By Amy Castro//February 1, 2024//
By: Amy Castro//February 1, 2024//
Today’s pet parents are more invested than ever in the well-being of their furry companions. However, as someone who works closely with veterinarians, pet parents are not as “tied in” to the importance of pet dental health as they are to nutrition and other pet-related things. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, periodontal disease doesn’t just affect a pet’s mouth. Health problems that are connected to poor dental hygiene include kidney, liver and heart muscle changes.
As a pet retailer, you’re in a unique position to educate and persuade customers to prioritize their pets’ oral care and improve your bottom line at the same time.
One of the key strategies for promoting pet dental care products you carry is to educate customers about the importance of oral hygiene for their pets in the first place. Consider creating informational materials, such as brochures or posters, that highlight the risks of poor dental health and the benefits of preventive care. Use in-store signage and your website and social platforms to share compelling statistics, infographics, photos, and success stories of pets whose health improved with proper dental care. A quick tip if you’re not that creative, talk to your manufacturer reps for your dental products to see what materials they have that might be available for you to use.
Another activity to consider is organizing events or workshops live in your store or even virtually to provide hands-on guidance on pet dental care. Many local veterinarians are more than happy to share their insights and conduct demonstrations because it also gives them the opportunity to get in front of potential new clients. These events are not only a chance to enhance customer knowledge but can help you create a sense of community and trust with your customers.
However, marketing and workshops are just part of the education that you can offer. You’ll need to ensure your staff are dental care experts too. This means training for them on pet dental health and the products you have available in your store. Well-informed employees can engage in meaningful conversations with customers, addressing their concerns and offering advice. Consider organizing regular training sessions to keep your team updated on the latest developments in pet dental care. Once they get the basics down, you can help them learn to personalize their recommendations based on the needs of each customer’s pets. This will involve asking customers questions about their pets, including species, age, dental concerns, the pet parents’ experience with oral care, how much the pet likes to chew or use toys, etc. Tailoring recommendations to the specifics of the customer’s pet enhances the customer experience and increases the likelihood that the customer will buy.
Finally, you’ll need to keep up to date on the latest trends and innovations in the pet dental care industry too. This knowledge allows you to introduce new and exciting products to your customers and keep your inventory and advice fresh and appealing. When you can show your expertise by highlighting advancements in dental care technology or ingredients that set certain products apart from the competition, you become a trusted partner in your customer’s journey to better health for their pet.
What I find when I’ve looked for dental products in my local pet store is that the selection is small, and the products blend in with everything else even though these products are so important for my pets. Additionally, I must travel to different aisles to find the dental products because dental treats are with the treats, toothbrushes and paste are with the grooming products, and so on.
Consider optimizing your store layout to highlight dental care items prominently. For example, especially this month, retailers could place dental products near the checkout counter, ensuring they catch the customer’s eye when they’re checking out. You could also group related items together to create a designated “Dental Health” section within your store, even if it’s just temporary. This makes it convenient for customers to find everything they need in one place, increasing the likelihood of additional purchases.
You can also encourage customers to buy more dental care items by introducing attractive bundles and discounts. For example, you could create bundles that include toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental chews at a discounted price compared to buying each item individually. These bundled deals not only provide value for money but also serve as an incentive for customers to prioritize their pets’ dental health. If you really want to get fancy you could create specific bundles for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens.
Finally, consider adding dental care items to your customer loyalty program and reward customers for repeat purchases of dental care products. Offer discounts, exclusive deals, or even freebies for customers who consistently choose dental health products for their pets. Because dental care is needed for life, this not only fosters loyalty but also motivates customers to maintain a consistent oral care routine for their pets, which is the key to long-term dental and overall health.
Use your online platforms to share engaging and informative content about pet dental health. Leverage social media, blogs, and email newsletters to showcase how-to guides, product reviews, and success stories. Photos, videos, and infographics are particularly effective in conveying information and capturing the audience’s attention. Again, this could be content you create, or content repurposed from others, with permission of course.
You should also actively seek and incorporate your customers’ feedback regarding the dental care products they’ve purchased. This feedback loop not only demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction but also helps you refine your product selection based on their experiences. It also serves as “social proof,” that the products you sell work. People place a heavy value on reviews, so you can use that to your advantage. You can get customer feedback through social media posts that ask for feedback, via surveys, or even informal conversations with customers while they’re in your store.
Engagement is a two-way street; therefore, you might want to share success stories of pets that have experienced improved dental health through the use of specific products. Whether through testimonials, blog posts, or social media, showcasing these stories adds a personal touch and may inspire other customers to prioritize dental care.
I already mentioned the option to have your favorite local veterinarian conduct an education session for your customers. However, consider taking your relationship a step further. If you think about it, a pet retailer and a veterinarian have a vested interest in each other’s success. From referral opportunities a relationship can provide to filling a void in services or products that either of you may have, it’s worth exploring how you can help each other.
Take the time to sit down with your veterinarian to see how you can collaborate on joint promotions, events, or informational campaigns that emphasize the importance of veterinary-approved dental care products. This not only enhances your store’s reputation but also reinforces the message that pet dental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being for pets. It also tells both parties’ customers that you’re willing to go beyond your normal efforts and activities to create opportunities to improve the lives of their pets.
Promoting pet dental health within your retail business is not just about selling products; it’s about fostering a culture of care and responsibility for your customers and their pets. By educating customers, strategically placing products, offering discounts, and staying informed about industry trends, you can effectively persuade pet parents to invest in dental care items. Ultimately, these efforts contribute to happier, healthier pets and satisfied customers who view your store as a trusted partner in their pet care journey.
Amy Castro is a business and leadership expert who speaks, trains and consults with pet businesses that want to build best-in-show teams that deliver a Five-Star Customer Experience. She’s also the host of the Starlight Pet Talk podcast, where she interviews pet industry experts and others to give advice and information for pet parents to help their pets live long, happy lives.