Small Pet Business: 9 Profitable Retail Ideas

by eTailPet | May 14, 2024

Do you own a small pet business?

If so, you likely opened your store because you love pets and want to serve them and their owners — and while making money may not be your only priority, you do need to make a profit to keep your doors open.

Running a small business isn’t easy, though — especially in the current economic climate. But with the right strategies, it can be a profitable and personally fulfilling endeavor. To succeed, small pet business owners need to be creative, in tune with their target market, and willing to collaborate with others.

Let’s explore nine retail strategies to increase profitability at your small pet business.

1. Emphasize Personalized Customer Service

Personalized customer service is one of the key selling points of a small pet store, as opposed to a national chain or online retailer. For your store to set itself apart, top-notch customer service must be a priority.

When possible, remember the names of regular customers and their pets. This may be a challenge, but customers are more likely to return to a store where they’re known and they trust the products, services, and advice they receive. If you really want to go the extra mile, try to remember which products and services your clients and their pets prefer.

Excellent customer service creates customer loyalty. When a customer has a great experience, they’re likely to refer their friends. However, if a customer has a bad experience, they’re just as likely to spread the word. 

For this reason, when customers have issues, need to make a return, or have questions, you need to make time for them and do your best to resolve their issues. By putting forth a little extra effort, you can build a positive relationship with a customer, even in a difficult situation.

2. Curate Unique and High-Quality Pet Products

Stock high-quality products and look into locally-sourced products where possible. This is another selling point that can set you apart from larger retailers. Many pet owners are willing to pay extra cash for food and other supplies their pets love, instead of the cheapest option.

Unique pet supplies can help you differentiate your store. Collars, leashes, harnesses, and toys with unique colors and designs can catch pet owners’ eyes and improve their shopping experience. By consistently stocking unique items and finding new ones, you’ll maintain customer interest and keep them coming back to see what’s new.

Reach out to local artisans or niche suppliers to find unique local products to fill your shelves, too. This adds variety to your selection and allows you and your customers to support members of the community.


Related Read: Understanding Supplier Selection Criteria: A Comprehensive Guide for Pet Store Owners


3. Create a Pet-Friendly Shopping Environment

Naturally, customers want to bring their pets with them to the store, so it’s in your best interest to make your store as pet-friendly as possible.

To make your store more pet-friendly, you can:

  • Set out bowls of water for pets, either inside or outside your store.
  • Provide a safe environment, including removing chew hazards from the ground.
  • Keep products off of the ground.
  • Train your staff to be comfortable with pets and safely interact with them.
  • Maintain spacious shopping areas so pets and owners can shop comfortably.
  • Designate certain areas of your store as “pet areas.”

Don’t forget to promote your store’s pet-friendliness to draw pet owners into your store. Maintaining this atmosphere can help you make your customers feel at home, so that they’re more likely to return.


Related Read: Improve Your Customers’ Shopping Experience: Tips To Create an Effective Pet Store Layout


4. Host Pet Adoption Events and Workshops

Hosting events in your store generates buzz and excitement, and increases awareness of your brand. Adoption events and educational workshops bring people together and do good in the community. To put these events on, work with local animal shelters and experts to make sure you’re following correct procedures.

When you host quality events that help pets and their owners, you emphasize your store’s commitment to pet welfare. Demonstrating this commitment in a genuine way increases brand loyalty and trust.

5. Offer Pet Grooming Services

In many areas, there is significant demand for pet grooming services. If you have sufficient space and staffing at your store, adding grooming services to your store’s offerings can be an additional revenue stream that can help your store stay profitable.

If you choose to add grooming services to your business model, be sure to train your staff sufficiently, including receiving required certifications. Do your research to make sure all the correct policies are followed. By offering quality grooming services, you create routine visits that continually support your business.


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


6. Implement a Loyalty Program for Pet Owners

Offering a pet loyalty program is another way to create recurring visits. A loyalty program rewards repeat customers by providing extra value. They may be structured using points, tiers, spend, referrals, or in a variety of other ways.

Point-based rewards systems are common in the pet industry. Points are earned each time a customer makes a purchase, and a certain amount of points can earn a discount or a free product or service. If customers can check how many points they have on an app or website, they’ll be more motivated to accumulate points to get closer to their next reward.

Be sure to offer meaningful rewards to your customers. If the reward for frequent purchases is too small, customers may lose interest in the rewards program and return to your store less often.

7. Leverage Social Media To Showcase Pet Products

To create a successful brand, social media presence is a must. Utilize this outlet to showcase your products and engage with your customers. 

Fill your social media channels with images and videos of pets to catch pet owner’s eyes and demonstrate your store’s focus on pets. Post pet spotlights, pet care tips, and even funny pet videos and memes.

Social media marketing increases brand visibility and, when managed correctly, drives sales.

8. Partner With Local Pet-Related Businesses

Collaborating with other local businesses, especially pet-related businesses, can strengthen your brand and expand your customer base. Reach out to veterinarians, shelters, dog walkers, and other organizations, and work together on projects that benefit both parties.

Once you’ve established partnerships with other organizations, utilize social media and in-person events for cross promotion. If you find an organization you trust, like a veterinarian’s office, refer your customers to them. Shout them out on social media or invite them to participate in an event at your store. If you prove your organization is also trustworthy, they’ll likely promote your store to their customers as well.

9. Offer Pet Training Classes and Workshops

Another event to hold in your store is a pet training class. Professional pet trainers, who usually focus on dog training, teach pets important skills. Good trainers can calm an anxious dog, teach basic obedience, and help give pets the skills to interact with the world around them.

There are various types of dog training you can provide at your store, including:

  • Positive reinforcement training
  • Leash and collar training
  • Obedience training
  • Behavior modification training
  • Agility training
  • Socialization training
  • Nosework training
  • Crate training
  • Protection training
  • Therapy dog training

Education and assistance with dog training is essential for many dog owners. Offering trainings increases awareness of your store and fills it with potential customers.

Finding the Right Strategy for Your Small Pet Business

There’s no one right way to run a pet store — how you run your small pet business depends on the needs of your customers and their pets. 

Test a variety of strategies and determine which ones your customers respond to the best. In time, you’ll create a customized strategy for your business, leading to profitability.

Our 9 ideas to achieve profitability:

  1. Emphasize personalized customer service.
  2. Curate unique and high-quality pet products.
  3. Create a pet-friendly shopping environment.
  4. Host pet adoption events and workshops.
  5. Offer pet grooming services.
  6. Implement a loyalty program for pet owners.
  7. Leverage social media to showcase pet products.
  8. Partner with local pet-related businesses.
  9. Offer pet training classes and workshops.

As you implement these strategies, be creative and tailor them to your business needs.

Remember: Always consider your customers and their pets when running your business. Providing them with a great experience is what will truly lead to success for your store. By implementing strategies that benefit them and continually improve your operations, you can boost profits and keep your pet store open for years to come.

To get started with these ideas, you need a point of sale (POS) system with industry-specific features that make your life easier. eTailPet’s all-in-one system can help you with social media, website services, appointment scheduling, and more. Schedule a demo to learn more today!