Big Potential for Small Retailers

Pet Store Pro can make a difference in independent pet specialty retailers' struggle for market share.


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Good news! Recent surveys continue to predict a bright future for the pet industry. Contributing factors include the boom in pet ownership and the tendency for pet parents to humanize—and often, indulge—their pets.

However, strong demand and rising sales opportunities for pet supplies and specialty products come with increased competition on all fronts. Supermarkets offer the convenience of one-stop shopping to busy parents of both children and pets. Mass merchandisers and online retailers have the capacity to buy in bulk, which translates into lower prices for consumers. Big-box specialty stores have an edge on independents in terms of cost and selection. In fact, more than half of pet store industry revenue comes from two big-box specialty retailers, according to an IBISWorld Industry Report.

So, what can independents do to grab and grow their share of the market? The experts say that a knowledgeable staff who can connect with customers about their pets is how successful smaller retailers set themselves apart.

As people continue to pamper their pets, independent retailers will benefit most, says Clarice Bough, website content and public relations manager for Animal-World.com. “They are more adaptable and can readily offer pet products, foods and services that meet the specific needs of their customers.”

To capture this market, everyone who works for you must be able to provide personalized service and reliable advice. Free online training from Pet Store Pro is the cost- and time-efficient way to improve your team’s skills and build your store’s reputation as the go-to place for people who truly care about their pets.


New “Micro” Courses

Pet Store Pro will introduce three new chapters during 2015, two at the associate level, and one for owners and managers. Students should be able to complete each “micro” course in approximately 15 minutes and immediately use the skills they’ve learned.

Suggestive Selling for Associates explains how to increase total ticket value and provide great customer service. Associates will learn how to use four suggestive selling techniques to recommend additional products customers may want or need. Pet Store Pro will officially launch the chapter here at the 2015 Global Pet Expo. Retailers can check it out at PIDA booth 2301 or online at petstorepro.com.

Cashier Basics for Associates teaches primary responsibilities at the point of sale. These include being considerate to customers while following store policies to make a positive impression. The course applies to every business management and POS system. Lessons focus on how to process different types of transactions, assist customers and handle merchandise properly. The chapter is expected to launch in August 2015.

Social Media Marketing for owners and managers provides specific tactics and delivery strategies to save time and increase the impact of social media marketing campaigns. Retailers will learn how improve customer engagement and quickly create great posts. The chapter will launch in May 2015, in time to help you plan your holiday marketing campaign.


Targeted Training

Now it is easier than ever to align training with the products you sell and the skills your people need. In addition to the new micro chapters, Pet Store Pro has divided every course in its current curriculum into shorter, self-contained sections that each take about one hour to complete. The redesigned format lets you customize curriculum by assigning an entire chapter or only the sections that apply to your business.

Courses focus on key success factors for any pet retailer, whether or not your store sells live pets. For instance, Pet Store Pro’s two merchandising chapters teach associates how attractive displays can encourage shoppers to buy more. Pet nutrition and specific animal care chapters provide students with essential knowledge to help customers make the right choices and engage them in conversations. Retail manager training helps owners and managers handle daily operations better, as well as build, coach and motivate an expert team.

Chapter content is fact-based, brand-neutral and industry-specific so lessons can be put to work immediately in your store. Teach new skills, evaluate employee strengths and weaknesses, and get new hires ready for the sales floor—including associates who are starting their very first job.


Ready to Compete
Pet Store Pro was developed by the distributor members of the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) in 2008 to address independent retailers’ needs for structured training resources. The program now offers 27 associate- and management-level courses and remains 100-percent free, thanks to continued full funding by PIDA.

Pet Store Pro’s online format is easy to navigate from a computer or tablet. Students can study independently at home, at the store during downtime or from anywhere. Training managers can assign courses, set deadlines, check progress, and send reminders whenever and wherever it’s convenient. Registered users also have access to videos of select seminars from Global Pet Expo. You can even test-drive the program from your smartphone right here and now.
As the industry grows, so will the competition. Make sure your team is ready with Pet Store Pro.


Since its launch in 2008, more than 21,500 pet store owners, managers and sales associates from over 4,500 retailers have used Pet Store Pro. Pet Store Pro is free to qualified retailers; visit petstorepro.com to register and begin using the program. To learn more about Pet Store Pro, visit PIDA booth 2301 today or log on to petstorepro.com any time.

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