More and more people are buying products online. This has led to a quick growth in the number of e-commerce stores. There are over 12 million e-commerce stores out there. But only 650,000 generate more than $1000 in sales annually.

By Mitt Ray

One of the reasons why these stores fail to generate enough revenue is because they don’t conduct any type of research before launching. To launch a successful store you need to research and experiment until you are certain that your product idea will generate sales.

If you don’t conduct enough research and launch your store on a whim you could end up losing a lot of money and time as manufacturing products, storing them in a warehouse, promoting them, etc. takes a lot of effort.

Therefore, to help you run experiments and confirm proof of concept for your store before launching, I have put together this quick guide for you…

Checkout similar products on top e-commerce sites:

The first thing you must do is visit top e-commerce sites like Amazon and checkout products similar to the ones you want to sell.

Search for products using the same keywords that your target audience is likely to use. Then browse through the results and check out the most relevant products.

See, what people like about the good ones and what they don’t like about the bad ones. Don’t just read the product reviews, but also the seller reviews to see if they liked anything specific about the way the product was delivered or how quickly it was delivered or if they liked that there was free shipping.

You need to emulate what the best sellers are doing. So, don’t forget to take notes.

Conduct surveys and interviews:

The next thing you must do is conduct surveys and interviews. Make use of all the notes you got from the above step and prepare a list of potential questions that will help you garner more information about your target audience.

Next, use a tool like Survey Monkey to set up a short survey (it should only take a few minutes to complete). This tool also includes lists of target audiences you can invite to take part in the survey. You can either use this feature or reach out to potential customers you know individually and ask them to take part in the survey.

Inform them that it will only take a few minutes and don’t offer a reward in exchange, as that can affect the answers they leave.

Along with the survey you should also conduct interviews as you can get better answers. So, have a plan to interview at least 10 potential customers. Ask them the same questions you ask in your survey, but pay more attention to how they answer the questions and build on the answers and get into the nitty gritty details.

Record this interview if possible or at least note down the answers.

Run an experiment using dropshipping:

Once you have the above data, you will have everything you require to begin selling your products. You will know what to sell and how to and how not to sell them.

But before you go about creating your products and launch your store, you should conduct an experiment using dropshipping.

Dropshipping is when you sell products someone else manufactures on your website. The manufacturer handles both the manufacturing process and the shipping. While you are in charge of listing it on your website, promoting it and offering customer service.

This is a low risk method you can use to confirm proof of concept for your product and your store before launching.

So, go on top e-commerce stores and find products similar to yours and then find manufacturers who offer them for dropshipping and then list them on your websites. There are e-commerce building sites like Shopify that have dropshipping apps that make this easy.

After that promote the products with methods like affiliate marketing, influencer marketing and ads. Don’t be afraid to spend more on the paid methods like influencer marketing and ads as your aim here isn’t to make a profit, but to mainly determine if people want to buy the products and how much the cost per acquisition is. You can also keep adjust the funnel to see if your ROI improves.

If your dropshipped products sell well, you can go ahead and open up your e-commerce store. You will be sure to make a profit as manufacturing your own product and selling it will cost you less. You can use the same funnel you used here.

But if your product doesn’t sell, you can always abandon the product and store idea you had in mind and repeat the above process (with new ideas) until you come up with one that provides a better ROI.


This is the step by step process you can use to confirm proof of concept for your e-commerce store before launching. Make use of everything I have shared here if you want to launch a successful e-commerce store that generates a high ROI.

Mitt Ray is the Founder of Social Marketing Writing. You can connect with him on Twitter @MittRay.

E-commerce stock photo by vectorfusionart/Shutterstock