Finding Your Niche: The Container Store

The idea for this post came from my friends at Day’s Market. Thanks for sending the link to the Good Morning America story about The Container Store. You guys rock!

Until recently, I had never heard of The Container Store. If you are looking to see how to differentiate your business or to develop your own niche, these guys have figured it out.

Who would have thought of taking something as generic as “containers” and building a business out of it? Containers, closet organizers, tubs, you name and they have it. But so does everyone else. However, what they have done is take this entire category and made it convenient, fun and relevant.

They also do some great things to make shopping with them a meaningful experience. First, they engage their guests. They hire great people and turn them loose on their customers. They smile. They greet everyone. They talk about their current specials. They show them to items. They make product suggestions. This list goes on and on. It’s not magic; they just hire people that care and enjoy being with other people.

Second, build their stores and merchandise them for women. All of the office supply stores carry a lot of these same items. But what The Contain Store does that sets them apart is to show the people who shop with them, mainly women, how their products can be used to make their lives better. Displays are focused on using items women use, everything from women’s shoes and clothing to the toys their kids play with. They know their customer and they do everything possible to be relevant to her needs and wants.

Finally, they take care of their team members. The Contain Store is well known for how they treat their employees. Just like Zappos, these guys understand that if you care for your team, they will in turn go out of their way to make the customer’s experience just as great.

Check out the report that Good Morning America did on The Container Store.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What products do I really want to sell?
  • How can I sell those products in a meaningful way?
  • What can I do differently from my competitors to help my business stand out?
  • Who are my primary customers?
  • What do they care about?
  • How can I modify what I am doing to focus it more on my customers?
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