How to Capitalize on the Pet Space Trend
Retailers should take note of a new trend they can implement in their own stores. Public spaces that welcome pets are becoming more common as states and cities loosen laws that ban pets from venues like restaurants and bars. Programs like Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS have also paved the way for a stronger pet presence in urban spaces. This initiative raises awareness of the benefits of pet-friendly policies and offers grants to cities that aspire to help animals lead happier and healthier lives. PetSafe has established a similar grant program that improves pets’ accessibility to public spaces. The funds from the company’s Bark for Your Park campaign help cities build, maintain and enhance dog parks.
If they have space available, pet store owners can capitalize on pets’ increasing public presence. As the summer months come to an end and the heat becomes less oppressive, retailers can offer an outdoor pet patio where dogs and their owners can rest and mingle. The area could include amenities like treat dispensers, toys and water bowls, as well as lawn furniture where owners can rest. If there is no outside space available, retailers can convert a small part of their store into a lounge area that can serve a similar purpose.
Managing these new spaces could translate into increased responsibilities for pet store owners, but the benefits they hold will outweigh any added burden. These spaces can be used to host special events such as a “yappy hour” that can attract customers and increase business. With the holidays approaching, retailers can also host themed parties that include Halloween costume and ugly sweater contests for pets. Photos from these events can be used on social media to promote a store’s online presence and gain new customers.
Most importantly, these pet-friendly areas reflect the fact that independent retailers care about their clientele as well as their furry friends. It is the personal touch that pet store owners add to their services that sets them apart from their big-box competitors. By hosting these amenities, store owners can cultivate their customers’ trust and loyalty and have their store serve as a safe space for the pet community.