The Three Ps of Merchandising

For pet retailers, the keys to a successful merchandising strategy are presentation, placement and promotion.




Doug Poindexter


Successful retail stores are built on being strategic, business savvy and on target with the latest merchandising techniques. Merchandising can be one of the most important tools in your retail toolbox. This year at SuperZoo, the World Pet Association (WPA) is launching the Concept Store for that very reason. The Concept Store is designed to reflect the ‘gold standard’ retail experience—an inspirational environment where attendees will see merchandising best practices and new technologies in action. Retailers will learn how they can enhance their stores and increase sales with strategies for store set up and design, category management, QR-code development, SKU and inventory management, and much more. Below are just a few of the key takeaways we’ve learned while developing the program.

Presentation: Experiential marketing is reshaping the face of retail, thanks to increased competition from big-box stores and e-commerce sites. Every touch-point in your store is an opportunity to impress—from the more obvious customer service, signage, décor, and product and window displays to the less obvious lighting, music, product testing stations, technology features and more. Adding these unique and creative touch-points will transform your store into a destination, keeping customers engaged, entertained and eager for more.

Placement: Get the most out of your creative displays and touch-points by strategically placing them in your store. The best way to find what works is to simply watch your customers’ behavior. Are they heading straight for the dog food? Place the dog food in the back of your store and make sure they walk by the dog treats, the dog toys and the dog accessories, too. Once you figure out your customers’ habits, you can ensure they see more of your store, increasing the likelihood of them buying more than they originally came in for. Strategic displays and store design can also help guide your customers to more sales. We use the same concept with the SuperZoo show floor. We arrange our show features at different corners of the floor to ensure we’re driving traffic around the Expo Hall. We also do our best to categorize products with easy-to-navigate neighborhoods.


Merchandising techniques can help turn your store into an experience, a competitive player,


a reflection of yourself—and help you find new ways to profit in the process.



Promotion: You’ve directed your customers to your new creative displays—now it’s time to make the sale. In-store promotions and coupons can help move the needle for the non-essential items, increase unit sales on necessities or garner awareness for new items. Promotional techniques include loss leaders, deeply discounted products to drive in-store traffic; point-of-purchase items placed near the cash register; rewards programs to encourage loyalty; and sampling and in-store events. Regardless of what tactic you use, be sure to track your results to determine which promotions work best with your customers. Also, make sure you’re marketing your promotions outside your store. SuperZoo University will feature an all-day workshop, Marketing Your Retail Pet Store: A WhizBang! Boot Camp, which will go into more depth on many of these tactics.

In short, merchandising techniques can help turn your store into an experience, a competitive player, a reflection of yourself—and help you find new ways to profit in the process. The bar is rising for retailers as consumers expect more from their retail experience. Ensure you’re staying relevant and maximizing your sales potential.

Doug Poindexter is president of the World Pet Association, organizers of SuperZoo (July 23-25 in Las Vegas), America’s Family Pet Expo (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Aquatic Experience – Chicago (Nov. 15-17).

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