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Pet Store Inventory Isle


The importance of inventory management for pet stores cannot be understated. When you order too much product, you wind up with a surplus that slowly approaches its expiration date if not sold in good time. On the other hand, not having enough may mean your customers can’t feed their fur babies, prompting them to look elsewhere.

According to Zebra Retail Solutions, addressing the issue of overstocking could result in up to a 10% reduction in inventory costs. So, how can you ensure your pet store has enough product to meet customer demand without needlessly overspending on overstock? 

We have the answers you need. Check them out below!


Getting People In The Store

We know most small business owners in the pet industry became entrepreneurs because they’re big-picture people, so it’s tempting to want to hit the ground running without any prep. We applaud the determination, but you’ll have to zoom-in to the fine details of inventory management before you can blaze a trail to success at your pet store.

It all starts with a good old-fashioned inventory audit. Grab a scanner and count everything (yes, we mean everything) in stock to ensure your POS software counts are 100% accurate. Be sure to correct all discrepancies as you move through the store.


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Implementing Inventory Management Systems

According to Zippia, approximately 43% of businesses do not engage in inventory tracking of any kind. As they say, knowledge is power, so you don’t want to be part of this statistic.

Specialized POS software makes inventory management today much simpler and more accessible, allowing business owners to track and analyze inventory movement, enabling them to make the best decisions regarding what to stock in surplus and what to keep thin.

Having POS software, such as the eTailPet POS platform, holds many advantages when it comes to streamlining operations, including the ability to track and analyze inventory in real time.

The best POS systems offer useful features like barcode scanning, automated reorder points, and reporting capabilities, meaning you will have tailor-made insights available in seconds based on what’s selling and what’s not.

Utilizing features such as these simplifies day to day operations and enables you to implement advanced inventory management systems in your store without having to dedicate your whole day to deciphering the sales and drawing conclusions on your own.

I mean, who needs more to do during the busy retail day, right?


Discounting and Promotions

Inventory management minimizes the occurrence of overstock and surplus inventory for pet stores, but it may not completely eliminate the problem. Just as their cats may refuse Friskies one week and demand Fancy Feast instead, the public’s buying patterns can be fickle, and you’ll be left with more product than you intended.

The most tried-and-true tactics for moving cold product include offering discounts, running promos, and holding sales events to generate customer interest and move product. 

Don’t be shy to run this plan by your sales reps and brand ambassadors, as they may have coupons on hand or deep discounts they can give to you that you, in turn, can pass onto the customer. 

You move your slower SKUs,  the sales rep improves the health of their account, and the customer walks away with a high-quality product and a positive experience shopping at your store. Everybody wins.


Bundling and Cross-Selling

Some items will be harder to move than others. For example, your customers may balk at the notion of paying a premium for a brand-new all natural dog treat that, while made from quality ingredients, is considerably more expensive than the Milk-Bone and Beggin’ Strips they can grab on the cheap.

Bundling and cross-selling may work to introduce the customer to new brands that are inherently harder to sell. Perhaps you can offer a free or discounted bag to customers purchasing a new crate, training tools, and other necessities that go hand-in-hand with bringing home a new puppy. Including the treats as part of a store-made bundle works nicely as well.

By giving a little out of the gate, your customer (and their pup, of course) may come to recognize that the treats are not only healthy and nutritious, but scrumptious too!


Donation and Charity Initiatives

Let’s face it— there are many needy organizations out there fighting the good fight. 

We work tirelessly to promote our store and provide goods and services to the pet community, but there are many shelters, rescues, and other humane organizations in need.

Donating slower moving products to shelters, rescues, and other organizations is a kind and noble thing to do. Of course, that won’t do anything for your bottom line in and of itself, but the positive impact on the community can be immeasurable. Plus, being in the good graces of other trusted pet professionals in your community never hurts your brand.

Teaming up with charities to offer promos, discounts, and sales while raising awareness of the many great organizations in your community is always a good idea too. Consider reaching out to your local shelters and rescues to gauge their interest. You’ll make some sales, but you may make friends too!


Liquidation and Clearance Sales

The clearance sale is both useful and stigmatized in the retail community. On the one hand, it can be seen as admitting defeat and doing your best to cut your losses. I mean, slashing margins beats the heck out of watching perishables expire on the shelf, right?

On the other hand, some customers live for a good clearance sale. They will flock immediately to the clearance section and, if they have enough pets at home to justify the purchase, they may scoop up the entire stock in one fell swoop.

This strategy is effective not only for slow movers, but for discontinued products as well. Running a promo to get them out the door allows you to free up space for new SKUs that will most certainly come to take their place as the manufacturer completely phases out the outdated product.

It is important to be clear on your posted signage for liquidation and clearance sales. Make sure the sale messaging is clear when products are going to be gone for good so consumers are aware of the changes of product on the self.


Preventing Overstock in the Future

So, we have many strategies for addressing the undesirable surplus of inventory, but how do we prevent the recurrence of this issue? How do we make sure we’re allocating our cash to the products that move reliably and generate the most revenue?

The good news is you don’t have to spend hours after closing time poring over analytics and racking your brain to decipher what’s going to move and what may sit. Using an all-in-one retail point-of-sale platform such as eTailPet makes it a walk in the park by doing it all for you.

eTailPet monitors inventory in real time, offering you insight on the sales activity of any SKU over any given duration. You can see if you’ve got a winner or a loser based on this snapshot, but eTailPet takes things a step further by analyzing the data and making ordering recommendations that should positively impact sales.

Your POS software forecasts what is most likely to fly off the shelves based on the current sales activity and adjusts ordering quantities accordingly. It’s an invaluable tool that every small business owner in the pet industry should use to leverage to remain competitive.

You can’t totally go on autopilot though. A high-quality POS system will help you track and monitor what’s already being sold in the store, but it’s up to you to seek out new trends and popular items to add to your store’s selection.

So, you’ll still have to keep your hand on the pulse of the pet community. Don’t be afraid to take risks when bringing in new and exciting stuff. Time (and your POS software) will tell if you’ve picked a winner!



Managing overstock and surplus inventory is a crucial component for minimizing losses and maximizing profits for any pet store. Practicing pet store inventory management and utilizing your POS system to its fullest potential is integral for reducing the occurrence of overstock and surpluses, but even with these habits in place, most stores will inevitably wind up with a surplus they need to sell at some point or another.

It is important to be clear on your posted signage for liquidation and clearance sales. Make sure the sale messaging is clear when products are going to be gone for good so consumers are aware of changes to the product on sale.Employing strategies such as discounting, running promos, bundling, cross-selling, and donating will reduce the overstock and free up space while reducing your overall loss on the product., Each is a viable strategy for working through a surplus if the need arises.

Remember— these strategies not only maximize profitability, but may lead to increased customer satisfaction as well. So, be proactive with your inventory management, be ready to pivot if you wind up with a surplus, and keep doing what you do each day to put a smile on your customers’ faces and get those tails waggin’!

eTailPet is an all-in-one POS system that includes inventory management solutions along with your point of sale system. Learn more about our pet store pos software and features today.



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