March 26th, 2020
by Mike Rubini, Founder @ usecart.com

Welcome to the second instalment in our Selling Well series, which focuses on products that are garnering plenty of sales according to our exclusive e-commerce data sets and models.

In the spotlight today are products designed to help people live their best lives; whether that’s a self journal for better planning, productivity and accountability, or a discovery deck designed to inspire meaningful conversations.

Now, a quick search on Cart for the term ‘journal’ returns more than 7.5k products, while the term ‘planner’ reveals 2.6k products, so more than 10,000 in total.

Here’s a selection of the latest journals:

Star Trek Spock's Journal

Supernatural Hardback Journal

Coffee, Mass, & Kicking Ass Journal

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Journal

Game Of Thrones Night Is Dark And Full Of Terrors Journal

Thin Blue Line Spartan Spiralbound Notebook Journal
As you can clearly see from the image above, a lot of merchants are just doing POD (print on demand) and most of them just change the cover of a pre-defined journal. Instead, what we'd advice is to come up with your own version of what's in the book so that your product is completely custom and, thereby, different from anything else.

So why the focus on journals, planners, discovery decks and other no-content / low content book-related products anyway? Well, it’s a pretty hot marketplace right now, with one store we’re tracking selling nearly $20k worth of so-called ‘Intimacy Decks’ in just 30 days.

If you’re thinking "Wait, what are no-content books?" The simple answer is books with little or no words in them. Journals and planners with just basic lines to write on are both examples of no-content books, as are adult colouring books.

Now the store in question is bestself.co and it is a perfect example of how putting in the legwork and then niching down with a range of products can be extremely lucrative.

  • bestself.co
  • See store details
    Store selling dog beds

    The best self story

    Started in 2015 by dynamic duo Cathryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer, bestself (as its name implies) is an eCommerce business that specialises in products designed to inspire people to think bigger and achieve their goals, so they can become the very best version of themselves.

    After it opened its virtual doors, bestself went from zero to 8-figures in just 24 months. It has also won a bunch of prestigious awards, including the Shopify Build a Business Competition in 2016 and the Shopify Build a Bigger Business in 2017.

    At the time of writing, bestself has 49 productivity and self-help products, the majority of which were added back in May 2018. Nevertheless, they are still actively adding products, with their latest addition, this Limited Edition Custom Self Journal, added on March 19th, 2020.

    In terms of traffic, aside from direct traffic, BestSelf gets most of its traffic from search. In February 2020, they had 120,000 visitors (source: similarweb).

    In terms of prices, bestself’s most expensive product is its Accountability Club Coaching, which sells for $1495, while its cheapest product sells for just $5. In fact, most of bestself’s products retail for around $20 - $30 but the store’s average product price is up at $71 because of the high ticket item we just mentioned.

    Nevertheless, these relatively low prices translate into some serious revenue, with bestself generating $25k+ worth of sales in just 7 days. That’s almost $3.5k a day selling books that contain no actual content! And, that's with sales down due to the corona virus situation.

    In the last 30 days, we tracked bestself to have brought in $105,117 in revenue from all of their products.




    Killing it with intimacy

    In addition to products designed to boost productivity and help individuals achieve more, bestself also sells ‘Discovery Decks’. These are prompt cards that can be used to spark up meaningful conversations and strengthen relationships.

    Of bestself’s top five most popular products, three are Discovery Decks: Intimacy Deck, Icebreaker Deck and Little Talk Deck. They also made a bundle containing all of these. In fact, the Intimacy Deck (priced $24.99) is the store’s top selling product, generating sales worth $18.6k in the past 30 days alone. Since being added back on August 16th, 2019, the Intimacy Deck has been purchased 3350 times, bringing in $83.7k worth of revenue for bestself.

    Interestingly, while the Intimacy Deck is sold throughout the week, it achieves peak sales on Mondays and Wednesdays, and experiences quite a lull at weekends.



    While bestself has sold its Intimacy Deck in Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand, 80% of purchases are made within the United States.

    While we are writing this, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 emergency. We think that with more and more people staying at home, and thus having date nights and board/card games at home, their Intimacy Deck product is only going up in sales.


    Leveraging social media and content to the max

    Bestself is a store that’s extremely active on social media. Its Facebook Page has just short of 200k likes and its Twitter account (@bestselfco) is followed by nearly 5k people. It also has an Instagram account with 130k followers, which it uses to share inspirational quotes and useful tips to its audience. Adding value like this is a sure fire way to stand out in the crowded world of social media.

    The store has also leveraged Facebook Ads in the past to gain further exposure for its Intimacy Deck. Here are a couple of examples that appeared just a few months ago:

    Whether you're starting a new relationship or reinvigorating an existing one, use the Intimacy Deck to talk in a way that strengthens your relationship for the better ♥️

    🚛 Shipping next week and already almost sold out! Get yours today before it's gone! ⌛️


    Ad Display Format: image
    Ad Created: 7 months ago
    Ad Started: 4 months ago

    😍 The perfect addition to date night 😍

    These fun and engaging cards help you introduce the same curiosity and excitement you shared on your first date together ♥️

    🚛 Shipping next week and already almost sold out! Get yours today before it's gone! ⌛️


    Ad Display Format: image
    Ad Created: 7 months ago
    Ad Started: 4 months ago

    As you can see, both ads create a sense of urgency by implying that stocks are almost gone already, which is a classic copywriting technique designed to encourage the reader to act swiftly.

    Bestself’s use of content has also been the subject of numerous articles online. That’s because when Cathryn and Allen first started out they focussed on creating high-quality content that added real value to their audience’s lives. The key with this content was not just making it valuable, but ensuring it got in front of the right people e.g. the people that really mattered to bestself (potential customers).

    Cathryn and Allen did this by joining relevant Facebook groups and Reddit forums, then establishing themselves as thought leaders. In addition, all the content the duo produced was created with their ideal customers at the forefront. This simple tactic ensured maximum engagement and reach for the couple’s online posts.


    Is bestself’s success replicable?

    In a word, yes (providing you have a clear plan, like Cathryn and Allen did).

    Data shows that search volumes for the search term ‘journal’ have been averaging 78% over the last 5 years, experiencing small peaks each January - presumably when people make New Year’s resolutions to get their lives more organised and on track.


    Courtesy of treendly.com


    It’s a similar story for the term ‘planner’, which has enjoyed a monthly average of 66% and witnesses distinctive peaks at the end/start of a year - probably for a similar reason as the term ‘journal’.


    Courtesy of treendly.com


    With more and more people wanting to take control of their lives and start living them the way they want to, there is a tremendous amount of opportunities available for eCommerce businesses that focus on this niche. Everyone wants to enjoy better work-life balances and if you can market and sell products that will help them achieve this, you could create an extremely lucrative business.

    The best part of all is that you can potentially capitalise on this opportunity simply by selling no-content books, meaning you don’t even need to spend huge amounts of your time writing (except for your marketing).


    At Cart, we spot hundreds of opportunities like the one we just described.
    To have access to the products that are selling the most across a network of more than 100,000 stores, consider requesting access to our enterprise plans. Book a demo here.

    Disclaimer: usecart.com is not affiliated to the store featured in this blog post in any way. usecart.com can't be held accountable for any purchase decision based on the data featured.

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