August 5, 2014

In our prior articles, we’ve illustrated that the sale of a live animal represents so much more to a retailer than just the sale of a single animal. That initial sale of a pet acts as a catalyst, as the pet’s owner will inevitably purchase food, substrate, lighting, and new habitats for their reptiles. A savvy retailer stays aware of these subsidiary purchases, using them to propel their profits to new heights.

Reptile owners, at their core, are animal lovers. Recent statistics from the American Pet Products Association show that approximately 77 percent of reptile owners also have other animals as pets, including the more traditional dogs and cats. Each time a reptile owner comes to your store to purchase crickets, frozen mice, or a new heat lamp, there stands a solid chance that your customer will pick up items necessary for their other pets, resulting in more net sales for your store.

Further, the increased overall market for reptiles has ensured that a quality pet store has numerous options in terms of providing pet foods for their customers. Rather than simply offering normal crickets or mealworms, many wholesalers now can provide reptile food with increased vitamin content or, for herbivores, pre-packaged “salad” ready for a hungry reptile to chow down on. Offering multiple options to your customers in terms of food can provide for even greater sales.

These sales can be further accentuated by ensuring that your reptiles have a high turnover. Simply put, the more reptiles that a store sells – especially when those reptiles are marked down significantly – the more profit that store will see from subsidiary sales, at the core of which is food.

As a concrete example, let us consider a bearded dragon, which sells at wholesale for an average price of around $30.00. If a store sells eight bearded dragons at $99.99 each in one month, that store would realize $559.92 in net profit. Assuming that this store sells those same customers crickets (at 10 cents each), the store will likely see approximately $2,920 in additional profit simply through continued food sales throughout the year.

However, aggressive pricing for the reptiles themselves can magnify these profits. If, instead, the store sold 20 bearded dragons at the reduced price of $59.99, that store would see similar net profits on the reptiles themselves. The biggest difference, however, comes in terms of food. Again, assuming those customers return to purchase food for their bearded dragons, the more aggressive store can see over $7,300 in cricket-based profit, rather than the $2,920 of their more conservative compatriots.

The key here, though, is turnover. As a store owner, for the latter model to work successfully, you must be willing to push your reptiles and ensure that they sell quickly. And, of course, you must always have the necessary reptile food in stock, whether that means crickets, mealworms, mice, or more.

One particularly notable point on food centers on a retailer’s choice regarding mice. Numerous snakes eat mice, which are outright unavailable at big-box grocery stores, providing a savvy pet retailer a distinct advantage. However, many pet stores do not offer consumers the choice between feeding their reptile live mice or frozen mice, opting for the latter, due to ease of storage. In many ways, this is folly – providing your customers with the options they desire, at its core, is the best way to ensure both repeat business and satisfied customers.

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