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How To Make Your Pet Department Top Dog

Families all over the globe are taking a closer look at what they put in their bodies. Organic foods and locavore tastes have transformed the standard diet for many families, and that has translated to pets as well.

Yet it isn’t just food choices that factor into a pet department. For independent hardware retailers looking to make the most of their pet-oriented selections, lessons learned in other areas of the store must be focused on pets as well. Merchandising, product quality and industry knowledge can be the difference between a forgotten aisle and a store-leading department.

Here are some tips to highlight your pet department.

Location, Location, Location

How prominently you place your pet section in your store plays an important factor in how customers respond to your offerings. If you’re looking to claim a large share of the pet-owning customers in your area, it should be readily apparent at a glance that you have pet supplies and services at the ready. Make sure pet products are easily visible from entry areas, and consider putting products such as dog crates and large beds outdoors along with other promoted items to increase customer awareness.

Everyone is Welcome

Many pets are considered family to their owners, and they often look for shopping options that allow pets to be included in the process. Make it known to customers that their pets are welcome in your stores and have staff trained on how to approach and interact with common animals that come in. Partnerships with area pet organizations can help bring awareness to your store in the pet community. Work with a dog training organization to assist in training new service dogs or partner with an animal shelter for an open house adoption event.

Feed the Need

It isn’t just what is on the dinner table that’s important for families, but what’s under it as well. Stocking high-end pet food and snacks will show you’re invested in your pet department and it will draw customers that intend to seek out the best quality they can find. Snacks are a great add-on item for pet owners, especially if the items are able to be placed in the open where a pet might show interest as they pass an aisle. Make sure that these items are coming from a reputable manufacturer and you’ll go a long way to earning a customer’s loyalty.

All In 1 Place

To compete with pet stores, a hardware retailer needs to carry more than the bare essentials for pets. Make sure you’re stocked with high-quality play items along with leashes, crates and other items pet owners will need when picking up a pet. Customers can look to your store as a great one-stop-shop store for a variety of needs, with your pet department being one less store they have to visit. This can be expanded further with services designed around pets. If your store offers custom project assistance, make sure to add in designs for outdoor shelters or fence plans for a dog run.

About Chad Husted

Chad is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A Purdue University graduate, Chad has covered sports and news at the high school, college and Olympic levels as a sports writer, editor and designer for multiple newspapers. Prior to joining the NRHA, he was the sports editor for the Herald Journal in Monticello, Indiana, and a designer and copy editor for the AIM Media Indiana group in Columbus, Indiana. When not cultivating his beard, he enjoys backpacking, cooking, traveling and watching too much sports and Netflix.

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