Love it or hate it, technology has always been intended to make our lives easier. Since we learned how to make fires, humankind has been working on ways to improve our lives through tools and technology designed to make us more productive and fulfilled.
Today, nearly 80 million pet owning households in the United States are also looking to improve their lives and the human-animal bond between them and their pet.
For example, as I write this, I'm sitting on my living room couch with my recently turned five year old cat looking out the window next to me. Without my portable laptop, I wouldn't be able to sit at home enjoying his calming presence while I write this article.
Similarly, technology can make it possible to improve the relationship between both your pet store employees and customers as well as with your customers and their pets. All you need to do is make your shop a little bit smarter.
Technology in Pet Stores
Incorporating technology in your pet store is the first step to increase your employees' relationships with your customers, improve conversion rates, and make a lasting impression that keeps them coming back. It has become so accessible that pet retailers are now able to use it to improve customer experience in stores.
When looking at incorporating pet store technology, the first thing to do is understand your customer. Companies such as Amazon and Chewy/PetSmart are becoming popular and convenient shopping destinations for pet owners.
Taking from the Success of E-Commerce
Ask yourself: with so many ways to buy pet food online with just a few clicks of a button, why are consumers opting to shop with you? They’ve willingly put on a pair of pants, left their home, drove through traffic (and sometimes even bad weather), fought with other drivers to find a place to park, and walked in your store doors to pick up their dog’s favorite brand of pet food.
It's probably because e-commerce retailers lack an important part of human nature that you can provide: the entire customer experience. They can touch things, physically view the quality of a product and speak with your employees, allowing them to leave your store with a smile on their face.
With this in mind, consider how you can use technology to improve this customer experience. Whether you want to hear it or not, there's a lot that brick & mortar pet stores can learn from e-commerce when it comes to using tech to their advantage to build trusting relationships with customers. One thing you can do to incorporate a major benefit is integrate customer reviews with the shopping experience.
Imagine this: what if a customer could walk up to section of products, scan a bar code on their smart phone, and get a set of recommendations complete with product reviews?
Adapting to Mobile
Speaking of smart phones, customers are relying on their handheld devices more than ever to tell them everything they need and want to know at any given minute. If you think that's a lot of pressure for the device, consider what that means for you when they're shopping in your store.
More than likely, your customers are walking in, scanning a product on their Amazon app, and reading the product reviews. While this helps your customer make a buying decision, why should they have to go off site in order to find the information they need?
In addition to incorporating reviews in your store, another step you can take is to make your pet store a little more mobile friendly. Five ways you can do that include:
- Create a mobile-friendly website
- Set up retail beacons
- Partner with same-day delivery services
- Offer extensive resources for shoppers
- Implement a mobile POS
Technology in Pet Products
Just as you'd like to connect deeper with your customers, so to would your customers like to connect better with their pets. Fortunately, pet tech is able to help them do just that.
Depending on their lifestyle, pet technology can transform the bond between a pet owner and their furry friend. Whether it's to video chat and give them a treat while they're on a business trip or request a dog walker to take them outside for a bit, both the person and the animal get benefits from the technology we're seeing in pet products today.
Some of the technology we're seeing focus on lately are in:
- Training devices such as the BarkBuddy
- Pet feeders and fountains such as the SmartLink Feeder and the gosh! EasyFeed
- Litter boxes such as the Litter Robot
- Video cameras such as the Eyenimal
- Toys such as the app-enabled SmartPult ball launcher
Products like these are helping pet owners get closer to their pets - even when they have to be further away. App enabled video cameras that dispense treats and balls keep pets engaged when the owner can't be around, therefore keeping their bond even in lives' busiest moments.
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