Pet store success: survive as ‘Brick and Mortar’ in an online shopping world
Pet store success. We live in a new age.
Today, we order online and expect our purchases delivered the next day by UPS. Some now arrive same day by Uber or a drone.
So what is a ‘brick and mortar’ pet store to do?
Get creative, very creative. Do things that online stores cannot. Find a reason for people to shop at your store.
Creative is the keyword. Be creative or just give up. Those are the only choices.
But how do you do it?
Many possible ideas exist. Think back to the old days of pet stores. What brought people in? Pet store success required creativity then, too. What do the online stores not have?
One word: Animals.
People like animals. We owned a store in upstate New York called Animal Kingdom. We were referred to as the Jamestown zoo. As a USDA licensed dealer, we had Sailfin Dragons, Kinkajous, Piranha and even a Wallaby.
Yes, it was a little extra work to take care of them. However, people came in regularly with their kids to see the animals. While there, they bought things. You don’t have to get really exotic on what you carry. Fish bring people in. Reptiles bring people in. Snakes, spiders, scorpions are also big attention getters. Those bunnies and guinea pigs garner plenty of attention, too.
Also, consider having a store mascot. An entertaining bird, an affectionate bunny, or perhaps your own personal pet dog or cat fits the need. People love to hear updates on the mascot’s life. Include fun facts in the newsletter and on your website. Consider taking photos occasionally of your customers with the mascot, too.
And while we are talking photos, a photo board to showcase customers’ pet photos builds great rapport. Keep a camera nearby and when a customer visits with their pet, offer to take a photo to post on the board. Customers might bring a favorite photo of their pet to post. Pet store success depends on a strong connection with your customers and their pets. Seeing their pet on your board helps make that connection.
Increase Your Pet Store Success with Clean Dogs!
Self-serve dog washes draw regular visitors, too. People need to wash their pets. Not all can afford a professional groomer. Grooming their pets at home may be difficult and messy. In fact, many apartments do not allow pets to be bathed within.
So, they come in to use your dog wash, for a fee. While there, they buy shampoos, flea dips, and conditioner. A new collar and some treats might catch their eye, too. In addition, you might rent towels for their use. You create a new income stream without adding employees.
Pet Store Success by Giving to your Community
Community service events attract attention, too. Giving to your community can increase pet store success results. At our store, we did a fingerprint weekend for parents with young kids. A local police officer joined us, We supplied the fingerprint cards, ink and clean up supplies. Parents received their children’s cards, along with safety information. Families appreciated our concern and helpfulness. We made new friends, too. In the same area, we displayed products popular with families with young children including betta fish setups.
Pet ID clinics
All too often, pets become separated from their families. Hurricanes or other storms, car accidents, and even thunderstorms can cause a pet to be lost. Your customers will appreciate your help in ensuring their pets are properly identified. Several options exist, including AKC Reunite, which offers useful advice on running a pet ID clinic, too.
Consider items that are unique and less available online.
Natural and raw foods continue rising in popularity. People, concerned with their pet’s health, seek foods that are high quality. Keep your stock fresh and offer information on the products.
Talk with people.
Online shopping lacks that personal touch. Staff that knows the products and possesses the knowledge to answer customer questions might be your strongest asset.
Customers ask questions about foods, training, behavior, and products. Ensure your staff is trained and ready. Be friendly and helpful to each person entering your store. Get to know them by name.
In fact, get to know their pets, too. People love to talk about their pets. Additionally, as you talk with them, they may reveal a problem they are having. Indeed, you may increase sales greatly by just listening to your customers and asking questions.
Pet store success requires a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Hire the right people and train them properly. Then, encourage them to be of great help to each customer.
• 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the
true test of how much a company values them.
– Aspect Consumer Experience Survey (See article at business2business)
The ‘beat them at their own game’ approach often works, too.
Offer home delivery for a small fee. via your own drivers within a short distance around your store (5 miles or so). Also, take along other items to show, such as dog toys, leashes, and collars. Include special sale items. People like to touch and feel things as opposed to just looking at them on a screen. Use that to your advantage.