Some successful businesses operate in very crowded marketplaces. For example, Amazon’s offering is as broad and deep as the river it borrows its name from – and since it isn’t the only operator in the online shopping stakes, it has differentiated itself through the speed of delivery and responsive customer service.
At the opposite end of the scale are organizations that are incredibly specialist in their offerings. With USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) being founded on products and services that are niche and in a league of their own, i.e. without competitors.
However, to survive in business, niche operators have to strike a fine balance between adapting their range sufficiently to cater to changing tastes and that of diluting their offerings so much that they no longer can claim a different category or point of different i.e. they’re now regarded as generalists.
There are specialists who manage this balancing act brilliantly – so if you’re in the same boat, with a niche business, you can learn a thing or two from for the successes of proven brands. With that in mind, here are three terrific niche brands to watch in 2020.
Few people of Scottish extraction can hear ‘the skirl of the pipes’ without the hairs on the back of their necks standing up and the blood surging furiously around their tartan hearts.
And don’t forget that it’s not just people in Scotland who love bagpipe music – there are bagpipers in immigrant communities of Scots all around the world.
Scottish music specialists McCallum Bagpipes are more than happy to serve this niche market with the beautiful artisan pipes they craft in their Kilmarnock factory before shipping them far and wide.
With an informative website, snazzy showroom and modern manufacturing techniques, this is one traditional business that’s moved with the times.
In any industry, technological advances and changing tastes mean that some products inevitably become obsolete. However, with the gentleman’s fashion accessories gurus, Albert Thurston, they’ve bucked the trend, and kept their products in demand, because their braces and sock suspenders have providence. Consumers want to be associated with the brand that has been proudly manufacturing quality garments since 1820.
Albert Thurston is enjoying a resurgence, perhaps thanks in part to the plethora of retro TV shows and longstanding movie series regularly hitting small and silver screens. If you happen to be a fan of Peaky Blinders or James Bond and you believe that classic accessories never go out of style, you’re probably a dedicated follower of this type of heritage brand.
When canny Scotsman James Ormiston first started selling spring wire for wigs and corsets in London in 1793, he surely couldn’t have predicted that today, wire specialists Ormiston Wire would still be thriving as an innovative family-owned business.
Wigs aren’t part of their current product offering, but this age-old business has survived by diversifying into everything from catenary wire for architectural installations to the fine wire for TV puppets. Through adapting the same core material to the needs of diverse markets, Ormiston has steered a steady ship for generations.
Take a leaf from the business books of these three brands and your own startup might still be serving customers a couple of centuries from now – with the right approach, carving yourself a niche can still be a recipe for success.
That’s our list! There are many more successful brands that stay true to their category and avoid diversifying as a catch-all strategy to grow sales and revenue. Staying niche and small is often a better strategy for the longevity of a brand. Share your own niche business advice in the comments section.
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