Many of us think "niche" was created in the Internet Age. However, there were niche restaurants, even before the Internet was invented. Let's learn from their long history and maximize the benefit of having a niche.
Usually, each restaurant serves a particular cuisine -- French, Italian, Chinese, etc. It seems that they are niche restaurants specializing in the particular cuisine; however, they are normal restaurants. You can order any kind of French dish at a French restaurant, like you can buy any type of book at a normal bookstore. In Japan, you can find real niche restaurants. Sushi restaurants (specializing in one kind of Japanese cuisine, sushi) are the famous ones. Also, there are restaurants specializing in buckwheat noodles, hot pots, and many others. Not only that, there are restaurants specializing in specific material, i.e., restaurants that cook only a specific type of globefish. These are the niche restaurants.
Like Internet niche stores, serving only niche cuisines (products) does not guarantee success. What makes a restaurant a success is the chef. Chefs at successful restaurants have a passion for food. Those passions make their food exceptional, and more people choose restaurants that serve better food. Moreover, restaurants are rated by many critics, like Michelin. Restaurants that serve exceptional food receive high ratings, and highly rated restaurants get even more customers.
When chefs' passions and niche are combined, restaurants will be more successful. Combining with a highly specialized niche, Japan has the most Michelin-3-starred restaurants in the world at the time of this writing. (Actually, Michelin said it was impressed by the specialised Japanese culinary landscape.)
Unlike chefs of top-rated restaurants, owners of Internet niche stores do not usually have such strong passions. Niche stores' Unique Selling Proposition is to differentiate their own store from others by selling niche products. These days, just having niche products will not differentiate your store because there are so many of them. By combining your niche and your passion, you can make your store stand out from the crowd. You might not receive Michelin stars, but more customers will come.
© April, 2013