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Expanding Your Store’s Services

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There is no doubt that consumer’s wants are ever-changing.

Nowadays, they are looking for value added services as well as ways to make efficient use of their time. Stores that evolve with consumer needs will set themselves apart from their competition.

During a recent trip to the New Jersey Shore, I noticed how some of the smaller businesses have changed with these new consumer demands. No longer do I have to walk down to the bike store to rent a bike for the week, I can have it delivered and picked up- all for an extra charge.

Same goes for other things like kayaks and beach gear. It’s perfect because it allows me to spend more time with my family. Some businesses allow me to place my order online or over the phone, which is very convenient.

So what can a pet store do to expand their services?  How about food delivery, grooming services, training classes and nutrition seminars.

When it comes to food delivery, you can offer a service where your customers can sign up for auto-delivery with a discount, but also charge a flat delivery fee within so many miles from your store. Yes, this takes the customer out of you store for a visit, but you can incent them to come in for a visit by adding a coupon or flyer for in store use.

The point is that you are not losing their food business to another store.

Offering grooming services is a great way to help drive more traffic into your store. You can find a local groomer and allow the groomer to schedule their own appointments while paying a space rental to your store.

Wash stations do not lend to a lot of income. however they are also great for traffic building. Wash station certificates are also great giveaways for all of those donation requests you get.

Another great way to build traffic is by offering puppy training classes. If you have some free space, you could work with a local trainer to offer training classes. Similar to a groomer, the trainer would rent your space.

If you don’t have the space to hold classes, then connect with a local trainer to host a day where your store will participate in a training class and the puppies can come for a store visit and learn “shopping etiquette.” You could also hold a nutrition seminar during this time.  Be sure to have giveaways for all of the participants including a coupon for a return visit.

These are just a few ideas on ways to expand what your store offers. Remember to make sure that any outside contractors that you invite into your store have their own liability insurance. Also, be sure to size up your competition regularly and see if they are offering anything that you should be.

Connecting with other small local businesses to see what they are doing is also a good practice. Your town may have a small business association or other group like a Rotary Club or Lion’s Club. These clubs are great at helping you get involved with your community as well as networking with people that have the same interests.

On another note, now is the time to find and book your photographer for pet photos for Santa. Be sure to schedule your date for November so you can incent that customer to come back for a few visits in December.

A good practice is to have the customer come back to your store to pick up the photograph-when they have the picture taken, you can give them a coupon for the return visit. Also, be sure to have plenty of holiday merchandise on hand for those return visits, most stores are pre-booking their holiday items now.

- Jessica Farina-Morris

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