If you’ve been eager to break into the pet industry, now may be the time to do it: U.S. pet-related spending for 2016 came in at $6.675 billion, a 10.7 percent increase over the previous year. People tend to treat their pets like family, which means making sure they have a comfortable place to sleep, nutritious food, wearable accessories and all the extras they need to thrive, based on breed. Your pet supplies store could be the one-stop shop your community needs.
Customers (and their furry, feathery or fanged friends) will be the lifeblood of your operation. Along with pet business insurance, you’ll need the right staff and product lineup to truly exceed customer expectations. Here are five areas on which to focus.
Every brand, whether it’s a national chain store or a tiny local boutique, needs a unique selling proposition (USP) to set it apart from the pack. First, identify your target audience and think about what they buy and why they buy it. Then decide how your store can meet those needs. Your USP can be anything from offering personalized, one-on-one service to stocking the most natural pet foods in town.
How can you discover or create your niche? Consider why your customers visit you. One writer for The Balance writes about buying cat food at a local boutique specifically because they sell holistic pet products.
Your staff members should be pet lovers themselves, eager to help customers find the right products. Your store should hold regular training sessions so staff members can keep up on the latest industry news, like product releases, recalls, legislation and more. The more firsthand experience they have with products, the better.
The Staples: Food and Shelter
Food and shelter are the two most pressing concerns when people adopt a pet. Start by providing a wide variety of beds, kennels, pillows, crates, aquariums and more. Stock a variety of foods for dogs, cats, reptiles, fish and more—keeping in mind every brand should be certified and approved for pet consumption.
The Extras: Accessories
Sometimes it seems pets need almost as many supplies as humans! Your store should focus on the latest and greatest in supplies, from brushes to collars, heat emitters, nail clippers, gates, cage liners, toys, water bottles, food bowls, habitat improvements and more. You may even want to crowdsource suggestions so customers can request products they don’t see on your shelves.
Social Media Presence
It’s a well-known phenomenon that animal-related content and social media go hand in hand. Imagine the possibilities for your pet store. What could be more precious than seeing a video of a happy regular “customer” wagging their tail on a Monday morning? How else could you do a live unboxing of your newest shipment to drum up awareness and excitement? Social media is an important component of any content marketing plan, especially if you post 80 percent interesting/engaging lifestyle content and just 20 percent promotional content. Your social media feed will help you build a community, respond to customer inquiries and promote sales.
Of course, to protect your pet supplies store from lawsuits—for allegedly faulty advice, liability resulting from in-store accidents or property damage to your commercial space—you’ll need a pet business insurance policy with adequate limits. Get a quote for your SMB today!