Specialty Stores: Examples & Overview

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  • 0:01 What Are Specialty Stores?
  • 0:24 Examples of Specialty Stores
  • 1:36 Implications of Being…
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dr. Douglas Hawks

Douglas has two master's degrees (MPA & MBA) and is currently working on his PhD in Higher Education Administration.

Despite the Internet and prevalence of 'big box' stores, some retailers continue to be successful by focusing on specific products. In this lesson, we'll get an overview of specialty stores and identify some examples of them.

What Are Specialty Stores?

Specialty stores are retail businesses that focus on specific product categories, such as office supplies, men's or women's clothing, or carpet. It isn't the product they sell that determines if a company is a specialty store, but rather the breadth of their product offering. If a company could be considered an expert in a certain type of good, it is a specialty store.

Examples of Specialty Stores

To identify some examples of specialty stores, open the yellow pages to a category that interests you. Perhaps you'll look up medical supplies, home décor, electronics, floor coverings, crafts, toys, or video games. Any of the stores listed in those sections will be specialty stores.

Of course, another source of information on specialty stores is the internet. A simple online search will give you a number of online specialty stores, if what you are looking for is conducive to online shopping. Even if it isn't, searching for a specialty store 'near me' will generate a map and locations of nearby stores. Below are select results from Google.com for the search 'women's boutique near me.' As small businesses learn to take advantage of this service, they can provide their hours of operations, contact information, and website - all of which will be available for the customer in the search results.

Google Search Results for ~

Specialty stores don't have to be single locations or local businesses. Even large retailers, if focused on specific products, may pursue a specialty store strategy. Home Depot, Staples, and Victoria's Secret are all specialty stores that have hundreds of locations each.

Implications of Being a Specialty Store

It doesn't matter to accountants or regulators if a business is a specialty store or a general store. The reason for distinguishing the difference is for internal reference in identifying competitors and deciding on a marketing strategy. While a general or 'big box' store might advertise across a variety of markets, managers of specialty stores need to identify their niche market and pursue advertising methods that target those potential customers.

Price is also an important distinction to make between general retailers and specialty stores. Specialty store prices may be higher or lower than a general store, depending on the strategy they pursue. If a specialty store keeps overhead low by keeping advertising and services limited to their niche market and orders product in bulk, they have less overhead to cover and can negotiate a better rate with suppliers. Thus, they can charge a lower price. For example, a flower shop that works with one exclusive distributor can get better deals than the general store that just puts in an order each Valentine's Day.

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