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The brick-and-mortar in-store experience is underrated primarily because business has partially shifted from traditional retail stores to ecommerce on the web.  Even if your pet store has an online presence, it is imperative to consider all the aspects of the retail customer journey-store.  

An indelible in-store shopping experience is arguably more important than a polished and efficient website.  Complement your website with a memorable retail customer journey and your clientele will be back for more.  

The challenge lies in enhancing the retail customer journey.


Creating a Pet-Friendly Environment

Put yourself in the shoes of a pet owner looking for an enjoyable retail customer journey.  If you find a welcoming store with a vast selection of products and friendly personnel, you’ll win their business for the long haul.  The subtleties of your pet store layout are particularly important in the retail customer journey.

Provide your clientele with designated spaces for pets and you’ll find those customers are inclined to return for additional visits.  One or several spaces for pets to interact with one another and play makes owners that much more enthusiastic about the in-store shopping experience.  After all, most pet owners live in service of their furry friends, meaning they will go to great lengths to provide their fur babies with opportunities to have fun in a welcoming pet store retail environment.


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If budget permits, assign a dog referee to the pet play space to keep the animals safe while the owners peruse the store shelves.  Staffers should also keep an eye on dog water bowls, refilling them as necessary so customers’ pets remain fully hydrated while playing in the store.  

Recognize the fact that all the hustle and bustle of playing with other pooches in a pet store will lead to stimulation and plan accordingly.  Dogs will inevitably relieve themselves during the course of play, meaning waste disposal stations are a must.  Ideally, your retail pet store will have pet-friendly restrooms so dogs can relieve themselves without causing a mess and cutting their master’s shopping experience short.


Knowledgeable and Friendly Staff

The quality of your pet store staff goes a long way in maximizing customer retention.  Pet owners are inclined to visit retail pet stores rather than shopping online partially because of the human element.  

Friendly staffers who understand pets and have memorized store inventory should be willing to approach customers to lend a helping hand.  Train your team appropriately and they’ll have the social graces necessary to keep customers coming back for more social interaction that cannot be obtained online.  

Moreover, it is in the interest of your pet store for staffers to be cordial with dogs and other pets that enter the store.  Treat the visiting animals with respect and kindness, watch their owners reciprocate the favor with your hardworking team and the rapport will prove mutually beneficial.


Pet-First Product Selection

The quality and quantity of your product inventory matter a great deal.  Encourage your team to study the on-site inventory and they’ll have the knowledge necessary to provide shoppers with personalized guidance and recommendations.  However, such personalization is only possible if your retail pet store has a diverse product inventory complete with the industry’s best pet products.  

If possible, order items for animals that have specialized diets to broaden your store’s appeal to all local pet owners.  Don’t forget to order niceties beyond pet food.  Customers are also on the prowl for pet grooming supplies, toys, accessories and other niceties. 


Enriching In-Store Experiences

Take a moment to recall your last in-store experience at a pet food business or other commercial property.  Was the store organized to your liking?  Did the store have anything to offer aside from items?  These are the subtleties that separate successful pet stores that stand the test of time from those that close and go out of business altogether or segue to 100% online sales.

Stroll through competitors’ pet stores and you’ll find most offer a customer experience that extends beyond merely products.  As an example, the industry’s best retail pet stores offer additional services such as:

  • On-site groomers
  • Play spaces for animals
  • Demonstrations
  • Pet training and more

If competing pet stores in your area offer the experiences noted above, be creative.  Schedule workshops for pet owners where they can bring their pets to learn about how to take better care of their furry friends.  Hosting a pet adoption day or teaming up with a nearby pet rescue group will also help differentiate your pet store from the rest of the pack.


Seamless Shopping Experience

The quality of your in-store shopping experience has the potential to mean more than your prices and product diversity.  Reevaluate the layout of your store, making changes as necessary to boost its visual appeal.  A convenient checkout highlighted by the following options for payment including will please customers all the more:

  • Cash
  • Credit
  • Debit
  • Electronic payments

If your pet store has a website, create synergy with the retail store by offering online shopping complete with in-store pickup for convenience.


Customer Loyalty Programs

Loyalty is the name of the game. Mind the subtleties of the pet store retail experience by implementing a rewards program for customers and you’ll find they frequent your establishment that much more often.  

Collect email addresses and USPS addresses, reconnect with customers through mailed personalized offers as well as promotions for tailored marketing that pays dividends.  Loyal customers will also appreciate exclusive rewards such as price breaks or early access to new items.


Educational Resources

Customer education is half the customer acquisition and retention battle. A customer who does not know about your pet store or lacks an understanding of its value offering will be inclined to venture to the competition.  

Invest in signage that makes a striking visual impact. Add in-store displays that educate poet owners about animal health and pet care.  If your pet store lacks an online presence, now is the time to create one.  

A blog that provides information about pet ownership and animal welfare will help establish your store as a legitimate source of authority. If you don’t have a dog or other pet trainer on staff, add one to enhance your unique value proposition all the more.  


Feedback and Listening to Customers

Listening has become an increasingly rare skill in the social media era.  People are quick to spout off about every topic under the sun simply because the web has given them a platform to publish monologues.  

Embrace dialogue at your pet store, encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on the web and pay close attention to feedback.  Listen closely when customers speak, implement improvements accordingly and the retail customer journey at your pet store will continue to improve.


Focus on the Minutia of Your Pet Retail Store

The moral of the story is that sweating the small stuff of your retail pet store will increase customer loyalty.  Maintain a shopping space that is friendly to pets, train your staff properly and print out this guide to improve the retail customer journey for the benefit of every employee.


eTailPet Helps Pet Stores Reach Their Potential

We understand pets, pet owners and pet stores better than anyone else.  Complement your retail pet store with our all-in-one point-of-sale platform and you’ll find managing your pet business is surprisingly easy.  We consolidate pet store challenges such as tools for selling on the web, inventory management and marketing in one space, providing you with unparalleled agency.  

Give us a call today at 929-207-8295 or watch a demo of our technology and your pet store will be that much closer to winning more market share.

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