Embracing Local: Educating Customers on the Benefits of Shopping at Your Small Pet Store

by eTailPet | Apr 19, 2024

When small businesses thrive, their communities thrive.

But as national chains and global organizations continue to expand their reach, mom-and-pop shops struggle to keep up. For small businesses to stay afloat and customers to benefit from their services, they need to understand the advantages of buying from local shops.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how a pet store owner can educate their local community on the benefits of supporting local businesses. Community engagement will play a central role as you communicate the many reasons to support mom-and-pop shops.


How Shopping Local Benefits Customers

When pet owners need to purchase pet food and supplies, many look first to national chains or global online retailers. And while they boast a wide selection and convenience, the customer experience can’t match what many small businesses can provide.

Shopping local gives customers access to expert advice about their pets. Most small pet store owners are pet owners themselves — they love their pets and are passionate about helping people care for their pets. 

Shop owners also have local awareness. They can suggest local activities for pets and provide tips based on regional weather, culture, and other considerations. The more personalized customer service experience at small shops makes customers feel heard and more confident in caring for their pet.

Local stores are more likely to be selective about the products they offer, too, resulting in higher-quality and often locally-sourced products that tend to be better for pets.

Buying from small stores also allows local customers to build friendships and engage in their community. These connections bring neighbors closer together and foster a sense of belonging.


Related Read: Best Practices for Stocking Pet Food: Ensuring Freshness and Rotation


How Customers Contribute by Shopping Local

Customers who buy from local businesses are doing good by financially supporting local business owners who are trying to make a living in what is often a difficult market. They’re also contributing to the local economy, which improves lives throughout the area. As more customers routinely shop at small businesses, jobs are created and tax revenue in the area increases. This allows local governments to make improvements, developing the community.

Buying local also helps the environment, as they are typically smaller-scale operations, requiring less fuel, energy, and resources to operate. In this way, customers are supporting greater sustainability.


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


Educating Customers on How They Can Benefit and Contribute

Members of the community need to be informed of these benefits to be motivated to shop local. They can be informed through various marketing channels, including your website, social media, and community events.

Your website and social media should be full of your products and services and communicate your love of pets to your target audience. You should also fill it with “reasons to shop local.” 

Customer testimonials are a great way to communicate these benefits in a genuine and friendly way. People tend to be more engaged when they see a person’s face in a post. Ask your most loyal customers to spend a minute or two talking about why they love your business, and you can spread this message to a wider audience.


Showcasing Local Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborating with other members of the community helps you reach more people. Partner with local businesses and organizations, participate in local events, and offer and accept help when needed.

You can highlight these partnerships in your marketing efforts. For example, shouting out another business you work with on your social media can draw viewers who may not have heard of you otherwise. Cross-promotion can multiply the impact of both of your efforts. You can even work with other businesses to provide exclusive offers.


Communicating Your Pet Store’s Expertise

Sharing reliable and helpful information about pet care can help you develop brand trust in your community. Use social media, blogs, newsletters, and in-store signage to deliver this information to your customers.

You can share best practices for pet care, provide product comparisons, and discuss the value of locally sourced products and services. As you share information that helps pet owners and their pets, customers will better understand the value you provide and the benefit of shopping local.


Engaging Customers Through Community Events and Initiatives

Holding community events in your pet store will get people in your store who many never have walked in otherwise. Customers can invite their friends, and as the word spreads, the impact on the community will grow. 

Consider these community events you can hold at your store:

  • Pet adoption drive
  • Pet health clinic
  • Charitable fundraiser
  • Group dog walk around the neighborhood

Plan and execute events that align with your brand values. Caring for pets is likely one of your core values. For example, if you value family, fitness, or education, you can include these, too. Make sure to plan events your ideal customers will want to attend and look forward to. These events will increase community support and goodwill.


Related Read: The 10 top-rated pet charities and the missions they support


Measuring Impact and Success

As your customers discover the benefits of shopping at their local pet store, they’re likely to return often and tell their friends, which will increase your sales. Pay attention to key performance indicators (KPIs) like sales numbers, consumer engagement levels, and customer feedback to determine how effective your efforts are in educating your community about shopping local.

Providing this information and offering great service will be an ongoing process. Pay attention to feedback from customer reviews and surveys. If you’re falling short in an area, you can put in some extra effort to improve. If a certain high-quality product isn’t selling, you can showcase it prominently in store and on social media. Adjust your strategy over time and find what best engages your customers.


Bringing Your Community Together

To create a community of loyal customers for your small pet store, you need to educate people about how shopping local can both benefit them and help them contribute. You can do this by participating in community events, creating local partnerships and collaborations, and sharing information on social media, your website, and at your store.

As you communicate with your customers, emphasize the importance of supporting the community. Then, demonstrate supporting the community in genuine ways. Practicing what you preach helps you create brand trust and customer loyalty. As you champion the value of shopping local, you’ll see greater success at your store — all while helping make your community a better place.

Remember: Getting the word out about your store requires a great online presence and digital marketing efforts. You can simplify and automate your online marketing with eTailPet, an all-in-one point of sale (POS) system that provides the marketing features you need to level up your small pet store. Contact us today to schedule a demo!