Boosting Holiday Sales

Pet retailers can make the most of the busy fourth-quarter shopping season by following five easy steps.


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The busiest shopping day of the year—that post-Thanksgiving frenzy known as Black Friday—is upon us once again, marking the official start of the U.S. holiday shopping season. The final month of the year can represent 20 to 40 percent of a retail business’s annual sales, so pet stores should be doing everything possible to keep their cash registers busy during the holidays.

The opportunity is ripe—the National Retail Federation forecasts a 4.1-percent increase in holiday sales over last year, outpacing the sluggish growth of the prior two years.

Here are some practical strategies for maximizing holiday sales in pet stores this year:

1. Place products strategically. Location, location, location—the real estate mantra works equally well here. Put popular gift items and seasonal products in store windows to catch shoppers’ eyes, or in a prominent spot that can be seen from outside the store. Also, position displays by the register to encourage impulse purchases at the point of sale.

2. Offer special holiday sales. The holiday season means holiday sales, so retailers should make sure they run special discounts or product promotions on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and other days or weekends when people are shopping for gifts. Trying different promotional strategies, like daily deals or doorbusters, will reveal what works best with a particular store’s clientele, so retailers should take note of the most effective offers.

3. Pay attention to the store’s online presence. More shoppers than ever are buying online, so pet retailers with ecommerce sites should be prepared for heavier web traffic and increased ordering. They should also consider running special online promotions such as free shipping or holiday packaging. Don’t forget—a social media presence is absolutely essential. Posting regularly during the holidays will keep the store top of mind with regulars and will provide an opportunity to promote special sales.

4. Don’t forget customer service. This time of year is always hectic, but retailers should make an extra effort to provide top-notch customer service. They should go above and beyond to make sure customers feel well taken care of. Pet stores can offer gift-wrapping options or a free treat with every purchase. Turn new customers into loyal regulars with a little TLC.

5. Get involved in community events. Pet stores should participate in community events and consider donating a portion of the proceeds to a local animal shelter. This won’t directly increase the store’s profits, but it’ll go a long way toward generating goodwill and boosting the business’s visibility in the community.

It is also never too early to start planning for next year. Pet specialty retailers can bypass some of the holiday madness by budgeting well and getting all of their holiday products next July at SuperZoo, the most popular trade event for pet retailers in North America. The show’s timing fits well with the retail buying cycle, and retailers will avoid the headaches and uncertainty that come with late ordering, leaving them with more time and energy to devote to making sales rather than scrambling for inventory.

Have a festive, fun and profitable holiday season!

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