A specialty store is a company that sells unique products within a limited product line. Examples of specialty retailers include furniture stores, bookstores, florists, and health food stores. These stores can be locally owned with a single location or have multiple locations and be part of a national chain. The main advantages of specialty stores are that they have product experience, efficient customer service, and higher quality products. In contrast, general stores sell a wide variety of products and product lines.
These stores usually have a large inventory of basic products that are cheaper, both in price and quality, than specialty stores. Marketing strategy is the most important factor to consider when opening a store; accounting and regulation do not play a role in choosing the specialty or the general condition of a store. The biggest disadvantage of specialty stores is that the effects of the business cycle can be amplified because they have all their “eggs” in a single basket. For example, on Facebook, IKEA dominates other household goods brands, accounting for 72% of the 12.8 million interactions in the Home & Gift category. IKEA has also transformed the category when it comes to multi-channel retail. Shoppers can view local stock status on product pages and schedule delivery times from their cart, a level of inventory transparency that is generally lacking in the Home & Gift category.
In addition to the flat shipping rate and home configuration, IKEA offers shoppers the option of selecting items themselves or having a store employee select items and ship them using a local courier service. Because specialty retailers focus on a product category, they tend to be smaller and have fewer locations than large stores. Tobacco retail stores are an example of this; they are retail stores primarily used for the sale of tobacco products and accessories, with the sale of other products being incidental. Retail pharmacies are another type of specialty store; these are pharmacies where medicines are prepared, dispensed, stored, or sold or where prescriptions are filled or dispensed to the general public. Distribution centers are buildings or structures mainly used for the storage of products that are intended to be later shipped to points of sale.