The pet industry is a growth industry, one that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The question is, when is it the right time to introduce new services and offerings to your smaller retail operation?
When you look at the trends around pet parents and their beloved animals, one thing is clear: This is your time to shine. In 2019, pet-related expenditures came to an estimated $75.38 billion in 2019, a growth of $2 billion from 2018, according to the American Pet Products Association.
So you may be asking yourself why you should consider expanding when other brick-and-mortar retailers are closing sites, in the midst of double-digit online sales growth. One thing that works in your favor is the fact that the pet parents are deeply committed to their pets. In that same APPA survey, a resounding majority of pet parents — 90% — describe their furry friends as full-fledged family members. So even if a recession were to hit, maintaining a high level of pet care will remain at the top of their priority list. Keeping that top of mind can help guide your decision on which services are worth adding.
Without a doubt, pet parents are highly motivated to create the best possible lives with their pets. But does it make sense for you to add grooming, a vet clinic, pet training and other in-house services? Let’s look at some things to consider as you set a vision for growth.
Honing your purpose
Rather than expanding for the sake of expansion, soul searching may be in order. Rather than add services and products willy-nilly, take time to look at the big stuff and answer some of the fundamental questions:
- Why are you here?
- How do you solve problems?
- Why would pet parents choose your shop over a competitor’s?
- What are your core strengths and how do you get better at it?
Having these answers can help you sort out which services are worth pursuing, and what should be left to others. As important as it is to cast a vision and trust your gut, big decisions should not be made without taking time to collect some facts.
- Spend time with your managers and staff, asking them how they see their roles in the lives of pet parents.
- Write a survey for your customers to learn what they care about most. Which problems are they trying to solve?
- In lieu of a market analysis, do an inventory of pet services in your area. Do you see any gaps or opportunities you could incorporate into your own shop? What about partnerships?
Differentiating from online
As online sales continue to gain ground, it’s more important than ever to differentiate, providing offerings that can never be replicated online. Let’s look at some of the key areas.
- Convenience: In a 2020 retail market, convenience is key to winning sales. When adding services or products to your lineup, it should, above all else, make life easier for pet parents. While picking up a fresh bag of food, how great would it be if they can also get their dog’s nails clipped during the same visit?
- Value: In the year 2020, customers have a choice. But that doesn’t mean your ideal customer is driven by boast-worthy discount prices or same-day-delivery. Remember, because your customers are buying things that help them nourish and care for their pets, your best bet is to drive value and excel at it.
- Community: Pet parents are looking to connect. Your store can be the place where (well-behaved) dogs are welcome to tag along. The place “where everyone knows your name” is also essential at any stage, so be sure to make it a personalized experience. Others still would love a chance to meet other like-minded pet parents.
One thing that makes communities great is vibrant local businesses. The truly great ones become local institutions that people turn to and trust. For you, that’s what the decision to add services really comes down to: becoming a resource that gives pet parents a place to build healthy, meaningful lives with their furry friends!
Social media marketing is a simple way to inform and educate pet parents in your community, and make your page worth a follow. NutriSource Pet Foods makes this task easier. Visit NutriSourcePromoMktg.com, set up your free account, and we’ll deliver great, ready-to-publish pet content to your inbox. All you have to do is share it with your customers so you can do even more to help pet families live happy, healthy lives.