Are Specialty Online Stores Worth It for a Beginner?

If you’re looking to start a brand new business, an online store generally offers some good prospects and can be relatively easy to set up. There are many options to pick from in terms of what you’re going to sell, though, and it’s not a decision you should make lightly. Even choosing your general theme can be a bit of a puzzle if you don’t know how to do your market research properly, and what to expect from each category. Specialty stores are sometimes recommended as a good beginner option – but are they really one?

Low Competition, But High Expectations

The main attractive factor behind the idea of specialty stores it that they tend to face less competition than more general ones. And while that’s true, this comes with a caveat – people also tend to expect higher quality right off the bat. This is especially true when it comes to product variety – you can’t expect to launch a store with just a handful of items and expect to make any serious money off of it. Take a look at Blade City, one of the leaders in the market for high-quality knives – do you think you could match that kind of inventory in the store you’re planning to start? If the answer is no, then this is probably not a very good idea for you. You’ll need to set some money aside for a pretty hefty initial investment just to ensure that someone will even look at your store.

The Importance of Arriving to the Market with a Splash

Speaking of initial investments, you will also have to pour quite a bit into your branding and promotion. People are generally prepared to spend good money on a well-developed specialty store, but that desire goes right out the window if they are faced with a cheap-looking design. It can cost a good deal of money to bring your storefront up to the same level as your competitors, and then you’ll also need to spend more to get the word out. Again, if you’re not prepared to deal with any large upfront investments, you’d best look elsewhere.

Challenges in Scaling Up

Then there is also the issue of what happens if you manage to become popular and establish yourself. While some specialty stores can easily maintain a stable presence on the market without any expansion, that’s not often the case. You’ll have to think about scaling up, which can come with even higher costs attached – especially if you need to expand physically at some point! You might think that you’ll just kick back and enjoy the business at that point, but you often can’t do that if you want to stay afloat in the long term.

In the end, it comes down to how invested you are in this idea, and how much you’re prepared to spend to make it happen. Even if you have the resources to get started, you are also going to need solid experience in the business world if you want to see your store succeed, so if you’re a complete beginner with limited resources, you should probably look elsewhere.


Dee is a well-respected business journalist with a deep understanding of global financial markets and a talent for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. With over 20 years of experience covering the business beat, Dee is known for his in-depth reporting and analysis of industry trends, as well as his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable to a wide audience.