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Non-Traditional Creative Solutions to Fill Independent Retailer Product Gaps

Glenn Polyn//October 1, 2022//

Non-Traditional Creative Solutions to Fill Independent Retailer Product Gaps

Glenn Polyn //October 1, 2022//

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Independent pet retailers are faced with a diversity of endless challenges throughout their fiscal year. From executing compelling marketing plans to establishing a unique yet essential set of products, their work is never done. As a non-traditional distributor, Pet Palette Distribution focuses on providing innovative solutions that foster the success of our self-supporting customers. Our team constantly aspires to create “outside the box” approaches to help overcome the never-ending list of obstacles that independent retailers find themselves burdened with, no matter the season.

A prominent challenge for many of our accounts at present is navigating inventory management troubles and product gaps. Product gaps can occur throughout the year for a multitude of reasons including seasonal product change-over, product sell-through in the busy season, supply chain issues or delays, and other disruptive yet unavoidable occurrences. We have broken these situations down and offered creative solutions that can be lucrative for you while enticing to the end consumer (and their pets).

Retailers are now beginning to work through the inevitable lapse in timeline and products between the hot and cold seasons. Many will keep their summer items out for as long as they possibly can, while slowly starting to put out their Fall and Halloween displays and also plan for Holiday. In the meantime, empty shelf space begins to rear its ugly head and a backup plan is needed to fill the voids. What non-seasonal fail-safe products do you have ready that are versatile enough to fit any space and are sure to sell?

Immediately after the big seasonal shift in product comes Holiday shopping and retailers will be scrambling to keep their shelves filled as items sell-through.

“Having a larger store, times of low inventory can be awkward,” said Shelby Simpson, Co-Owner and Manager of Three Dog Bakery. “That’s when we need to get creative using lucite risers, boxes, and decorative crates to give the illusion of full shelves. We’ve also added two sections of slat wall so when we are low on certain toys, we can just spread them apart.”

Nuff said. Not only are product delays at port a hurdle, but with the rising costs of materials you may realize that a toy you’ve sold for years is no longer moving because its MSRP has grown too high. Now might be a good time to assess your current inventory and see which SKUs are no longer serving you.

It happens to the best of us, even in the distribution world, when the time comes that you have to get creative with your buying to avoid overextending yourself.

“When money is tight it’s best to order with smaller minimums and increase frequency,” said Candace D’Agnolo, Founder and CEO of Pet Boss Nation. “You may pay more in shipping over a period of time, but it allows you to flow in inventory when you can afford to without overextending yourself.”

Here are some creative solutions from Pet Palette Distribution.

Define Rotating Areas – The register, primary or secondary end caps, cross merchandising in your kibble set – wherever you position your rotating or impulse buys, Pet Palette Distribution has you covered. Additionally, we offer both predetermined and DIY Clip Strip and Dump Bin assortment options.

Seasonal Pops – From Valentine’s Day to Christmas, we have stellar seasonal assortments curated with varying price points and categories. Low minimums make it easy to start small or BIG with your seasonal sets – whatever works for you.

Order What You Want – When You Want – When working with Pet Palette Distribution, you’re not at the mercy of your weekly truck delivery, you can order every day if you like. With our low minimums and free shipping program it’s convenient to place smaller, more frequent orders throughout the week and we’ll get them out the door in 24 to 48 hours. This will help to fill empty space more quickly and turn your inventory faster.

Evergreen Fail-Safe Products – Looking for something unique but guaranteed to earn its keep? Items with celebration and parody themes are quick turning products that can get updated or expanded when your store needs them. They also work as a great space filler between seasons or category reviews!

Product Tests & Special Orders – Stay in the know on what’s available to you. Maybe there’s a new product, category, or brand that you’re itching to try but not ready to dedicate an entire power wing to. Pet Palette Distribution can help put together a pocket set to test it out and our low minimums lessen your risk. Not quite ready to test? Keep it in your back pocket as a special-order option.


Megan Hulse is the Senior Buyer of national pet supply distributor Pet Palette Distribution where she specializes in category management, supply chain optimization, and marketing strategy. Her experience in manufacturing, product development, and independent retail brings a unique understanding to the distribution side of the industry.