Marketing is an important part of owning a store. In fact, some say it is the most important part. Without proper marketing, many businesses can flounder in their first year.
We spoke with two independent pet stores about what they do to attract customers and keep them coming back for more.
Rebekah: Where did the name Pupologie come from?
Denise: I was having coffee with a local trainer, discussing a partnership program, and I mentioned to her I was trying to come up with a name. The first suggestion out of her mouth was Pupologie and I loved it.
Rebekah: Can you tell me a little about the different marketing campaigns you have?
Denise: We have always relied heavily on word of mouth, and it is the number one driver of our success. Wowing the customers each and every time is our priority and always has been. It isn’t enough to say “hi” when they come in and to say “thank you” when they leave. The customer needs to feel that they are important and the experience needs to be rewarding for them.
People like doing business with people they like, and our customers truly enjoy being part of the Pupologie community. In fact, after the remodel, we started hosting monthly Yappy Hours. The Yappy Hours are two hours long; we provide snacks and entertainment and a chance for folks to mix and socialize. We typically see about 30-50 customers during the event each month.
We also find that social media is a must. It enhances our customers’ ability to share about us with their friends and it allows us to continue our relationship with them beyond the sales floor.
Incorporating a Cause
Rebekah: Do you incorporate your cause into your store marketing?
Aimee: Yes. We do a spring fever round up once a year to raise additional funds for the foundation. We also host an event once a year to help not only promote the foundation but help other local businesses and rescues. This year, we went out to all of our customers’ homes with a thank you bag and a note letting them know we granted over $18,000 to families and research in 2014.
Rebekah: Do you find this marketing helpful in selling merchandise?
Aimee: We have found it very helpful selling merchandise to help raise funds for the cause for the foundation. The reason we started the store is because we realized traveling nationwide that the largest way we raised money was selling products at our booth. It was not general donations. We still pay the same price for the pet food that any other store would pay. We do not get any special breaks. A few places like PetRageous have donated products to our store as well as Merrick and other pet foods for raffle items. Merrick has been a huge supporter for our local events as well.
Rebekah: Being a non-profit store, do you sell things a normal store might not?
Aimee: We have quilts that have the cancer ribbon logo in it that are handmade and local artists’ artwork around the store. The local artist work on our walls have supported our local events to help raise funds as well. We have leashes with our website FightK9Cancer.org on it. We carry mostly the same items that a normal store might carry but we do primarily focus on the natural pet food lines.
We also offer free delivery up to a 30 mile radius. Several people are surprised on how large our radius is and it being free.
However, several of our customers have been following us since our foundation started and …so we do this for them. We truly are in it for the pets and making sure we give 100 percent to each person.