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are pet stores profitable?

Choosing to open a pet store is a big decision. 

Most pet store owners decide to get into the business because they love their pets and want to serve the pets and pet owners in their community — but that motivation doesn’t make the decision any less daunting. 

Here’s the real question: Are pet stores profitable?


Are Pet Stores Profitable?

So, are they? The answer is yes, pet stores can be very profitable. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports that total pet spending in the United States has increased year after year, with $136.8 billion in 2022 and $147 billion in 2023. Pet stores also tend to have higher profit margins than small businesses in other industries, with an average margin of 30–50%.

But even in a booming industry, success isn’t guaranteed. To make your pet store profitable, you need to employ the right strategies.


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How To Boost Your Pet Store’s Bottom Line

Becoming profitable requires a variety of strategies. Depending on the needs and preferences of pet owners in your region, some strategies will be more effective than others — but each of these strategies will require time and effort. 

It may not be realistic to implement them all at once, but as you choose a few tactics to focus on at a time, you’ll determine which ones are most effective for your pet store. If one strategy isn’t yielding results, try another one — each one will either be a learning experience or a success.

Read on for proven strategies to increase profitability at your pet store.


Optimize Inventory Management

Strategic inventory management is important for every small business, and pet stores are no exception. 

The goal is to keep your inventory turning over, which means ordering more of the top sellers and less of the items that sit on the shelves. Discounts and special offers can keep stubborn inventory moving. Good inventory turnover means higher sales and lower storage costs.

The best way to manage your pet store’s inventory is with a sophisticated point of sale (POS) system. These systems keep an accurate count of your inventory that adjusts automatically when you place orders and sell items. The system gives you useful reports, allowing you to conduct regular inventory audits and make informed decisions about your inventory management strategy.


Related Read: ABC Analysis for Pet Stores: Categorizing Inventory for Efficiency


Expand Product Offerings

By offering a wide range of pet products, your store can become the one-stop shop that gives your customers all the supplies they need to take care of their pet. 

Consider offering a variety of pet products from the following categories:

  • Food and treats
  • Toys
  • Accessories like leashes, collars, and bowls
  • Over-the-counter medicine and supplements

Experiment with different kinds of pet food, including organic options. When new pet products or accessories enter the market, try offering them to see how they sell. You can even offer specialty items like pet clothing — you may be surprised to see which products resonate with your customers. 

As you discover what sells and what doesn’t, you can adjust your strategy to favor the more dependable items.


Related Read: How To Pick the Best Toy for 5 Different Types of Dogs


Offer Grooming and Training Services

Adding pet services like grooming and training to your store’s offering can create recurring revenue streams for your pet business — but make sure these services are high-quality. 

Hire certified groomers and trainers who care about the pets they’re working with. When customers have good experiences with these services, they’ll return again and will feel increased loyalty to your brand.

Try these types of dog training at your store:

  • Obedience training
  • Agility training
  • Socialization training
  • Nosework training
  • Therapy dog training

You may need to be certified to offer some dog training courses. Do the proper research beforehand to make sure you can offer credible training courses that help pet owners and their dogs accomplish their goals.

If you choose to offer pet services, promote them both online and in store. Highlight services and the professionals who provide them on your social media accounts, and put up banners and posters in your store to generate more interest in grooming and training.


Related Read: Understanding the Demand for Pet Services in Your Area: A Guide for Retail Pet Business Owners


Leverage E-Commerce

With an online store, you can serve more customers, leading to higher sales numbers. Online sales are most effective when a website is visually appealing and easy to use, and when shipping operations are quick and dependable.

Working with a POS platform is your best bet for starting up your online store. An all-in-one industry-specific system like eTailPet offers website design services, online sales, e-commerce, and marketing services. You can manage all of these operations straight from the system, so you can quickly fulfill orders and keep your customers happy.


Engage in Community Events

In-person events are great for increasing your pet store’s visibility. Whether you’re hosting an event in your store or attending a community gathering, these occasions help you meet people. You can teach them about the products you offer, drawing more potential customers into your store.

Host events like pet adoption days or classes. You might invite a professional dog trainer into your store to give a workshop, for example. Sponsor local pet-related events and attend community gatherings like farmers markets, festivals, and more. These events go a long way to get the word out about your pet store.


Implement a Pet Loyalty Program

To find consistent success at your small pet store, you need to keep your customers coming back to make repeat purchases. Offering a loyalty program is a great way to do this. 

Loyalty programs reward customers who make several purchases at your store with discounts, free items, or other prizes. For example, for every $100 your customer spends, they could earn $5 off their next purchase. Or, they could accumulate points with purchases, and 100 points could earn them a free chew toy. 

Loyalty programs can be managed using total spend, points, tiers, or in other ways, and a point of sale system helps you to keep track of this information automatically. The system records the progress of each customer, so you can give them their reward — incentivizing them to keep coming back to your store.


Related Read: Pet Loyalty Programs: Top 5 Software Providers


Focus on Customer Service

Customer service can make or break your pet store. A customer’s experience with you and your employees has a great impact on whether they’ll return and how they’ll speak of your store with the people they know.

Here are a few customer service tips:

  • Be friendly.
  • Offer personalized suggestions.
  • Strive for a welcoming atmosphere in your store.
  • Be open to feedback from customers.

Ask for feedback about a customer’s experience in person and use a point of sale system to request reviews online. Take feedback seriously and work to implement customer suggestions that are feasible and will make your store better. Train your employees to follow these customer service habits, too.


Utilize Data Analytics

To optimize sales and profits at your small pet store, you need to understand and utilize data. Tracking your sales numbers, inventory counts, profit margin, and other key metrics helps you understand which products are selling and which ones are falling short. This allows you to adjust your strategies accordingly.

A point of sale system gives you the data you need to make intelligent business decisions. Business owners who use these systems have access to sales reports, inventory levels, and more — all at the touch of a button. 

When you use data to gain insight into your customers and your business, you stay a step ahead of the game and can develop plans that ensure future success.


How To Manage a Profitable Pet Store With eTailPet

Running a pet store can be both financially rewarding and personally fulfilling. But to be truly successful, you need to implement sound business strategies and equip yourself with the right tools. 

By analyzing data and developing strategic plans for all aspects of your pet business — including inventory management, e-commerce, customer service, and marketing — you can expand your customer base and optimize your sales.

Remember: You need to continuously adjust your strategy and dedicate yourself to constant improvement. Reevaluate what strategies are working and what areas of your business are struggling, and do so often. Devote extra effort to areas of weakness and develop new strategies, and you’ll keep your business on an upward trajectory.

Whether you run an established pet store or you’re just getting into the business, eTailPet’s point of sale platform has all the tools you need to simplify your business operations and boost your sales. 

With tools for inventory management, e-commerce, loyalty programs, and more, you can let the system do the heavy lifting and get back to what you love — helping your customers and their pets. To learn more, schedule a demo today!