Shoppers love specialty stores – whether they are shopping for candles or tyres; jewellery or hardware; bedding or teen fashion, they choose to go to a retailer who specialises, rather than a general merchandiser.
So what it is that makes the specialty store special? Why do customers, in their droves, head for the doors of the specialty store?
I see three things that really set specialty stores apart and account for their massive popularity.
Firstly, it’s the depth of their product range. Whilst a general merchandiser might carry all of the products mentioned above, they cannot, by definition offer a broad selection in any individual category. Whereas the specialist, who sells only that category, can and does offer a significantly greater range of that product.
Secondly, it is the expertise of the staff and the customer experience that they deliver. If I want to walk in to a store, pick up my item from a not-too-large range of choices, pay and walk out, then the general merchandiser fits the bill. But if I want to have somebody help me choose, with in-depth knowledge of the products, an interest in the purpose of my purchase, and insightful feedback, then a good specialty store will give me a really positive and engaging shopping experience.
Thirdly, I think it is that specialty stores, above all others, need to truly get to know their customers, and to develop very specialised loyalty and promotion offers. Often less price-sensitive than other parts of the retail market, specialty stores need to have a clear view of their customers’ motivations to purchase and build those into their marketing plans.
If these are the features that set specialty apart from other forms of retailing, then how can business owners and managers in this segment ensure that they capitalise on them and deliver the range, experience and marketing that their customers demand?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve shared some customer stories, showing real examples of how iVend has helped specialty retailers achieve these goals. If you haven’t yet seen them, do take a look at how Chateau d’Ivoire, Laksala, and Valu Home Centres have seen dramatic improvements in their business by implementing iVend’s POS, Retail store analytics and inventory management.
Senior Vice President of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Americas, for CitiXsys, Paula Da Silva has more than 10 years’ experience in the retail industry associated with delivering innovative software solutions to mid and large sized retailers. Known for her strong track record of operational excellence and managing a global ecosystem of technology partners, Paula has been instrumental in building the iVend Retail into a global market leader in the retail industry and plays a major role in the Company’s overall performance.