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How Do Specialty Stores Fit Into Your Products’ Sales Strategies?

How Do Specialty Stores Fit Into Your Products' Sales Strategies?

Understand where your products fit with these types of stores

It’s no secret that the world continues to compartmentalize many aspects of everyday life. Watching TV isn’t as simple as flipping on your set, waiting for the guide to scroll around to see what’s on that evening. Now, it largely depends on which streaming services you subscribe to. 

While this is a relatively new phenomenon, the world of retail sales has been heading towards this way of exclusivity for a while now. Sure, the big box and general retailers are a huge part of sales plans, but where do we go when we’re in the market for specific niche products? We head to Specialty Stores.

What’s so special about Specialty Stores?

Whether brick-and-mortar or online, specialty retailers usually cater to a singular type of crowd in the market for specific products. Their success will often depend on how well they can cater to their customer base. In brief, specialty retailers differ from grocery and convenience store product sales in a few distinct ways.

  • Specialty stores are usually seen as experts within a certain niche
  • Products sold in specialty stores will typically come at higher price points
  • Physical locations aren’t usually top-of-mind and thus, are harder to find

Knowing whether or not specialty stores are where you should sell your products comes by understanding your best customers and matching them to the relevant specialty store’s best customers. 

We know that customers will visit REI, for example, to find sports and outdoor equipment usually of a higher quality while being helped by staff that is often more well-versed in outdoor equipment than the general public. At the same time, REI store locations aren’t very prevalent relative to big box stores. Finding a Walmart near you? Easy. Finding an REI near you? Good luck. 

Do my products need to be carried by Specialty Stores?

Where is your ideal customer shopping? If a customer is going to Target in search of a fishing pole, then they probably aren’t your best customer if you manufacture top-of-the-line poles. 

Your premium, high-quality, high-price-point products require brokers, distributors or networks of retailer relationships to get your specialty products into the right niche retailers. Your brand’s product needs to share a specialty store’s target customer. 

But that isn’t all you need to take into account. 

How do my customers overlap with specialty retailers’ customers?

It’s imperative to build a list of buyer personas if you haven’t already. These semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers have helped you sculpt proper sales channels, getting your products in front of these customers where they are shopping. Another thing to consider with these customers is that they will typically shop at different specialty stores for different specialty items.

For example, would your ideal customer go to a big-box store to shop for food and sporting goods? Or, would they shop at specialty food stores and specialty sporting goods stores? If your company manufactures both food and sporting goods products, it may seem logical to get both of those products into the one store. 

But your ideal customer is not there; why not?

The problem here is that most customers visit specialty stores for the specialty products. If they came in for hunting equipment, they’ll leave with hunting equipment (probably disregarding any food options that may be around). So, with specialty stores, product manufacturers need to be wary of the limited space available to products outside their specialty. Would they benefit from carrying your product?

Am I currently wasting money? Who can I talk to about this?

If you’re concerned about spreading your inventory too thin, or you’re unsure if your products are reaching the right customers, our experienced professionals at Kelly Brand Management are ready to help. We’ve worked with a number of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to find the best paths to growth within the speciality channel space. Schedule a consultation with our grocery, convenience, and specialty store sales professionals today.

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