Are we living in a golden age when it comes to life with pets? According to Nielsen data, pet parents are not shy about voicing their goals to keep their pets as “happy, healthy and pampered” as possible. The needs of their four-legged friends come first, and in the quest for the best resources, they’ll be searching for a store that understands their core concerns and reflects their own values.
Today’s pet parents have access to an unprecedented amount of information to build the best possible lives for their pets. That’s where the independent spirit of local and family-owned pet supply shops can play a central role. The following presents unique ways to offer products and services to help pet parents accomplish their goals.
Pet emotional well-being: Sometimes, the animals we live with put their anxieties on display. Because they can’t talk, it’s not always easy to know the source of the stress. (That can be especially true if they lived elsewhere before making their way to their forever homes.) For that reason, pet parents are looking for solutions to bring comfort and relief. Why not expand that base lineup of catnip and cozy tent beds, and devote an entire section to pet wellness? Calming shirts, kitty-calming pheromones, special harnesses, and safe, vetted supplements are all products that will resonate.
- Take the effort a step further, and offer printed guides and resources to help pet parents figure out why cats and dogs hide, overgroom and exhibit separation anxiety, and what they can do about it.
- Along with these guides, consider offering onsite classes devoted to pets’ mental wellness, taught by local experts, such as vets and animal behavioralists.
- Finally, adding wellness services like a relaxing pet spa, a pet massage therapist or perhaps even a pet acupuncturist is worthy of consideration.
Pet tech: As you may have seen, there’s a growing line of smartphone-controlled pet gadgets. Some are tools that help pet parents monitor their four-legged friends’ vital signs and behaviors. Others offer convenience for busy schedules, while others still let pet parents stay connected while they’re at work. (For example, the interactive treat dispenser.) While these are new to the market, there’s an almost limitless potential for growth, reaching a projected $1 billion by 2023. By offering pet tech in your shop, you have an excellent opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted seller in this new segment in the pet industry.
Yes, tech gear does come with a hefty price tag and would likely require additional security steps. But the upside for you is your bricks-and-mortar model offers that hands-on opportunity for a product demo and test run.
Celebration station: Almost no one hesitates to offer gifts to their pets. But what about pet birthdays and pet parties? Yep, pet parents are down with that! By adding a few simple services and resources, you can capitalize on this trend. For starters, have a talk with your supplier of those beautiful dog biscuits that resemble homemade, hand-decorated cookies. If they’re already in the business of baking custom cakes for dogs, you should talk about expanding your partnership.
While you’re at it, is there an employee or two who would love to take the role of a pet party consultant? Even better, does your shop have rentable space? Set the scene for a dog-centric soiree, or rent out “paw-ty” supplies along the lines of a portable photo-booth kit with lots of photo-worthy props and accessories for dogs and cats. Using your local connections and resources, you can be the local go-to for pet parents when it comes to planning and executing a tail-waggin’ party.
Building a community: There never are enough public places where dogs are welcome. Which is why it’s always smart to open your store to furry friends who are shopping with their pet parent and also to create a space where pet lovers can connect. Set up and publicize informal onsite meetups, and see if you get any traction. Offer community ed-style classes for pets and owners, where humans can learn while bonding over their shared adoration for four paws and whiskers.
You’re perfectly positioned to play a big role in the lives of animals and the people who love them! Give these ideas for products and services a try, and see where they take you.
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