If you’ve ever stepped foot in a sporting goods store, an electronics store or hardware store, you have shopped in a specialty store. This is a retail store that focuses on a specific brand or product category. As an example, it’s the difference between shopping Walmart for a large, variety selection of goods versus heading to Sephora to purchase only make-up brands. Sometimes a specialty retail shop can be a small boutique experience or something larger like Dicks Sporting Goods.

Some other examples of specialty stores include:

  • Furniture stores
  • Bookstores
  • Florists
  • Shoes
  • Health foods
  • Video games
  • Outdoors store
  • Pet Stores

The specialty retail industry includes ecommerce businesses, as well. Especially after the economic upset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to do business online, most specialty stores incorporated online sales or improved on what they already had. For many this meant online ordering for delivery or curbside pick-up, thus expanding their customer footprint.

Specialty Retail Financials

Incorporating e-commerce boosted the financial reach of the specialty retail market. This year the market size for Small Specialty Retail Stores in the US is $44.6 billion. Globally, worldwide retail sales are poised to grow 5% year-over-year (YoY) to exceed $27.33 trillion in 2022.

The Advantages of Specialty Retail

The popularity of the specialty retail industry is thanks to the many advantages of this shopping experience. Typically, you will find customer service specialists who are well-versed in products available in their stores, giving you a greater personalized customer service experience compared to a big box or department store.  Having this level of expertise can greatly assist you with your purchases as a customer, and keep you coming back.

For most specialty stores, you know what to expect. For example, when you walk into a Rack Room Shoes you will find a variety of brands of shoes in many styles and sizes.  Specialty retail is a pleasant and focused shopping atmosphere.

You will find specialty brands provide higher quality products which means you shop higher caliber, reputable brands.

Plus, one of the benefits of specialty retail is providing workshops and special events right inside the store. For example, you may see an author signing books at a Barnes and Noble, or a free yoga exercise class at lululemon.

The Disadvantages of Specialty Retail

It appears there are so many positives to owning and operating a specialty retail store, but there are some perceptions of “cons” in this equation.

If you are looking for the convenience of a one-stop shop for all your shopping needs, you won’t find, for instance, both groceries and shoes available in a specialty store. Specialty is focused shopping, which is why specialty stores are usually found side-by-side in malls or shopping centers.

Because specialty stores are typically smaller from a brick-and-mortar perspective, there will be less available inventory stocked in these stores. But that’s not to say they can’t find what you’re looking for and ship it to you.

Items in specialty stores may sometimes be pricier than you will find in big box retails and there are often fewer sales. But again, you are paying not only for brand names but personalized customer service, which has value.

If you are thinking about buying a business in the specialty retail industry, here’s a few things you should know:

  • Customer Centric– Your bread and butter are your customers. You and your employees should be trained on how to properly provide personalized service. This means educating your staff about products you carry so they have the expert knowledge to assist the customer from the minute they walk in the door.
  • Study trends- Your floor displays and shelves should be stocked with what’s trending, not necessarily what you like. Analyze buying trends, know what your customers like and have your inventory reflect that.
  • Franchise– Starting a business in specialty retail will be much less complex when you partner with a franchise brand that has a market tested model, training, support and marketing assistance to help you succeed, rather than starting from scratch.

Wild Birds Unlimited is the Niche You Need

If you are looking for a niche retail opportunity, look no further than Wild Birds Unlimited. We are a nature and wildlife franchise. We specialize in providing anything hobbyists need to enjoy birds in nature. Inventory includes feeders, bird houses, binoculars, food, bird baths, and of course gift cards.

This is a growing industry with more than 80 million people enjoying the relaxation that comes from watching and feeding birds in their own backyard.  We are leaders in this specialty because we’ve created a niche by serving as a true neighborhood resource when it comes to wild birds in nature.

That’s why after 40 years in business we’ve grown to more than 350 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Our business model is successfully replicated and we offer expert training to our franchise owners, like you, because what sets us apart is the exceptional shopping experience, we try to achieve each time a customer walks in the door.

We train every Wild Birds Unlimited franchisee how to help customers transform their yards into a bird feeding habitat that not only brings song, color, and energy to their lives, but also one that benefits the visiting wild birds and the overall ecosystem.

If you are ready to get started as a franchise owner with Wild Birds Unlimited, click the button at the top of this page and fill out the application. We will get the conversation started.