Specialist shops are a great strategy to use when building your online presence in my opinion as the best in any field will always out do a jack of all trades. This requires great discipline on the dealers part however as it is very hard to walk past bargains at antique fairs. flea markets and others because they simple don't fit into your area of specialization.
So basically we have come to the conclusion that although the internet has changed the antiques business greatly it has not killed or never will finish the business completely, you as dealers just need to do what humans do best and adapt to the changed times and keep adapting and you will find ways to compete and successfully source and get product out there. The antiques and collectables business like many others is now a worldwide market for the masses to take advantage of and no longer a closed shop that is manipulated by the larger auction houses and larger established dealers. Embrace the new possibilities of this ever shrinking world (Not literally !) and push yourself into learning marketing and providing better service than you may have already done before, constantly learning and growing your knowledge is more prominent now than it ever has been for the average person like you and I. Learn as much as you can about marketing and photography and building brand and pcik a strategy and go!
But Most of all get a good understanding of basic business principles like 'supply and demand' and understand what factors effect this principle. For example if an online market place has 10.000 Royal Doulton ceramic figures listed then compare that to how many sold in the past 30 days and you will realise that the supply outstrips the demand which greatly effects the achievable prices, this is an important point to remember especially when you are buying stock from dealers and collectors who maybe purchased these types of items before the introduction of the internet.
So Do your homework!
I hope you all enjoyed this read and found it helpful to you by providing some value to your business goals.
Stay positive , Stay well and good luck!