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Hitting the Candy Sales Sweet Spot With Niche, Online Sales

You could say we have a candy problem in the U.S. At least one-fourth of the population eats candy every day, and Americans eat a whopping 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, which averages out to 11 pounds a person. That’s a lot of candy, and while that can’t be good for teeth or waistlines, it presents a big opportunity for anyone who owns or is looking to own a candy store. Candy stores can be a good business, but you have to know your market and stock your store accordingly.

These days, you will find very few candy shops that just sell mainstream candy. There’s a reason for that: It’s hard to compete. You can buy candy virtually anywhere: Grocery stores, pharmacies, discount and warehouse stores, convenience stores, department stores — even hardware stores often carry candy. A candy store typically can’t compete with these kinds of businesses, which benefit from the scale at which they can buy and keep prices low because candy is not meant to be a profit generator. Trying to compete straight up with these large stores is a recipe for disaster. That’s why you likely need a niche.

Most successful candy stores have some kind of a niche. They might sell old fashioned candy, foreign candy or any number of types of candy that you are not likely to find somewhere else. By filling a niche market, you will have a number of customers who know they will be able to find the candy they want at your store but probably not anywhere else.

Filling a niche is great, but you have to keep in mind that the market is likely to be small wherever you are. For example, consider that about half the candy market is for chocolate, so if you are specializing in lollipops, you already have cut your market in half. Locally, that market will be even infinitely smaller, which is why you also need to run an online candy store. Having an online operation in addition to your bricks and mortar one helps to expand your market and boost your sales, and the investment to do so is much smaller. Offering online sales could be the difference between making it and having to shut your doors.

Candy is a good business to be in, but you need to make sure you have a good business plan. Serving a niche market with a store and then supplementing that with online sales is usually a winning formula.

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