Riches From Niches: Shopping andDining/Culinary Marketing
Why? You are competing for the traveler’s most precious resource-time. On a beautiful day, what will make a visitor choose your institution or attraction
rather than another? Effective niche marketing is the essential matchmaker between the visitor’s interests and your offerings. The definition of a niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore, the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production qualify and the demographics that it intends to impact Niche marketing is not a new subject. In fact it’s used by many cultural and
heritage attractions, but not all are equally successful. One of the secrets of successful niche marketing is to have a consistent niche marketing strategy. Two of the best ways to extend your “brand” and communicate your niche market are through your venue’s stores and dining/culinaiy offerings. Remember, shopping and dining are the top travel activities in the United States, and cultural travelers are shoppers and culinary travelers. Museum Stores Are a Niche For example, museum stores are, in essence, a retail niche market, because they are branded with the enviable image of offering quality merchandise that is unique and vetted by the museum. That’s why we often hear shoppers say that they love shopping in museum stores. They can find different and unique items not found in traditional retail shops. Museum stores now more than ever are creating their individual nicheemphasizing that their merchandise is “authentic” to the theme and/or mandate of their museum, striving to offer merchandise that is evocative
of the place or experience, and providing memories of a visit to their destination. To achieve this, they are continually searching for local talent and resources that can provide them with merchandise that supports their niche. With all of these parameters, store managers are also charged with offering merchandise that meets a broad range of price points for children and shoppers of all economic strata and that generates traffic and sales. The challenge is to make your store more appealing by kicking up your merchandise to a well-honed niche that creates greater appeal for your guests. The interviews and case studies that follow will inspire you to develop your niche in new and innovative ways. We’ll look at:
• Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center • Pacific Asia Museum • The Court of Two Sisters • Biltmore Estate • Oregon Bounty • Authentic America
Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center by Sheila Armstrong, Executive Director, U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council Charming Savannah, Ga., is the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Known as the Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center, the handsome English Regency house is furnished in Victorian antiques. The museum store focuses on two complementary merchandise themes, carefully selected to relate to the lifestyle of the home and the heritage of the Girl Scouts. Store Manager and Buyer Linda LeFurgy attributes the success in creating this niche museum store to being true to the shop’s mission: “to offer a wide variety of high-quality merchandise for sale that relates to the Girls Scouts of the USA, reflects the historic collections in the museum, general Victorian-related products that fit within the stated period in
interpretation, and youth-oriented items that make available an appropriate mix of products for youth and adult visitors at a reasonable and profitable cost.” Linda’s diligence in supporting this mission is evident throughout the store, which features early Girl Scout memorabilia and collectibles, including replicas of books and games. There are official Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center patches and note cards with sketches of the museum commissioned by the store and sold there exclusively. An especially innovative collection of merchandise is a selection of crafts that Girl Scout troops have created and donated to the museum store. Many of these products emphasize the trend to recycle. For example, there are origami-like change purses that are created from Girl Scout cookie boxes! The store also has collections relating to the Victorian lifestyle of the Gordon family. For example, teatime is scheduled at the museum in keeping with the era, and the store carries an extensive selection of tea-related merchandise in all price ranges. In short, this museum store has successfully carved out its niche specializing in merchandise that appeals to Girl Scouts of all ages and those who appreciate the lifestyle of the Victorian era, or simply enjoy a lovely tea set!