While convenience stores are relied upon to provide the essentials, in a crowded market for everyday items, offering a niche range can turn your business into a destination and provide a lucrative extra revenue stream.
When Meryl Williams’s store, Pike’s Newsagents in the Welsh tourist town of Porthmadog, gained extra competition, she decided to find a new niche – jigsaw puzzles.
As Meryl explains, by choosing a niche product tailored to the needs of your local area, your store can become a destination, not just for these products but for your whole range.
1. Be aware of your locals
We used to have a small but broad range of toys in the shop – standard items like Bob the Builder toys. We chose to stop stocking toys and focus solely on jigsaws a few years ago after a beautiful toy shop opened on our street. We realised there was no point trying to compete and so developed jigsaws as our niche product range instead.
2. Build on existing demand
We knew there was demand for jigsaws because customers were asking for them. We already had a small range of just eight or 10 different puzzles from a local supplier, Williams of Swansea. Jigsaws work for us because we’re near a holiday campsite and they’re a fun thing to do when it’s raining and you need to keep adults and kids occupied.
3. Be aware of trends
Despite being in a tourist area, there is a move towards people not buying traditional souvenirs anymore, so jigsaws made sense. They appeal to adults and children: our sales split is 75% adults, 25% children and we pick stock accordingly. Kids love film-themed puzzles – Despicable Me and Moana jigsaws are very popular. Choosing the right size is important too: we tend to stock 1,000-piece puzzles because they’re popular.
4. Go direct with big names
We deal directly with our primary supplier, Ravensburger. We also work closely with Jackson’s of Sheffield. This helps keep prices competitive and through having a direct relationship we can secure good cost prices and gain access to a wider range. Ravensburger is a huge brand in the jigsaw and games market so jigsaw fans know the name and like that we stock their products.
5. Make it a focus
From our first tiny range, we now stock between 150 and 200 jigsaws at any one time. Kids need to see them at eye level, so we have a special corner display for the children’s puzzles. We make them a focus of the shop by placing 3D puzzles in the shop window, and mounting finished puzzles on the store ceiling.