Find your niche and use it
Becoming an authority in a particular area will give your business an edge against its competitors.
Specialising and taking advantage of your position as an expert in the field is more profitable in the long term than making risky business decisions.
For example, Tom is a hardware store owner in a small community. He would find it difficult competing against large hardware corporations, so he specialises in ornate door handles and unique garden gnomes. Tom’s clients are tried and true and they come to his store knowing specifically what they want. For those customers looking for a hammer or browsing for Father’s Day gifts, the larger hardware stores offering mass choice will always be the first option.
Identifying and growing your speciality not only enables you to distinguish yourself in your market, it gives you an integrated marketing plan. Imagine if your business specialised in gluten free breads and pastas (an area of rising popularity and demand). You could advertise in health food publications, market to health food grocers or sponsor research into Coeliacs disease.
So what is a speciality and how do you find it?
You can break down your speciality by:
- Industry: Specialising in a particular industry will enable you to develop a unique expertise and so gain credibility with potential clients. It also provides you with an easy marketing focus.
- Demographic group: For example a fashion boutique for pregnant women or a gym for retirees. Selecting a specific demographic group gives you an immediately recognisable way to attract customers and provide the most appropriate experience.
- Geographic area: For example a tour company for a unique area of natural parks land or an espresso shop overlooking the beach. In some special cases, your business-appeal to clients may be based purely on its geographic location.
- Style: Choosing a specific style of service or product is another way to specialise. For example, a cookbook store or an oyster bar with seasonal oysters and champagne only.
- Unique knowledge: If you have truly unique knowledge, such as a travel agent specialising in South American culture, you could take advantage of this knowledge and become an expert in that field.
- Type of work: You may decide to select specific aspects of the work you do and specialise in that. For example, an accountant who specialises in Corporate Tax.
Finding your speciality will set you apart for the competition and channel your marketing efforts directly to the appropriate consumer. In addition, specialty stores have the advantage of standing alone in their market and so the freedom to charge higher prices.
Whatever your speciality is, or could be, take advantage of it and use it to its full potential.
Choosing a retail location for specialty goods
The choice of a store location determines the entire business life of a retail operation.
The line between a good location choice and a bad one is success and failure.
Specialty goods usually mean high unit price, bought infrequently and with due consideration of the customer; for example precious jewellery, fine foods, expensive perfume or high end clothing brands.
As specialty goods are often sought by consumers who are already, ‘sold’ on the product, brand or both, it is vital that in choosing a location the target market is kept in mind. A location with a higher concentration of high income earners would be a good start.
Furthermore, factors such as:
- Proximity to competitors
- Availability of access routes to the store
- Customer attraction power of the particular shopping district
These are just a few of the many factors needing consideration in choosing the perfect location for our store.
It is vital to remember that the first step of choosing a retail business location takes place in your head. Before you do anything else, you must conceptualise the direction and market of your business. What are you long term objectives and what is it you are trying to achieve?