Mailbag: Product Sourcing And Business Viability Questions

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I’ve been finding myself answering the same types of questions on email over and over so I thought it might be more productive and interesting to answer them in a single wrap up post for all to see. Here are a few questions that I received this week.

Help With Product Sourcing

I will like to start my online store, and we has been having almost the same situation that you share on your website. We have 3 kids and my wife isn’t working.
I look to on alibaba and dhgate website because they have the best prices I ever see in my life, but most of the product they sells are replicas, fakes, copies and iligal. This is giving me a hard time to choose a good product to sell without broke any law.
Did you have any advice? My wife and I will like to sale woman cloght, shoes, bags and accessories.

Thank you for your website.


Hi Javier,
Both Alibaba and DHGate are excellent resources but they are pretty intimidating to use in my opinion. I haven’t checked either of those sites for quite some time but I don’t remember ever finding name brand stuff on there. In fact if you do see designer labels, I would be very suspicious.

Are you trying to sell name brand items or are you trying to sell generic clothing and shoes? If it’s the latter and you still want the prices found on Alibaba or DHGate, I would highly recommend going to the China Import/Export Fairs that take place in China or Hong Kong multiple times a year. Many manufacturers of clothing, handbags and accessories will allow you to place your own brand name labels on the items that they make.

Another option is to pay for a service like Worldwide Brands to help you sort out and contact a wide variety of domestic and international vendors. Sites like Alibaba and DHGate can help you find suppliers but contacting and sorting them all out can be a major pain.

Help With Testing Out A Business Idea

How To Determine If Your Online Business Idea Even Has A Chance.

I have been going through the steps on this link, but I am stuck at the part about keywords. I don’t understand how to find the clickthrough rate using the Google Keyword Tool. Could you help me?

The information on this blog is just what I have been looking for. Thank you for putting so much time into it!

There is no real way to determine the actual clickthrough rate of a particular keyword that you will be targeting for your own website because every website is different. The best thing that you can do is make an educated guess.

  1. Find out how many people perform searches for a certain keyword you are targeting
  2. Make an assumption about the click through rate. If you are unsure, use any number between 1-3%
  3. Make an assumption about your conversion rate. If you are unsure, use 1%.
  4. Make an assumption about the profit you will make per customer
  5. Multiply all of those numbers together and you will have an approximate profit per day.

Based on this number, you can tell whether you can make some meaningful money from your business idea based on search traffic alone.


I’m going to be testing out this format of answering questions for a little while. If you have any questions about opening or running an online business, feel free to shoot me an email and I will try to answer them.

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4 thoughts on “Mailbag: Product Sourcing And Business Viability Questions”

  1. ben says:


    My father is the owner of a brick and mortor clothing store and he does all of his shopping through clothing expos. There is a huge shoe expo in vegas every year as well as a clothing expo. These expo’s features booths from 100’s to 1000’s of differrent brands depending on the size of the expo and you deal directly with representatives from that company.

    The best part is you can walk in find the type of clothing you want to carrie and order. I’ve been to several of these events and we always make time to look for new suppliers. The best part is you get to see the cloths before you order so you know they type of quality right off the bat.

    find the biggest cities next to you and find out were expos in general are held. check whith the arena for times and dates of the type of expos you are looking for.

  2. Theoretically, the click through rate on any keywords should be 100%. After all, someone is looking for something when they search for a term and it doesn’t make sense for him/her not to click through to one of the links. Of course, there are now computer generated clicks and people who just want to check rankings these days but still, the overall click through rate is close to 100%. YOUR rate will depend on your title / description and how much it matches what the user is actually searching for. So, there’s really no real answer on click through rates and you will never find anything that’s actually accurate enough for you to base a business decision off of.

    You should instead find out what the conversion rate is for you to break even and when you find keywords that you actually make money on, keep tweaking your page to increase your conversion rate and tweak you ad copy to increase your click through.

    1. Hey David,
      Well said, though I still don’t follow how the click through rate could ever possibly be 100%. If there are 1000 people searching for a certain term, only a small fraction of these people will actually click on the link to your site. If you use adwords and pay for the highest rated spot, your click through rate will still never be anywhere close to 100%.

  3. Oh what I meant was that the click through rate is 100% for EVERYBODY, so how can any program tell you how much YOU will get when the click-through rate is a function of 100 different things that change for every keyword? There are too many factors and trying to use a guideline, while better than no action at all, is thinking about it backwards IMO.

    Anyone who’s successful with PPC will eventually learn that you throw keywords into the system, then anyone that is close to breaking even are the ones you start tweaking. Then, as long as there’s a good ROI, then you keep them and continue to tweak the bid price, landing page (for conversion rate) and title/description for click through while continuing to add new keywords.

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