What Are Specialty Stores? Definition, Overview & 5 Facts

A specialty store is a business that focuses on selling a specific product or a narrow line of products. Specialty stores are often retail businesses that focus on particular product categories. Click on each section below to read more information about it.

What Are Specialty Stores?

Specialty stores are shops that sell only certain kinds of goods, like office supplies, clothes for men or women, or carpet. It’s not what they sell that makes a company a specialty store, but how many different kinds of things they sell. A specialty store is a place that sells only certain kinds of goods and is known for being good at them.

What Are Specialty Stores?

Examples of Specialty Stores

Open up the yellow pages to a section that interests you to find some examples of specialty stores. You might look up medical supplies, home decor, electronics, floor coverings, arts and crafts, toys, video games, or medical equipment. Any of the stores listed in those sections are specialty stores.

The internet is also a good place to find out about specialty stores. If what you’re looking for is something that can be bought online, all you have to do is do a quick online search. Even if it isn’t, looking for a specialty store “near me” will bring up a map with the locations of stores close by.

Here are some of the search results for “women’s boutique near me” on Google.com. As small businesses learn how to use this service, they will be able to put their business hours, contact information, and website in the search results, where customers can see them all.

Specialty stores don’t have to be in one place or run out of a single location. Even big stores that sell only a few types of products can use the specialty store strategy. Home Depot, Staples, and Victoria’s Secret are all specialty stores with hundreds of locations each.

Specialty merchants operate in a variety of sectors. There are a variety of specialized store types, ranging from big-box stores to mom-and-pop businesses. Here is a list of well-known specialty shop brands:


This category consists of stores that provide home healthcare products, such as first aid kits and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Rite Aid

Home Improvement

With merchandise ranging from timber to garden supplies, these businesses appeal to general contractors, do-it-yourselfers, and homeowners.

What Are Specialty Stores?

  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Rite Aid


In these establishments, pet lovers may purchase anything connected to their furry, scaly, and feathered companions.

  • Petco
  • Petsmart
  • Chewy

Office Supplies

Office supply stores provide office-related items and equipment, such as printers, paper, pencils, staplers, and labels, to satisfy the needs of businesses and home offices.

  • Staples
  • Office Depot
  • Office Max

Home Decor

With selections of decorative pillows, artwork, and candles, home décor businesses serve as interior designers for consumers.

  • IKEA
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • HomeGoods

Children’s Clothing

Retailers of children’s apparel carry shirts, bottoms, and outerwear for infants through adolescents.

  • Carter’s
  • Children’s Place
  • Gymboree

Implications of Being a Specialty Store

Accountants and regulators don’t care if a business is a general store or a specialty store. The difference is made so that employees can use it to help them find competitors and decide on a marketing strategy.

A general or “big box” store might advertise in many different markets, but managers of specialty stores need to find their niche market and use advertising methods that reach those potential customers.

What Are Specialty Stores?

Price is another important way to tell a general store from a specialty store. Depending on their strategy, specialty store prices may be higher or lower than those of general stores. If a specialty store limits its advertising and services to its niche market and buys products in bulk, it can keep its costs down and get a better deal from its suppliers.

So, they can lower the price. For example, a flower shop that only works with one distributor can get better deals than a general store that just places an order every Valentine’s Day.

On the other hand, if they have a lot of experience in a niche market, they may be able to charge higher prices because their products are better, or at least seem to be better.

This could be the case with consumer electronics, where an electronics store might charge more for the same product than a general store because they can offer service, expertise, and advice that customers value.

The business cycle, which is the ups and downs of economic growth over years and sometimes decades, will have a bigger effect on a specialty store. Even if the economy is bad, a general store will still be able to sell things like milk, bread, and eggs that people need to buy.

On the other hand, all of a specialty store’s eggs are in one basket. Photo and film shops come to mind. They did well as specialty stores until the early 1990s, when photography went digital and printers for the home got cheaper. The basket where those stores kept their money went away.

Advantages of Specialty Stores

Specialty stores offer many advantages, including:

1. Product expertise

Businesses that sell mostly one type of product, like cosmetics, sports gear, or books, can give their employees in-depth training that teaches them everything they need to know about that product. Customers who need help choosing the right product can get reliable information from these workers.

2. Pleasant atmosphere

The design and layout of specialty stores are often very different from the sterile and impersonal environments of general merchandise stores.

In contrast to discount supercenters, which often have bright fluorescent lighting and aisle after aisle of piled-up goods, specialty stores tend to have softer lighting and products that are arranged in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

3. Personalized customer service

People think that shopping at specialty stores is a more exciting and satisfying way to spend their time. Along with a friendly atmosphere, specialty stores offer customer service that can’t be beat.

Shoppers who are really into a certain product, like techies in an electronics store, are more likely to come back to a store where the staff knows their name, their preferences, and what they’ve bought there before.

When employees take the time to learn about a new customer’s shopping needs and answer questions with interest and sincerity, the customer feels like a valued customer. This makes the customer more likely to return.

What Are Specialty Stores?

4. Higher-quality products

Specialty stores serve a small group of people and have a small range of goods. So, these stores focus on putting together collections of high-quality items. On product labels, buzzwords like “locally made,” “handcrafted,” and “sourced in a sustainable way” are often used. People think of specialty stores as places to buy unique, well-made items.

5. Workshops and special events

Many specialty stores offer workshops, lessons, and classes that show off the products they sell. For example, a store that sells cookware and utensils might offer a cooking class where the tools are used. Customers can try out products to see how well they work and how well made they are before they buy them.

Disadvantages of Specialty Stores

Since specialty stores are so niche, there may also be disadvantages as well, such as:

1. Lack of variety

Specialty stores sell only a small number of products that fit a specific need or interest. This immediately cuts down the number of possible customers. Most of the people who shop at specialty stores are fans, people looking for gifts, or people who have a one-time need or want to be met.

2. Market dependency

Specialty stores can be risky businesses because they depend on a market where trends change quickly. If the products at a certain store stop selling well, people will look elsewhere to find a store that has what they want.

3. Seasonal swings

Depending on the types of products they sell, specialty stores can experience large changes in demand. When a product is out of season and not selling well, it is more of a problem for store owners than for customers.

4. Pricier products

People think that specialty stores are more expensive because they sell higher-quality goods. In some cases, this is true, because specialty stores don’t usually order items in bulk like discount stores do. This means that specialty stores have higher costs, which are passed on to customers in the form of higher prices.

5. Less convenience

Due to a lack of variety, specialty stores can’t meet all of the needs of their customers, so they have to go to other stores to finish their shopping lists. Some customers may find it inconvenient and not worth their time to go to a store just for one item, so they choose a general merchandise store instead of a specialty store.

Specialty stores are also not as common as mass merchandisers. This makes them harder to find and take longer to get to, which can be a turnoff for potential customers.

What Are Specialty Stores?


A specialty store is usually a retail store that sells only certain kinds of items. These stores specialize in selling a certain brand or type of product. A store that only sells cell phones or video games would be an example of a specialized store.

The best thing about specialty stores is that the people who run them and the people who work there know a lot about the products and services they sell. This means that as a customer, you can be sure that all of your questions about the product or service you want to buy will be answered right away by the employees of the specialty store.

Specialty shops, by definition, lack variety. Although they may sell a variety of distinct items, they all belong to the same category or group.

Another problem with a specialty store is that it can only make money from one market. While department stores can change their stock to keep up with changing shopping trends, specialty stores run the risk of losing customers if they change their products too much.

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