Retailer Finds Its Niche Online

Discussion
Jun 16, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


As the headline on the company’s homepage clearly states, “Niche Retail is
our name for a reason.”


The online retailer with 40 employees in Michigan and Minnesota operates 14
separate Web stores from its www.nicheretail.com
base, selling specialized goods from golf bags to jogging strollers.


The company’s approach is to focus on product knowledge so it can provide consumers
with “detailed comparisons and reviews” to help them “make educated decisions
online.”


Internet consultant David Fry, who has worked with Walgreens, Staples and others,
told The Detroit News that Niche not only caters to the needs of shoppers
but the manufacturers of the products it sells, as well.


Most retailer Web sites, said Mr. Fry, don’t provide the level of product information
and customer service expertise of Niche Retail


“Manufacturers have largely been left behind in the Internet revolution,” he
said. “Home Depot doesn’t have John Deere’s best interests at heart.”


Moderator’s Comment: What do you think about Niche
Retail’s publicly stated approach to customer and vendor relations? Does it
give the company a competitive advantage over others selling products in the
same area?


This from Niche Retail’s homepage:


“We don’t believe in a hard sell approach – we prefer
educating our customers, so that they can make the best choice for their needs.


“Niche Retail is proud of both our reputation for honesty
and fair dealing and of the products that we service and sell. Our goal is to
maintain the highest possible ethical standards with our customers, our vendors,
and employees.”
George Anderson – Moderator

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4 Comments on "Retailer Finds Its Niche Online"


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Mark H. Goldstein
Guest
Mark H. Goldstein
15 years 8 months ago

These folks simply understand that shoppers hunt and peck their way to buying when online. Their taking the ‘next step’ after affiliate marketing and branding stores after key words is simply smart business.

Of course, the challenge is just beginning because they are locked into key words and/or need to pay a lot more today than last year for the most effective key words they may buy.

A smart loyalty and retention program around their shopper affinities would help them better leverage their brand and insure repeat visits.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 8 months ago

An excellent idea and an excellent site, well presented information and a good selection of products within each range. If only I needed a high chair, this is the place I would buy one. (And I’ve already decided that my son will be getting a new golf bag next Christmas.)

Karen Kingsley
Guest
Karen Kingsley
15 years 8 months ago

In recent months, I have bought a number of products online from etailers who specialized, but had extensive information online regarding their product lines. I’d never heard of the etailers, and would not have come across them had they not risen near the top via search engines.

I believe this is the wave of the future in etailing. Consumers are information-hungry and have ever-increasing capacity to comparison shop. Nielsen demonstrated that those consumers who have the most choice available to them demand even more. So once that particular Pandora’s box is opened, the door cannot be shut.

The successful ones will understand the desire for information that’s well organized, and they need to maximize their use of search engines as many consumers will only visit them once depending on the level of specialization (although I’ve already sent family members to two of the sites I bought from so they could buy similar product – proving that word-of-mouth will never lose its power as the most effective advertising medium.

Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
Guest
Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
15 years 8 months ago

Yes, they do offer a competitive advantage. With the increasing fragmentation of the consumer along with CPG’s trying to sell everything everyplace – many store personnel no longer know what they are selling. So this fills an important void. It sounds like a Consumer Reports Plus on-line. It will work for the group of consumers who are detail focused and have the time. I will still go to Home Depot and buy the John Deere.

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