Dust is collecting on your shelves, everything seems as if it hasn't moved in months, and even you get bored walking through the aisle looking at the same old packages in their same old positions. You don't have the budget to do an entire overhaul, but you know something needs to change if you expect your conversion rates to rise.
When your displays are starting to look a little plain and you want to bring back the excitement factor of a new and improved space, it's time for something new. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can bring life back into your store - even if you don't have a large budget.
1. Flip your toys around
One idea published in Pets Plus Magazine by Toni Shelaske of Healthy Pet Products in Pitssburgh, PA is bringing " toys in back to the front, and [moving] toys in front to the back." Then, flip your products vertically to change up the visual element.
2. Curate similar pet products
It's almost summer and that means it's just about time for beach days and lounging at the dog park on a sunny afternoon.
Your customers will be coming in to pick up a new Frisbee, tennis ball, water bowl, or other interactive pet product that they'll need for their fun in the sun with their pet. Why not create a display centered around summertime play for dogs or lounging and relaxation with cats?
3. Review your product selection
Walk through your aisles and mentally check every product and brand that you have stocked on your shelves. Compare their brand values and strategy against your own and ask yourself whether they are in alignment.
Are they targeting health-obsessed active Millennials with keywords like "non-GMO" and "grain free"? Or, are they attracting the all-natural and limited-ingredient Generation X mom?
As you walk, keep your own target customer in mind and cross-reference. When you're done, check your inventory in your back-stock. Which brands aren't selling and why? What can you do to get rid of them and replace them with a product that better fits your customer's needs?
4. Display Product Reviews
What if you could incorporate product reviews in your very own store? What if a customer could walk up to section of products, scan a barcode, and get a set of recommendations complete with product reviews?
Here are a few ideas you can take and display within your shop taken from our blog post on incorporating technology in your pet store:
- Easy: Ask top customers to review their favorite products right there in store (top three words, short sentence, etc.). Then, type up and print out reviews and place them near barcodes or as shelf talkers.
- Medium: Make it easy for consumers to find product reviews online. They’re going to anyway, so why not make it as efficient as possible for them? Print out barcodes or QR codes that link to product reviews online and place them near product on shelves. Pro tip: Don’t worry so much about losing these customers to e-commerce. They’re already in your store, and the product is right in front of them. Saving a couple of bucks may not be worth having to wait a few days for delivery, and they’re going to search online anyway. The point is making their experience in your store as efficient and pleasant as possible.
- Hard: Scannable barcode/QR code that brings consumer to a mobile-friendly webpage on their phone. The page would be designed to recommend products and would be complete with product reviews and even a link to learn more (linking to vendor’s website). BONUS: Personalize the experience by setting up a simple 3-question survey for each category to narrow down customer preferences. For example, “What kind of pet(s) do you own?” “How many do you own?” “What brands do you currently love?”
5. Set Up an E-Commerce Shop
Would you rather spend hours fighting traffic to get something you need today or opt to wait a few days in exchange for the convenience of shopping in your living room?
The growth of e-commerce is something that has many pet businesses on their toes. After all, how can you compete with low prices and ultra-convenience? Well, as the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, join them!"
In other words, setting up your own e-commerce pet shop, or at least including elements such as delivery, is a great way to stand out from your competition. Plus, getting started is easier than you think.
6. Shift Your Displays
If you and your customers are getting bored of seeing the same products in the same places time and time again, it might be time to switch up your merchandising displays.
Go beyond simply switching up the products on your permanent end cap displays. Move them to the other end of the store to change things up visually. Base this change on how often your regulars come to the store. Do they come every month to pick up a new bag of cat litter? Set a reminder to make changes the first week of every month.
Remember that some of your customers may get frustrated if they can't find the products they always come for. Consider keeping the major items - namely dog and cat food - in the same places or, at least, the same part of the store to maintain convenience for their shopping experience.
If you do want to switch things up in your major departments, do so sparingly. If you'd like to expand your cat food section by moving it to the other side of the store, do so after a year or so and try not to go back and forth too often.
7. Engage Through Education
Your customer is in a rush; most of the time, they've just run in on their way to doing other errands to pick up the same bag of dog food they always buy.
You only have a few seconds to capture their attention and potentially upsell their purchase with an impulse buy. Set up quick and engaging snippets that will catch your customers' eye as they rush down the aisle.
Teach them a quick fact and, if anything, at least they'll leave your store feeling a little bit smarter than they were before.
8. Add a Chalkboard
This charming and artsy way of displaying all your updates makes for a fun and personalized sign that is quick and easy to change. If you decide to start offering pet sitting services or want to draw a picture of a dog, all you have to do is erase and get creative.
9. Make sure your shelves are clean
This one seems obvious, but it's one that is easily overlooked. One way to spruce up your store without spending any money is to make sure your floors and shelves are wiped down and dust-free.
Make a habit of cleaning your displays on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep them looking fresh and clean. While you're at it, check for anything nasty that might have found its way to the pet food sitting in the back - there's nothing worse than picking up a bag of food with bugs hanging all over it.
Throughout the day, make sure your employees are facing the products. Move each product to the front of the shelf and face it forward to make your displays visually appealing and give your customers a good idea of each product with just a glance. Products on hooks should always be pulled forward to give the illusion of full stock.
P.S. While you're at it, if your shelves are looking a little empty, spread out the products to fill them up a bit. Empty store shelves will kill your sales and give your customers the illusion that you might be going out of business.
10. Boost your brand recognition
The brands on your shelves aren't the only brand at your store. In fact, your customers came to you for a reason - build their loyalty by giving them a chance to get to know you!
Make sure your logo and colors are prominent throughout the store. All signs and displays that are not provided by your manufacturers should be consistent with your selected logo, colors, and fonts. If not, it's time to look into making some updates.
Have you just gone through a merchandising update in your pet shop? Send us your before-and-after photos on Twitter or Facebook. We'd love to share them as inspiration!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer and writer for the pet industry. Growing up in the pet industry, she has keen insight on market trends and a passion for helping small businesses grow. Her portfolio includes various topics from pet food trends to using technology and marketing strategies to boost pet business sales. When she's not writing articles or working her day job, she's playing with her cat (Chewie), reading a book, or hiking one of Washington's many trails.
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