The Coronavirus has dramatically altered our world at an alarming rate. Across the country, schools have closed, large- and small-scale events are canceled, and people are self-quarantining in attempts to slow the spread of the disease.
While so much of our daily life is in flux, some things will stay the same. Pet owners still need to care for their furry friends, and they’ll continue to need products to do so. With so many brick and mortar retailers being forced to temporarily close, more pet owners are turning to online giants like Amazon and Chewy for home delivery. This presents a huge challenge for local pet retailers who don’t yet offer this perk.
As independent pet retailers, it’s crucial to get into the business of home delivery as quickly as possible. Below, we break down the benefits, the challenges, and what to consider when adding home delivery.
Home Delivery: the Value for Independent Retailers
Pet parents may be turning more to online shops for their product needs, but one thing that independent retailers still offer that they can’t get from Amazon or Chewy: the personal relationships.
Independent retailers know their customers better than anybody. They’ve often developed strong relationships with them, which can only grow by adding something that their customers desperately need: home delivery.
Understanding and anticipating customer needs can go a long way in building loyalty. For retailers with a customer database, start tracking what and how often customers are buying. This could be used to trigger emails or calls to loyal customers, with an opportunity for special discounts and the option for home delivery, even before the customer knows they need a certain product.
Another added value? Pet retailers may also be experiencing more downtime, and home delivery is a great option for filling that void when customers aren’t present in the store.
Things to Consider as a Retailer
So you’re sold on the value. Now what? There are some key questions you’ll need to ask before diving in:
- Can the store handle the potential capacity?
Be sure you’re not sacrificing in-store service in order to try something new.
- Should it be an in-house delivery or a service?
Is there a nearby method of delivery that makes sense? For in-house, you’ll need to determine if you have the resources. For a service, you’ll need to check on any existing relationships you may have.
- Are there budget constraints?
If you’re facing this, consider options like GrubHub or UberEats.
You’ve made the decision, and you’re ready to get started. Good for you! Some points to keep in mind as you begin your venture:
- Start small and test the waters
Schedule your initial deliveries around busy times in the store
- Keep it easy peezy and user friendly
Remember who you’re competing against. Make the experience as seamless as possible, and they’ll keep coming back.
- Check out Etailpet
Etailpet is a great way to get your new venture going. Connect with your customers online and send them to your website. From there, they can choose in-home delivery or store pickup. And you can’t beat the price — less than a cup of coffee per day!
- Work with brands such as WizSmart for special discounts on products sold for home delivery
Retailers would get a bill-back for items they sell on delivery. The retailer would send the distributor a report with the number of items sold for delivery, and in turn, the distributor would get their money back via credit from the manufacturer. The money the retailer gets back could be used toward the cost of the delivery, or could be passed along to the consumer. Win-win!
We face a lot of uncertainty and challenges in the coming months. Remember that independent retailers still have a leg up on the competition with personalized service. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of more opportunities to connect and build loyalty with your customers. Start talking about home delivery now.
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