Looking to Build Loyalty? Start with the Basics



Most independent pet retailers rely on their regular customers to ensure they can keep their lights on. Often, when talking loyalty, the conversation turns to frequent-shopper programs, discounts and marketing techniques like email newsletters or events. 

But all of those conversations are leaving out one key piece of the loyalty puzzle: Nothing is more memorable for a shopper than when they make a personal connection with a store’s employee. 

I still remember a shopping trip I took to a local pet retail store more than years ago, where an employee took the time to chat me up about my cat. I wasn’t having a particular problem, or even looking for anything special; I’d just stopped in to grab some kitty litter on my way home from work.

He asked asked about my cat’s age, asked if i’d been happy with the product I was using, and, when I said I liked it but… had a suggestion for further reducing kitty odors at home.

That brief moment of connection? It cemented me as a loyal shopper until I moved out of the area.

In another more recent encounter I stopped in at a local shop and was looking for some chews for my German Shepherd. I asked about how long a particular product was likely to last—the employee asked about my dog and then wound up recommending I NOT buy the product I’d been considering. Her honesty led me to return several times since then, spending well more than that cost of that one product each time.

The bottom line? If you want to build loyalty, start with the basics. Ensure your team is taking the time out to ask after your customers, and maybe even ask to see a picture or two. Your customers will remember it, and it’ll encourage them to return the next time they have pet products they need.


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