What is an $1 Online Store?

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What is a $1 online store? While the concept of a digital dollar store might seem strange at first, it’s more common than you might think. The rising demand for online shopping experiences means there are countless varieties of online store for the digital age.

An online $1 store is the same in a lot of ways to any ecommerce website. The main difference is that the focus will usually be on selling products at the cost of $1 or less. This cost may or may not include shipping, depending on the nature of the store.

Let’s take a closer look at the online $1 store, and how it works.

Defining the Online $1 store

The concept of the online dollar store began with the offline $1 store – an extremely popular shopping forum in the modern landscape. People love dollar stores because they offer a wide variety of products for bargain prices. Unfortunately, in today’s world, not everyone will have access to an available dollar store nearby.

Online stores allow more people to access the bargains of a digital $1 store and ensure the business owners behind those companies can make a bigger profit.

This is particularly valuable now the demand for e-commerce is greater than ever. According to some statistics, spending online increased to a massive $891.12 in 2020 alone, an increase of 44% since before the pandemic.

People are reliant on sites like Amazon and eBay to access the products they need, from lotion to keychains and food. By taking stores like Five Below, Miss A, and others online, it’s possible for store owners to avoid closeouts, and supply countless customers with necklaces, pet supplies, skincare products, stickers, and so much more.

With today’s consumers doing more of their purchases online, it’s the perfect time for dollar stores to digitally transform and embrace the online world. There's even the option to allow local customers to pick up their spray bottle, sponges,m and matte paint in person, if shipping isn’t a good choice. However, there are some challenges to consider for this kind of online retail.

How Is A $1 Store Different from a Regular Online Store?

For the most part, an online $1 store is the same as any kind of digital store. You’ll launch your store using the help of a store building software, like Shopify, or WooCommerce. Business owners will need to make sure their stores look great, by using themes and templates. Plus, you’ll have to ensure you have a payment processing system in place to take credit and debit card payments.

However, an online dollar store can have some complexities to think about too. For instance, if you’re selling everything at a dollar, you’ll need to ensure the wholesale price you pay for each product amounts to less than this so you can make a profit.

Dollar store retailers will often be dependent on selling large volumes of products fast to make a decent profit, whereas standard store owners can often sell less and still make some money. You’ll also need to think about the other expenses which contribute to the total cost of running your store.

Aside from the price of the actual items, you’ll also need to consider:

  • Hosting and domain name fees for your website
  • The cost of your website builder per month
  • The price of shipping to your customer (and if it’s included)
  • The costs of storing your products in a warehouse
  • Costs associated with picking, and packing products

If you’re not sure you can sell a lot of products fast at a profit, you might struggle more with an online dollar store than with most kinds of digital store. The good news for companies keen to explore the benefits of online dollar stores, is you don’t necessarily have to choose between online or brick-and-mortar options.

The right payment processing solution and inventory management tools can help you to easily track transactions across a range of platforms, while giving you the freedom to sell wherever you choose. With a reasonably cheap card reader, you can access both online and offline payments in very little time. This could be ideal if you think you might have an easier time of selling if you can access both online and offline sales at once.

Having both an online and offline environment means you can reach out to a broader customer base. Many retailers do have shoppers who would prefer to have the option of shopping locally or checking out products online whenever they choose.

What Do You Need to Create an Online $1 Store?

Creating your online dollar store is very similar to starting any online store. You’ll need to start by building an ecommerce website where you can sell your products. Look for a store builder with either no monthly cost, or a very small monthly price, as this will quickly eat into your profits.

There are a wide range of stores out there which come with templates and tools to help you start listing and selling your products. Remember to consider the costs of hosting your website, and the price of your domain name when you’re calculating overall prices.

Once you have your website, you’ll need:

  • Inventory: Now it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sell. Ideally, you’ll want to find a wholesaler who can offer products for an extremely low price. You may also consider working with a dropshipping supplier, as this eliminates the cost of having to store your products, package them, and ship them to customers yourself.
  • Marketing: Advertising your online store will be essential to getting the volume of sales you need to make a decent profit. Make sure you have a SEO strategy in place and look into other affordable advertising options where possible. For instance, you could keep costs low with content marketing and organic social media advertising.
  • Storage and shipping: If you don’t choose a dropshipping supplier to work with when sourcing your products, you’ll need to store those items and ship them to your customer too. Make sure you know the costs of this, as it can be quite expensive.
  • Payment processor: A payment processor allows you to take payments from your customers via your online dollar store. Check for payment processors with the lowest possible transaction fees. This will help you to make more of a profit.
  • Additional tools: You may also want to invest in things like email marketing tools so you can nurture your customers over time, or tools for social media advertising. Ensure you keep your budget front-of-mind when making business choices.

Notably, you can also choose to have an online and offline store which sync into one entity. If you want to combine the current success of your offline store with the rising popularity of the online market, this can often be an excellent choice. You may find it’s much easier to launch a successful online dollar store if you already have revenue coming in from your offline environment.

Online Dollar Stores: 5 Great Options

If you’re still struggling to define what an online dollar store actually is, don’t worry, there are plenty of examples out there to help. Some of the best options include:

1. Dollar General

One of the leading online dollar stores, the Dollar General offers a host of amazing deals to customers on a daily basis. Most people are familiar with this brand in-person, but the online store can be just as great. The digital version of the store is home to a wide range of products, from outdoor and living supplies, to office products and snacks. There are also coupons available – just like the ones you can use in-store to get money off.

2. Dollar 1

Dollar 1 is another popular example of an online dollar store, selling a range of brand-name items for only $1. The site is great for saving money on popular products; however, items are only available on a limited basis. This means you only have a short time to buy any products you may be interested in before they go out of stock, perhaps permanently. There are also daily changes to the inventory and updates you can get sent to your email as a loyal customer.

3. DHGate

Though DHGate doesn’t sell entirely $1 products, there are many products you can buy for a dollar or less. If you’re comfortably buying directly from China, you can even buy items starting from around 10 cents apiece. DHGate sells a huge range of products, to the point some companies even decide to use this company for dropshipping purposes. However, the shipping costs can be a little high depending on what you want to order.

4. Dollar Tree

Probably one of the most popular dollar stores in America, Dollar Tree is a huge chain with thousands of locations. The company is also responsible for the “Family Dollar” store, which has gained popularity across the US in recent years. The company sells a huge range of products from school supplies to seasonal products. There’s also a weekly ads section where you can see new possible product releases and special categories for promotion.

5. 99 Cent Only

A leading discount retailer selling a host of different product types, 99 cents only is a top choice for cheap purchases. The store services various communities, offering a range of products which include fresh produce. The website is home to various essentials, like cleaning supplies and home goods, party supplies, beauty products, and more.

The Online Dollar Store

The best online dollar stores can sell a host of items for low prices. You might not get cell phones for a dollar, but you can access countless essentials, from gift wrap, to body wash, deodorants, and home decor, without maxing your credit card.

These days, companies like Dollar Days, Dollar fanatic, and hollar are inspiring other companies to make money online by selling housewares, napkins, lip gloss, and headbands on the web. With dropshipping companies to help you save money on new arrivals in personal care and home products, it’s surprisingly easy to get started.

The one dollar online store is still a relatively new concept for a lot of people, but it is gaining steam. If you think you could sell a lot of products for a lower price, this could be the kind of store you need.

Bogdan Rancea

Bogdan is a founding member of Inspired Mag, having accumulated almost 6 years of experience over this period. In his spare time he likes to study classical music and explore visual arts. He’s quite obsessed with fixies as well. He owns 5 already.

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