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What Is Specialty Retail?

Specialty retail is a way of referring to retail stores which focus on a specific product category or sub-category, rather than a broad range of product lines.

As a specialty retailer has a narrower focus, it is important that they can offer the customer a good selection in terms of models, sizes, colours or whatever are the relevant attributes for the type of goods in their chosen category.

If a customer visits a specialty store, they are already expressing an interest in that product category. They may expect the staff working in the store to be experts on the products on offer, and ask for advice and guidance. Having staff who can offer expertise and make recommendations is a way that specialty retailers can distinguish themselves from broader, multi-category stores. A customer is likely to trust the recommendation of staff in a specialty store above that of staff in a store with a much broader range of product lines.

The customer experience offered by a specialty store is often more personalised and this can be reflected in the store’s operation. A large store with a broad range of items will typically leave customers to make their own way around the store, selecting the products they require and seeking assistance from a member of staff if they need it. A specialty store is more likely to greet customers and offer a proactive approach to customer service.

Although specialty retailers can offer this point of difference in customer service, they will still receive competition from multi-category retailers who may be able to attract price-sensitive customers with discounts.

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