Products
There are several benefits to starting with a few. First, it allows you to focus on refining your products and marketing strategies without becoming overwhelmed by too much inventory. Second, it allows you to test the waters before investing in a larger product line. And finally, it helps you stay within your budget while still providing a good selection of products to your customers.
It is also easier to manage a few products, which can save you time and money. You can give each product the attention it needs, and you won't have to worry about keeping track of a large inventory.
The Cons of Starting With a Small Number of Products
One potential downside to starting with a few products is that you might not have enough variety to attract customers. If your target market is large, you'll need more products to appeal to a wider range of people.
Additionally, if you're looking to generate a lot of revenue, you'll need a large product line to appeal to as many people as possible.
The Pros of starting with a large number of products
Starting with a larger number of products can be beneficial if you have a well-defined target market and a strong marketing strategy. This will allow you to offer your customers a greater selection from the start, which can help you attract and keep more customers.
You can also get a better sense of which items are most popular and generate the most sales, so you can focus your inventory and marketing efforts on those items. Having many products can give you an advantage over your competition, who may only start with a few products.
The Cons of starting with a large number of products
There are also some potential drawbacks to starting with many products. First, it can be more expensive to produce and ship many products. Second, it can be more difficult to manage a large inventory, which can lead to issues like overselling or stock-outs.
Finally, if you're not careful, you might end up with a lot of unsold inventory that takes up space and ties up your capital.
With the above in mind, let's next look at how to determine the sweet spot for your business.
How to Determine the Sweet Spot for Your Business
As mentioned earlier at the start of this article, there is no “right” answer for how many products to start with. It all depends on your specific business, target market, and goals. However, starting with a small product line is usually the best way to go.
I would recommend starting with a small number of products between 10 and 20 products, and then gradually adding more as you get a better sense of which items are most popular with your customers.
When you are starting, you don't want to lose momentum by becoming overwhelmed with too many products. It's better to start small, get your feet wet, and then gradually grow your business as you gain more experience.
This will help you avoid overloading your inventory and save you money in the long run. This also allows you to focus on refining your products and marketing strategies without becoming overwhelmed by too much inventory.
Here are a few more tips to help you find that sweet spot for your business:
1. Do your research. Before you decide on a product line, do some research on your target market and see what products they are likely to buy. This will help you focus your efforts and avoid investing in products that might not sell well.
2. Start small and gradually add products. This will allow you to test the waters before investing in a larger product line. And it will help you stay within your budget while still providing a good selection of products to your customers. And make sure that the new products are successful before investing too much time or money into them.
3. Focus on quality over quantity. When you're starting out, it's more important to focus on quality than quantity. This will help you build a good reputation with your customers and generate more sales in the long run. This will also help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of success.
Tips for Growing Your Product Line
When you are successful with your initial products, you will then want to add more products to your line. Here are some tips for expanding your product line:
Consider further developing your existing product line
Some ways you can expand your existing product line are by having different sizes of the same product or having different uses for the same product. You can also have different bundles of your products. If you are selling software, you can offer different versions (such as basic, standard, and premium versions) or different features in your product.
By expanding your product line, you can reach a wider range of customers and tap into new markets. This can help you increase sales and grow your business.
Consider synergy between different product lines and category
One thing to consider when expanding your product line is the synergy between different product lines and categories. For example, if you sell clothes, offer accessories or home decor to create a more complete shopping experience for your customers.
Or, if you sell products for a specific niche market, expand into related markets to reach more customers. This can be a great way to increase your sales and grow your business.
I learned from my experience selling on Amazon that if you have complimentary products, they will be easier to promote in the future as you can leverage on existing customers. For example, if you sell cosmetics, it would be easy to promote a new line of skincare products. But if you have completely different products, you'll need to spend more time and effort promoting each one individually.
When expanding your product line, it's important to consider how the new products will fit with your existing product line and how they will be promoted. By taking the time to plan, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that can occur when expanding your business.
Have a schedule for product research and adding products
One of the most important things to do when starting an online store is to have a schedule for product research and adding products. This will help you stay organized and avoid becoming overwhelmed by expanding your product line.
For example, you can choose one day to do product research weekly. This will help you stay on top of new trends and find products that are in demand. Then, you can add a few new products to your store each month. This will help you gradually grow your product line without becoming overwhelmed by too much inventory.
Use data to make decisions
When deciding about expanding your product line, use data to help you make informed choices. For example, track how many of each product you sell and analyze how this changes over time. This will help you determine which products are selling well and which ones you should stop selling.
Don't be afraid to experiment
Trying new things is a key part of growing a successful business. So don't be afraid to experiment with new products and marketing strategies. If something doesn't work out, learn from your mistakes and move on.
Stay focused on your goal
As you grow your product line, it is important to stay focused on your goals and make decisions that are best for your business. Don't emulate the strategies of other businesses; find what works best for you and stick with it.
I hope this blog post has helped answered the question “How many products should I start with for my online store?” for you and helped you decide how many to start with when you first start an online store. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, so be sure to do your research and choose what is best for your business. Thanks for reading!
Do you have any tips for how many products new online stores should start with? Let me know in the comments below!
FAQ on how many products should i start with
How many items are you allowed to sell on Shopify?
How to find out how many items should I have in my Shopify store?
There is no set answer to this question, as it varies depending on the type of business and products you are selling. A good place to start would be to assess your target market and what your competitors are offering in terms of product selection.
You may also want to consider carrying a smaller selection of items at first to gauge customer demand and then expand your inventory as needed. Ultimately, it is important to strike a balance between having too much and too little stock on hand, so that you can avoid losing out on potential sales or having too much dead inventory.
How many products should I start with on Shopify?
The number of products you start with on Shopify will depend on your inventory, business model, and marketing strategy. If you have a limited inventory, it may make sense to start with a smaller number of products and add more as you can.
If you are drop-shipping or using a print-on-demand fulfillment service, you may start with a larger number of products. If you are selling products you need to manufacture yourself, you will need to consider your production capacity when deciding how many products to start with.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how many products based on what will work best for your business.
How many products should I sell on my dropshipping website?
This is a difficult question to answer without more information about your business, your goals, and your target market.
Generally speaking, you should sell as many products as possible while still providing excellent customer service and maintaining a healthy profit margin. However, other factors such as customer demand, competition, and available inventory may also come into play when determining how many products to sell on your website.
How many new products should I launch per week
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on several factors, including the size of your company, your budget, your target market, and your resources. Generally, launching one or two new products per week is a good starting point.