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November 2, 2015

November is always a busy month for the pet industry but also for life in general. Many of us will have leaves to rake and other outdoor activities to get done before winter sets in. Then there are the holidays on the horizon. It’s the start of the season for making lists and checking them twice.

For the brick and mortar pet retailers, the big day is coming soon. Black Friday will be upon us before you know it. There will be no time to indulge in post-Thanksgiving sluggishness for retailers. Black Friday and the following weekend is a make-or-break time for many stores, and pet retail is no exception.

Is your store ready? Do you have all the merchandise you think you will need? Is it priced low enough to be extra enticing? Now’s the time to get the last minute orders in. If you don’t have an item a customer wants, he or she will go elsewhere. Think of the special holiday products your customers may want, but you also need to keep fully stocked on the staples.

Don’t forget that many owners treat their pets as family members and that means giving gifts to their pets. Consider creating a pet stocking stuffer area with small items, such as toys, treats and chews.

While gift giving is most common for dogs and cats, it’s becoming more popular for small animals, birds and even reptiles and fish.

Have you scheduled enough employees for Black Friday weekend? What about the rest of the holiday season? If you don’t have enough personnel to man the registers and help customers on the floor, those customers will get frustrated and leave. I know nothing drives me up the wall when I’m shopping like there being no one on the floor to answer my question or show me an item. Having enough staff on hand for the holiday rush is definitely to your store’s advantage.

And don’t forget about Cyber Monday. If you have an e-commerce site, take advantage of all the bargain hunters who will be online in force. Even if you don’t, it would be a good idea to put promotions up on Facebook, out on Twitter or on your website.

The last thing I’d encourage you to remember as you gear up for the holidays is to take time for yourself. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rush and forget to relax and enjoy this season. Make sure you spend a little time recharging yourself mentally and physically by doing something you enjoy and spending time with friends and family – both the human and nonhuman ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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