How stores are preparing displays for the holiday season.
The holiday season is a busy time for any store, especially pet boutique shops, as pets increasingly are becoming more important members of the family. Shops that go the extra mile during this season can exceed expectations with more foot traffic and sales. Whether it’s decorating your shop to show holiday spirit or having a photo shoot with Santa, there are many ways shops can use the holiday season to their advantage.
Perhaps the biggest no brainer when it comes to holiday merchandising is decorating your store, and the winter holidays present plenty of decorating options. Retailers can string up lights, get trees or wreaths, put out a menorah, hang up streamers for New Year’s and more.
Last holiday season, The Natural Pet Enrichment Center, in North Royalton, Ohio, created an atmosphere for their shoppers to relax, providing bottled water, coffee and assorted cookies for them to enjoy.
Another easy holiday merchandising plan is to showcase all of your holiday-related products in one place. Whether it’s having a specific section of the store dedicated to the holidays or creating holiday endcaps, your customers shouldn't have to look twice to know where to go for festive merchandise.
“The holiday season is so busy for our customers. We wanted to create an easy display that they can grab items from and they don’t need to go and search the store for holiday items,” says Lisa Senafe, president and co-founder of Bentley’s Pet Stuff.
It can also be a good idea to have holiday merchandise in the front of the store to grab the attention of potential customers walking by. They might see something that piques their interest, which will then result in them coming into your store to see what other products you have.
“We have a big wooden table right at the main entrance to the store that we use for holiday or special displays that we really want our customers to notice,” says Laurie Wilson, owner of Teca Tu in Santa Fe, N.M. “It grabs attention from passersby, as well as those customers entering the store.”
Homemade holiday cookies and treats for dogs can be a great stocking stuffer or gift that seem more personal, so consumers are more likely to purchase these for family and friends.
“We also carry Christmas themed gourmet cookies, which we place in a cellophane bag with a colorful bow,” says Wendy Megyese, owner of Muttigans in Emerald Isle, N.C. “These are a very popular great gift for customers who want to buy something for someone else’s dog.”
Teca Tu also sells holiday themed cookies, and Notorious DOG in Clarence, N.Y. has holiday flavored ice cream mix for dogs, which makes for a fun activity for dog owners.
Another great idea to get customers into your store is arranging holiday themed photo shoots. Many shops host events that include pictures with Santa, or custom printing on mugs and other items with pictures of pets.
“Our pet photos with Santa are always a big hit, lots of times they become the family Christmas card photo or profile picture on social media, so it’s a great way to get our name out there and bring a lot of joy to the community at the same time,” says Mandi Lenhard, marketing director at CountryMax.
Photo shoots can also be a great way to give back to the community, with many stores using them as fundraisers for local groups or charities.
“Our photo shoot is a fundraiser for a local rescue group. The photographer donates her time and we provide the venue,” says Megyese. “Although we don’t make any profit from the actual photos, it brings in a crowd.”
Megyese adds that when they host photo shoots, the store has a spike in sales since pet parents will buy treats and toys for their dogs.
The Natural Pet Enrichment Center also uses photo shoots as a way to draw customers into the store and support the community.
“We also offer two Picture with Santa days with proceeds going to charity. Our customers enjoy helping out pets in need,” says Christine McCoy, owner of The Natural Pet Enrichment Center.
Pet Central in New York City also hosts a photo shoot with Santa during the holiday season.
Giving back to the community is a great way to not only get customers into your store, but gain the respect of the community. When customers see that your store is supporting other local businesses, they’re more likely to become repeat vistors so they can help as well. Bentley’s Pet Stuff has a Giving Tree each year to support a local animal rescue.
“Each ornament on the Giving Tree has an item the rescue needs to care for their animals,” says Senafe. “Purchase that item and leave it under the tree and we’ll deliver it to the rescue.”
The company also helps by delivering supplies to a children’s home. “We took part of our pet food sales in the Missouri market from oct and nov and purchased much needed supplies to the ST. Vincent home for Children in Missouri last year,” says Senafe.