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What is a Specialty Store?

A women's clothing boutique may specialize in clothing that is worn at a particular type of social event.
Some stores specialize in types of clothing.
Many upscale boutiques specialize in trendy couture for women.
Farmers who grow organic produce often sell to specialty markets and health food stores.
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  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2014
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A specialty store is a shop, usually retail, that offers specific and specialized types of items. These stores focus on selling a particular brand or a particular type of product. For example, a store that exclusively sells cell phones or video games would be considered specialized.

The definition for specialty store is actually somewhat loose. Sometimes, it includes chain retail stores that sell a specific brand of clothing or clothing that is manufactured specifically for that store. If a shopper buys a shirt from the Gap, for example, it will have a Gap label.

By this definition, the store can carry a diverse range of products. Though a store might specialize in clothing, the garments could be for children, teens, or adults. It might also carry shoes or socks. Some places branch out even more, carrying clothes for the whole family, as well as accessories, dog bowls, toys, and a variety of other non-clothing related items, all with the store label.

In other cases, the specialty store is not brand sensitive, but offers certain kinds of items that could all be loosely classed together. A grocery store that specializes in selling organic products, for example, would be considered a specialty retailer. The many ethnic foods markets that import most of their products are also examples. The products they carry can vary significantly, but they all fall under the class of being imported from a specific place like Asia, England, or Italy.

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Another example is a store that sells one kind of item only, like cell phones or video games. The product selection is usually wide at a store that sells video games, and it is likely to have products that work with a variety of game systems. A cell phone store might sell many different cell phone brands, in addition to offering access to contracts with a specific cell phone company.

Some specialty stores are not linked to a chain of stores, but operate from a single location. A small health food store, a high-class women’s boutique that offers couture clothing, or a little bait and tackle shop may all be considered examples of such a store. Even though prices might be higher at these establishments, customers often prefer the expertise offered by small stores, which are often opened by owners who are passionate about the products they sell. In large chain stores, employees may not offer the same assistance and product knowledge. There are exceptions, of course, and some chain stores are known for their high degree of customer service and product knowledge.

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julies
Post 5

You will usually get much better service when you shop at specialty stores than you do from traditional department stores. Most of them will go out of their way to make sure their customers are satisfied.

If you are looking for a particular item, or don't know for sure what you want and are looking for some ideas, they can be very helpful.

I was looking for a certain Western style of purse once, and the owner of the store took quite a bit of time to help me find just what I wanted. The next time I was looking to buy a new purse, I went back to this store because of the great customer service I received.

John57
Post 4

If you are a "brand" shopper, you will find yourself at specialty stores most of the time. I think one thing that helps many of them be successful, is that if you know the brand, you know what to expect.

If you have a hard time finding jeans that fit you well, and you find a pair at Gap that become your favorite, you will probably return again to purchase jeans from them.

Many people have their favorite brands they buy over and over again at specialty stores, and these stores rely on their customers repeat business.

andee
Post 3

If I am shopping for something special or a unique gift, I find myself using specialty retail stores more all the time. What I like best about them, is you have a better chance at finding something that is different.

Sometimes they can be more expensive than other stores, but if you shop their sales and end of season clearance, you can get some great deals.

anon71925
Post 2

the specialty stores can't afford to lose a single customer due to bad service because they don't have that many products that they can make a sale from then and there.

anon41484
Post 1

In the retail industry, it has to do with the percentage of "hard goods" to "soft goods". i.e. Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney's New York, Bergdorf Goodmans, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor.

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