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January 5, 2015

The big news of this issue is the 2014-2015 Pet Age Retailer Report.

We’ve combed through the data from our massive email survey to offer you a comprehensive snapshot of the state of the pet industry. Along with an analysis of the results, we’ve pulled out lots of graphs and informative tidbits to help you wrap your head around it all.

There is a lot of interesting and useful information in the Retailer Report but two things in particular stuck out to me. One was that stores reported that word of mouth recommendations by customers was the second best form of marketing.

The second finding that particularly intrigued me was that of the stores that are going to add some type of services to their offerings, the most popular service they plan on adding is delivery. This is something I might never have thought of myself but that made so much sense when I thought about it for a second. Customers want convenience. That’s one of the major attractions of online shopping.

To stay competitive with big box stores and online retailers, independent pet retailers need to branch out in what they offer to fulfill customers’ needs. By offering a delivery service, pet stores cancel out one of the pluses of Internet shopping. Additionally, because the store is likely closer to the customer than an online company’s warehouse, the store can likely offer same-day delivery. Delivery will not be a golden ticket to prosperity for every retailer but it could be part of a package of offerings that draw business to your store.

In a complete coincidence, two of Pet Age’s regular writers touch on delivery and word of mouth marketing in their columns this month. Dave Ratner talks about his decision to add delivery and an e-commerce site to his stores and Andy Black discusses the value of word of mouth and building a reputation for expertise. So, clearly these two topics are on the minds of many pet industry professionals.

To bring in the New Year there are a few changes you may notice in this issue with even more to come.

This issue marks the debut of our new department, Retail Corner. The section is designed to highlight some retailers who are taking an innovative approach to a given topic. For this month, the topic is the toy section. Our hope is that by seeing and reading about something different or interesting another retailer is doing some of you will inspired to try something new and spruce up what may be a humdrum section in your store.

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