Ready for a Howling Good Time?




It’s that time of year again — Halloween is right around the corner, and after that Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before you know it. Chances are good you’ve already ordered (or have at least started) additional inventory for the season, and maybe even brought on some extra help.


But have you thought about how your store can get in on the party?


A quick search for Bark-tober or Howl-o-Ween in Google or on Facebook bring up dozens of results. If you’d like to leverage events to drum up some extra foot traffic this holiday season, there are two options…


Find a Local Event To Join

As I mentioned, there are dozens of events being planned across the country from October through December (and probably even some New Year’s parties too).


If there are any local events in your area, it’s worth finding out whether they’d allow you to partner with them. Depending on the event, your involvement may be as simple as gifting some goodies for a raffle or goodie bags for attendees, or as involved as setting up a tent at the event to sell products, or hand out cookies and coupons.


Tips for Success

  • If dogs will be there, bring a water bowl and keep it full. People will congregate around the water bowl and stop to browse and/or chat for a few minutes while their dogs grab a drink.
  • Bring/include cards with your location on them. There’s a good chance some of the folks that stop by the event won’t know where you’re located, but may be interested after learning a little about your store.
  • Bring something to capture customer information. If you’re going to be at the actual event, when you meet people, ask them to sign up for coupons and/or join your email list, so you can follow up after the event and ensure they remember they met you.
  • Everyone likes a giveaway! Regardless of your level of participation in the event itself, considering giving attendees something -- even if it’s just a sample from your favorite vendor.


Host A Bash Yourself

The second option for leveraging events this holiday season is to host one yourself. If you go this route, it’s extra work, but there’s also the potential for a lot of extra reward.


Invite pet owners and their furry friends into the store to enjoy holiday-appropriate decor, goodies for humans and four-leggers, and give them something to celebrate that also encourages them to linger and browse.


Generally, setting a specific time works best, but you could also run a holiday special. For example, for Halloween, anyone who stops by with their pet in costume that week gets a free bag of treats or qualifies for a special sale.


Tips for Success

  • Encourages Attendance with Free Food. If you want to avoid overspending on the complimentary goodies, set the event up on a site like Eventbrite, and ask people to RSVP. Just be prepared for a few folks to stop by without a reservation!
  • Contact the Media. Let the local TV station and newspaper know you’ll be hosting the event and would love them to attend; even if they can’t make it, send them some photos afterward. Pet events always make a good, happy, news story.


Considering Partnering with other Pet Businesses. Whether a grooming shop or a shelter, partnering up with another business can help you cut costs and give you a little extra help promoting the event and doing the work involved in planning and preparing.


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