What Women Want

How to see your pet store through a woman’s eyes.


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What percentage of your pet store customer base is comprised of women? Women account for more than 85 percent of all consumer purchases. Research shows that they control $20 trillion in global spending, and that 92 percent pass along information about deals or finds to their friends.

Do you need more loyal female customers? It’s time to look at your business through a woman’s eyes. In his book What Women Want, Paco Underhill challenges businesses to ask this powerful question of everything they do: “What makes this package, product, space, design, etc. ‘female friendly’?”

To woo your best customer, there are three things you should keep in mind:


1. Appearance is Important: Women develop strong opinions about a business based on its appearance. If there are fingerprints on the entry door or trash of any kind, she will conclude that if the entry is dirty then so is the rest of the store. Dusty shelves, poorly maintained carts and especially a dirty bathroom will be evidence to her that employees lack attention to details. If you think people disregard uncleanliness in a pet store, think again.


2. The Right Environment: Women shop in a variety of businesses and have expectations when it comes to store design. Women are a detail noticing machines. Simplify your merchandising displays, focus on informational signing and create soft, curving aisles for her to meander.

Straight, monotonous rows; items that are too hard to reach or heavy to pick up; aisles she can’t pass another cart in; confusing or no price signage and smells that leave her looking for the exit are all reasons she’ll give for not returning.

A knowledgeable, attentive pet store employee can be a female customer’s best friend, your competitive advantage and part of your store design.

There is a continuing trend toward female pet parents who are Millennials, as well as the opposite end, the Empty Nesters. These animal lovers are concerned with healthcare for their pets, as well as how to travel with them and, of course, how to show them off with the right clothes and accessories.


3. A Personalized Experience: Personalization is rampant in every business, including pet stores. Women crave the unique and unexpected. What do you do differently from other stores that she will remember and tell her friends about? 

Many things can affect the overall experience she has in your store. Here are a few helpful ideas: 

• Stay engaged. 
• Carry out large items.
• Ask her opinion. 
• Hire and train enthusiastic and knowledgeable employees.
• Be involved in the community.

What are you doing to woo your best customer—your female customer—so she stays happy, doesn’t go to another store, and shares that feeling with everyone she knows? 


Anne Obarski works as a customer service strategist with companies to develop and deliver innovative ways to keep customers coming back and spreading the word about their service experience every step of the way. She believes that customer service isn’t about the transaction, it’s about transforming customer relationships into a contagious experience worth spreading. Her interactive keynotes and workshops help challenge leaders, create more effective sales teams and improve performance at each and every customer service touchpoint. Obarski works with small- to mid-sized businesses and professional associations.

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