Know Your Neighbors

Attracting and retaining high-value customers may be easier than most retailers think; but first, those customers have to be identified.


How well do you know your neighbors?

As a storeowner, not learning as much as you can about the people in your customer base is at best a missed opportunity—and possibly a fatal blunder.

If you are like most retailers, the people in your neighborhood are not all one type. Of course, you want to understand all of your potential customers, but some are more equal than others.

When GfK works with pet specialty retailers, we can analyze the customer database for an entire chain or just a single store and assign the people within to one of six categories, which include:

Privileged Pet—Representing nine percent of consumers, these higher-income pet owners prefer smaller pet shops and are willing to spend a lot of money on their dog or cat.

Bargain Buddies—Representing 17 percent of the population, these lower-income, rural shoppers are focused on getting their pet products at low prices.

Cyber Sidekicks—High-income urban dwellers who prefer to buy their pet supplies online, they make up 11 percent of the population.

• Waffling Woofers—Representing more than a quarter of all shoppers (27 percent), these are channel-neutral customers with moderate incomes.

Vets R Us—This four percent of the population primarily buys pet supplies at a vet’s office or clinic.

Antipetism—Lower-income city residents who have a low likelihood of owning a pet make up 32 percent of the population.

For small retailers, some segments obviously have greater value than others. Bargain Buddies are heading to the big-box stores, and Waffling Woofers are not likely to recognize the value that local pet shops provide. The key is to go after the Privileged Pet segment, which has the dollars to spend and is seeking out the extra service neighborhood pet shops can provide.

Today, this kind of targeting information is not just nice to have—it is a must. Big-box retailers already view their customers in terms of these kinds of analyses, and they target their marketing pieces based on what they know about the customers in certain areas.

So how do you chase down those Privileged Pet shoppers? By utilizing customer segmentation tools—like those provided by GfK—to identify this attractive group, retailers are then able to:

• Send them notices about the high-end products they are likely to want;

• Emphasize the knowledgeable sales people who work at your store, which they will like; and

• Avoid using hooks that won’t appeal to them, like Internet shopping.

The message is clear: For small pet-store owners, the Privileged Pet segment is key. Targeting them more effectively will help you increase sales with maximum efficiency. So be sure to get to know your neighbors better.

Maria Lange is Senior Account Executive with GfK’s Retail and Technology team, helping clients make the most of GfK’s point-of-sale (POS) database representing over 11,000 pet outlets in the US. 

Want to learn more about your customers? Join GfK’s point-of-sale panel, and we will provide an in-depth analysis (“segmentation”) of your customer database at a substantial discount. With this information, you can target and market with maximum efficiency. To learn more, contact Dave Stevens at

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