Stores need to promote these special items that
customers won’t be able to get elsewhere. “If you sell
something really beautiful or unique—for pets this
is often beds or leashes or collars—put it out front
and sell me on the dream,” says Dean Praetorius, a
29-year-old dog parent living in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Also, give customers a reason to come back. Many
are coming to your store because of your knowledge,
but if your customer service and benefits aren’t
worth the trip, they’ll shop elsewhere.
Praetorius suggests a loyalty program to guarantee
repeat customers. “Smart businesses can reward
repeat customers and ensure a higher volume of
purchases,” he says. “If I’m not incentivized to keep
shopping with you, after the initial recommendation
I’m going on Amazon to find what you just sold me at
a cheaper price.”
If a shop is more focused on selling food and treats,
it needs to carry brands and products that aren’t
available in other nearby shops or online retail giants.
Stores also need to be aware of how consumers are
shopping. If the aisles in a store are too small to
walk down easily or if products are overflowing off
the shelves causing potential hazards, this is going
to steer customers away.
Kasey Stevenson, a 29-year-old mother from
Brookville, N.Y., notes that she doesn’t buy her pet
food online like most of her peers because Chewy
.com doesn’t carry the brands she buys. However,
she chooses to go to Petco over her local pet store
because of its layout.
“The [local] store is super crowded and not easy to
navigate—I have two kids, so the ease of shopping
is a huge factor,” she explains.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
Pet businesses can no longer consider themselves
just a place of transaction—if that’s all a customer
wants, they can easily do that online. Consumers
expect to be able to go to their local shops and get
more than just supplies. They expect an experience.
“The gold is in making it an experience when
customers come in,” says Hyder. “Brick-and-mortars
have to focus more on customer service and the
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that there is very little price variance on
essentials, but Millennials love to purchase things they don’t see everywhere else,”
says Cao. “The key is to be open to stocking great new products, to offer buyers
something fresh and a great new experience every time they pop into the stores.”
Decorative & Functional Floor Mats
Beds, Apparel & More!