December 1, 2015

Keeping pet bettas is a growing trend that can bring in extra income and new customers if given a premium location in your store. So it’s likely a smart move to dedicate an endcap to bettas.

The betta has long been bred as a hardy and beautiful fish that attracts much attention. With the recent abundance of new striking colors and varieties, along with the development of many new accompanying products, there is even more opportunity to grow your sales in this unique category. I’m confident that there will continue to be new offerings for many years to come, giving great appeal to this unique fish.

So how can you capitalize on this category? Devote a key location, such as an endcap, or a 4-foot section in a prime location to the sale and promotion of bettas.

For the sales you can generate from this category, you may want to have even more space. In fact, you need to grab the attention of everyone that enters your store. The potential new hobbyist is just an arm’s length away with this type of display.

As an example, a store in Lexington, Kentucky, devotes over 12 linear feet of shelf space to just this category because of the sales it generates with college students nearby. Another example, in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, there are several 1,000-square-foot stores that are almost exclusively devoted to bettas and the complementary supplies. So don’t be afraid to give it a try in your store.

If you walk into one of the big box pet stores, you will always see a significant display for bettas and supporting products. That’s because they are popular. What makes you different and more effective should be your knowledge and the variety of fish and products you stock. The big box stores, because of their size, can’t be as responsive as an independently-owned retail store. That is an important reason why you and your staff must keep up with all the breed varieties, colors and descriptions associated with these fish.

The Internet is a great study resource since many advanced hobbyists show off their prize bettas on YouTube and in various blogs. There are so many combinations of colors and varieties that the potential for something new or outstanding showing up in any week’s fish order is likely, and variety will draw in hobbyists to seek out their special fish with each new shipment. These special fish can demand a premium. A high end fish can go for as much as $200, but even the $10-$20 fish are quite common.

A few stores that we have visited lately sell as many as 200 bettas each week with a line of people waiting for each new shipment to arrive. In reality, it would be easy to see a weekly 25-50 fish turnover for most any store. This is just in livestock sales.

Now comes the easy part of the sales: the dry goods. There are so many new products for the betta category.

These include habitats or housing, like complete desktop aquariums from multiple manufactures. Some examples are the Betta Falls Kit by Aqueon, the stackable Deco Cubes and Wonder Bubble Tunnels by BioBubble Pets, and the multitude of interesting glass bowls.

There are betta specific foods available as pellets, flakes and frozen diets. Numerous accessories like heaters and mini LED lights are available for bettas. There are many small preset heaters available like the UL approved Mini Heaters from Hydor and the BETTATHERM from ZooMed, which can easily be hidden in the gravel. The mini stick type heaters from multiple companies are also small and compact for use in small aquariums.

Water additives for bettas, like Ocean Nutrition’s Atison’s Betta Spa which contains almond leaf extract for the general health of the fish, can generate significant sales. There are plenty of other special conditioners or treatments from manufacturers like Hikari, which come in small, easy-to-use packaging, or Prodibio, available in single dosage ampules.

You can get a lot of bang for your 4-foot section with the products and fish available for this one specific category, which has been a growing major trend in the aquatics category.

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