We are quickly approaching months of warm weather and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the dog days of summer with the pets you love most.
For many pet parents, the warm weather means road trips, beaches, swimming, boating, barbecuing, hiking and many other outdoor activities. It’s important for pet retailers to make sure they get their store summer ready with all the essentials that pet parents are looking for the most.
While some items like doggie pools and canopy beds may take up some floor space, it’s important to know your customers are looking for them. If this is the case for your store, a great way to maximize space is to create a display with the larger items, (canopy beds, pool floats, etc.) in the front of your store or as a window display. Let your customers know they are available and keep the excess supply in your backroom.
Other summer must haves include carriers, bathing suits, healing balms and life vests.
Life vests/floats are a must-have in store option if your customers plan to let their four-legged fur-baby take a dip in the pool, lake or ocean.
Bathing suits are always a big hit- besides, what little pooch doesn’t look fabulous in a bikini or a pair of swim trunks?
Healing balms are perfect for warm-weather months. Pet parents should take extra measures to protect their pups from the harsh sun and hot pavement.
A probiotic ear cleaner is an essential during this time of year especially for pets that love to play in the water, as swimming often leads to more frequent ear infections and irritation. Cleansing the ears after a swim, while also populating the ear canal with probiotics, will proactively fight against yeast and fungus that cause itch, odor and inflammation.
Seat belt safety harnesses provide ultimate safety for pets while traveling, whether driving across town or across the country. Available in multiple sizes, the harness will ensure your customers’ pet’s safety no matter where their summer adventures take them.
Pure essential calming oils are another must for travelling pet parents. Dogs can become uneasy or nervous from separation anxiety, thunderstorms and traveling in a car or on a plane. These blends of essential oils provide all-natural relaxation and can create a relaxing, spa-like environment for any dog.
It’s impossible to talk about travel essentials without mentioning carriers. No matter the season, carriers are a must have in your store. Pet parents who travel often like to have different options to choose from when purchasing a carrier. Whether it’s an everyday carrier, or a carrier on wheels, they are always a necessity. During the summer, many pet parents like the option of a larger carrier to carry not only their pup, but their pup’s stuff like SPF, portable water bottles, treats and toys.
Some rather overlooked but necessary items are portable dog water bottles and food dishes. Regardless of the season, dogs should always have access to fresh water. But, during the late spring and summer months, it’s even easier for dogs to get dehydrated.
While it’s common knowledge to protect our skin from the harsh sun, did you know your dog needs protection too? SPF is of the utmost importance during the summer because dogs can also get sunburned. Canine companions are at risk of all the same dangers as we are when it comes to UV rays.
Dogs are also subjected to sunburn, tumors, skin cancer, etc. While all dogs are at risk, some are more susceptible than others. One way to help protect your pooch is to apply a little dog-formulated sunscreen before outings. Moreover, make sure to educate your customers on the importance of using a dog-specific SPF. Never use human sunscreen on your pooch. Most human sunscreens contain zinc oxide, PABA and other chemicals that should not be licked or ingested. They are toxic to dogs.
If your store has a food and treats section, summertime favorite is ice cream. There are many powdered ice cream mixes you can add to your shelves that don’t need to be refrigerated or in a freezer. A great way to start the summer off is hosting a summer ice cream social at your store. Pet parents love to gather amongst other pet parents and with a complimentary sample or two, it’s a great way to get your customers in the door to show off all your new summer arrivals.
By being strategic about item placement in your store and of course, the fun images on your social media, you can craft the narrative that will remind customers of summertime activities and how their pets will play into those, while creating a demand for your products. With fresh new inventory for the season, you’re sure to drive interest and have customers returning to see what you stock next.
A successful fashion model for 25 years, Ashley Carestia also is founder/CEO of Bark Fifth Avenue, a luxury retail boutique and brand. She has earned the respect of her colleagues through arduous work and dedication, being awarded the Small Business of the Year Award by the Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Women of Influence award from Pet Age and Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in The Pet Industry.C