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Specialty products becoming the new norm

With the August issue of Paint & Decorating Retailer magazine comes another annual product roundup featuring some of the year's most exciting and innovative product launches.

Much like the 2013 edition, one of the common themes among this year's selections is the prevalence of specialty products. From Purdy's new line of Marathon Roller Covers to RedSeal Supreme Interior Self- Priming Paint by Pratt & Lambert Paints, the growing number of products designed to suit a specific consumer or tackle a particular job is staggering.

As an independent retailer, there has never been a wider selection of specialized products to carry. And with a new season upon us, there has never been a better time to take stock of what's lining your shelves and add to them accordingly. Because if there's one thing our recent product roundups have taught us, it's that the specialized product bandwagon is picking up momentum – and it has no intention of slowing down.

Here are five reasons the movement toward specialized products is here to stay – and why you would be doing your customers (and yourselves) a favor by carrying them.

Blog 0812141. Going global

Once upon a time – and not too long ago – companies relied on expensive advertising campaigns and favorable product placement to boost sales of new product lines. With the growth of online marketing and eCommerce, however, companies can reach their niche audience at a lower cost than ever before. The extended reach means not only lower risk and higher reward, but also greater access to potential consumers across the globe.

2. Growing demand

Thanks in large part to HGTV and other networks devoted to décor and design programming (not to mention social media sharing sites like Pinterest), the DIY community has exploded in recent years. Instead of hiring out each and every project, people have realized they can do things for themselves if given the right tools. Enter manufacturers like Rust-oleum, whose InstaPatch Concrete Repair and FastKote Polyurea Floor Coating can help Average Joe renovate like Bob Vila.

3. There's a tool for that

When you're in a bind, products lying around the house can often get the job done; the edge of a butter knife can serve as a screwdriver, a twisted hanger as a corkscrew. But when given the option – especially in the world of paint and decorating – people prefer having the right tool for the job. And they're usually willing to pay for it – which leads to No. 4.

4. Show me the money

Along with the growing demand for specialized paint and decorating products comes the opportunity to profit from manufacturing and supplying said products. Whether it's a multi-national corporation with hundreds of SKUs or a brand new startup with one, companies are devoting more and more of their resources to research and development and jumping on the gravy train of what's become a multi-billion dollar industry.

5. People like choices.

Gone are the days when consumers will settle for "good enough." Whether it's paint colors or brushes for different surfaces, people have come to appreciate – and expect – a wide variety of choices for each and every product. And the more you carry on your shelves, the better the chance you'll have a product line as unique and diversified as the customers who walk through your door.

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