Niche stores are those that cater to a specific, focused segment of the population. Unlike department stores, or websites that sell products in hundreds of categories, niche stores carry services or products relating to a very specific core concept only. There are many different types of niche stores, including hobby-based, occupational, and lifestyle-specific stores. Niche stores may also exist both in online and real property formats.
Hobby-based niche stores cater to participants in particular activities or sports. For instance, a store dedicated to board games might carry a large selection of new, used, and vintage games, strategy guides, or kits for do-it-yourself game building. A niche store catering to runners would likely carry shoes, clothing, training equipment, and books or videos that all center around learning to run or the sport and hobby of running.
In some cases, occupational niche stores may only be open to members of the public that work in the niche field; wholesale flower stores, for instance, are generally open only to those that work as professional florists. Some occupational stores may have one or two days per month where the storefront is open to the general public, as well. Occupational stores that are open to the public on a regular basis may offer significant discounts to people that can prove they are professionals in the target field.
Lifestyle-specific niche stores cater to those who make particular choices about the products they need or services they use. Natural food stores, for instance, may only carry products that are healthy, unprocessed, or organic. Christian stores may only carry books, videos on Christianity and supplies used in Christian-related ceremonies and rituals. People may be drawn to lifestyle-specific stores, since they are often operated by knowledgeable owners with experience in the targeted lifestyle demographic.
Some niche stores may do better in an online format, whereas others require a real property presence. A wholesale florist, for instance, will generally need to be an actual storefront, since the products are perishable and may change in availability on a daily basis. A store for chess lovers might be better as an online business, since stock may be limited to a very few items, making a literal storefront an unnecessary expense.