Life’s Not So Sour In The Sweet Spots

So you’re looking at launching a product or store. You’ll need a big dose of realism before you dig deep into your pockets and there’s an important fact you’ll need to start with.

In any new market you are considering entering, your potential customer’s shopping habits are already being met – and more than likely ingrained as habitual. Every need and every want is in some way, shape or form being serviced already. Me-too or more of the same is not going to cut it. However……

In some way, every retailer you admire today started by way of niche retailing.

They found an edge, a gap in the market either not serviced in a way that fully satisfied the target customer or not serviced at all because even the potential customer’s didn’t realise they wanted or needed what the retailer went on to offer them.

That’s the cyclical nature of retail and what makes it so exciting.

Whether you are a food retailer or an apparel retailer, there is always a niche opportunity just waiting to be exploited. While the oft worn phrase “There’s a gap in the market but is there a market in the gap?” is true, history has proven that the most successful retailers have come from a niche to broaden into mass adulation.

Niches are sweet spots that can be geographically based, product based, service based, channel based, promotionally based or a blend of the above.

The difficulty in uncovering niches in the 21st century is that our markets are so mature we have covered the obvious. Further, when we use traditional research methods, customers don’t know what they don’t know.

Today sweet spots come from entrepreneurial thinking, outside the square. People who look at existing customer behaviours and say “I think I know a way to do this better”. Better in a way that the customer sees it, values it and will pay for it.

9 out of 10 new products fail. This can be because traditional research methods don’t work, but is more often than not due to the fact that these so-called new products aren’t really new. They are variations on something that already exists without enough beneficial variance – as far as customers are concerned – to excite meaningful purchase behaviour shifts.

Inevitably this leaves these retailers with little choice but to use discounting to attempt to stimulate sales leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the retailer that has introduced the initiative – if not the whole market.

Finding a powerful sweet spot ensures fertile ground for growth. Growth that not only grows the pie, but is also capable of creating a whole new pie in its own right.