We’ve all been in a store that has really unique, interesting products, but is so disorganized that we can’t find what we want. Or worse, it’s so overwhelming that we don’t even know where to start looking. And most of the time, we left empty-handed and disappointed.
An uninviting shopping experience like that is not going to lead to repeat customers or growing sales.
We’ve come up with a few of our top tips to help you avoid a bad shopping experience for pet owners and create the most effective pet store layout for your unique stores.
The shopping experience starts outside, so make sure your storefront is inviting. Make sure your store name is easy to read and tells the customer what type of store it is. If you have windows, display some bigger ticket items alongside some more everyday items to show variety. Everything should be easily identifiable as pet products! And do not go overboard. You want your store to look well-stocked, but also clean and tidy from the outside.
Upon entering, it’s important to not overwhelm the customer, and to make sure they can easily figure out where to start. Keep the entryway clear and easy to navigate, and have well-labeled sections for each type of pet. Large signs hanging from the ceiling can help identify these main areas, and if that’s not possible, large pop-up banners or even painted signs on the walls could work well also.
A clear and thorough approach to merchandising in the pet industry, which takes into account the behavior of customers, can increase your sales by at least 10%, and competent display of products – by another 15%.
Also consider which animals are your main focus or drive most of your revenue. In many cases, dog parents are spending the most money, and so the dog section should be easy to find and in an accessible location.
According to many studies conducted regarding how people move around stores, 80 percent of the population looks to the right when entering a store.
Within each pet area, group items by category to make it easy to find. All food should be together, for example, and organized by sub-category. It’s recommended that your sub-categories should be life stage or needs, then groups each brand’s products within those subcategories. So dogs would have their own section, with an aisle dedicated to food. Each 4’ section would break down into life stages, so puppy food, adult food, senior food, and special needs, with a refrigerator on the end cap for raw food. Then in each of those sections group each brand's different flavor options together. In the leashes and collars aisle, the grouping looks slightly different. First, you’ll want to use a slat wall rather than shelving to make things look more organized. In this aisle you’ll group all traditional collars together, and specialty collars next to that. Next, group all leashes together, organized by type then brand. Finally, group any accessories such as dog bag holders or leash attachments in a section at the end. This type of organization makes it easy for pet owners to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Let’s talk about end caps. In many cases, these can be best-sellers or more universal items with less varied options. This is also a great place to merchandise seasonal items!
Fun fact: Over 50% of cat and dog owners give their pets a Christmas present or treat, and about half of the dog owners and about a third of cat owners celebrate their pet's birthday.
Between the aisles, your store may be left with an open area in the center. If you have space to show products here, make sure in this area to use shorter shelving units so it doesn’t cut into your customers’ visibility throughout the store. And don’t try to cram in so many products that you don’t have clear, wide aisles.
Finally - near your cash registers is a great place to merchandise lower dollar value items and easy purchases. Keep in mind everything in this area should have a smaller footprint. Things like small toys, sample size treat bags, accessories like hair bows, and - of course - gift cards. These add to your total sale value without taking up too much space or making your checkout counter feel cluttered. And many of these items are easy impulse buys that pet parents will add on top of what they already needed to purchase. If you offer gift cards, you should display these right near your checkout, either using a simple peg hook of a custom display.
You don’t want your store to feel like a generic pet store. Make sure your unique branding carries throughout the store, that is key to making your pet store stand out. Make sure you have a strong logo and impactful colors to start with, then work them throughout your store. In this business, you can have a little fun! Just not so much that people don’t take your business seriously. Make sure your signage matches the colors and fonts of your brand, and carry those colors through on your countertops, floors, and walls as well. Just remember it’s about balance - white space is also important. Finally, it helps if you use a “mascot” or two. Maybe have a go-to character in each major pet category that you use in your signage and marketing materials. Give them a name and use them consistently as part of your brand.
Getting your first pet store up and running can feel overwhelming, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you can tackle it one piece at a time. An effective pet store layout is critical to the success of your business, so make sure it’s optimized right from the beginning.
An easy-to-use point of sale system is also critical to a successful pet business. Request a demo of eTailPet today, and keep checking back for more great tips on our blog!