October 3, 2013

The pet industry is very unique in that it’s still mostly comprised of independent retailers.

As a result, competition is fierce and retailers must find ways to stand out from their big box counterparts. And they have not disappointed, with creative programs, promotions and service offerings.

Health and wellness has been trending in the food category for some time now, but some retailers are taking it to the next level by offering pet fitness classes.

Retailers provide or facilitate walking groups, boot camps that incorporate obedience, and Doga, or doggy yoga. The programs are designed to promote healthful living as well as connect with customers on a more personal level.
While the classes don’t typically add significant revenue to the bottom line, increased sales in healthful products and customer loyalty do.

The Power of Ahhh

Opening up a spa and grooming center in your store can also create buzz with customers, and new revenue streams. While it’s important to include the basic services like baths, blow dry, nail trimming, etc., spa upgrades such as massages, deep moisturizing, nail polishing, coat brightening, deodorizing, sun screen, eye stains and more are unique add-ons that don’t disappoint.

And no detail is spared, from the zen-chic environment to products from big name companies like Pet Head and Proctor & Gamble, these spa products are making a big impact with owners and their pets alike.

The market for pet hotels and day care is growing rapidly. Whether it’s for daily socialization and exercise or for a week long vacation, pet owners want to ensure their animal is not only safe, but comfortable.

While the space for this type of ancillary offering is a bit more challenging to add, ‘luxury’ services such as playtime, obedience training, hotel-quality suites, with specialty beds, televisions and cameras, and grooming services can make it worth your while.

It’s not just a Hollywood trend anymore, pet bakeries are opening up across the country. Adding a bakery to your pet store is a great way to increase foot traffic and add high-margin treats to your offerings.

Customers can choose from meaty treats, cakes and other “sweet” goods that are perfect for special occasions and/or as an everyday reward. We’ve even seen a doggy ice cream counter.

Other ancillary offerings may include health insurance, funeral services, a tech-center, dental care and more. Each year at SuperZoo, we see more new product launches and innovative new ideas in every category. It’s the best way to track trends and see where the industry is heading.

The opportunities available to pet retailers are only limited by their own creativity.

Doug Poindexter

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