Winning New Customers

Pet specialty retailers that use the free Pet Store Pro online training program have a powerful new resource for growing their customer base.



For a specialty business like pet retail, the way to grow is to stand out from the competition. People shop at independent pet stores to receive useful advice about their pets and find products, foods and services that meet their specific needs. You can train your staff to provide expert service with a structured program like Pet Store Pro, the leading training program for pet retailers. But to win new customers, you need to find them first—then give them a worthwhile reason to visit your store. 

Pet Store Pro has partnered with Monthly Targets, a direct mail marketing agency, to help independent retailers grow their business. Just as Pet Store Pro helps build the skills that keep customers coming back, Monthly Targets can help you get new customers in your door with effective and affordable targeted marketing campaigns.

Most independents have limited marketing resources and need to make every dollar count. Targeted marketing concentrates your efforts—and marketing spend—on the consumers who want or need what you sell. That means you don’t waste time and money marketing to people who aren’t interested in your business because they don’t live nearby or they don’t own a pet. It’s a great way for small retailers who sell specialty products and services to:

• Introduce your business to potential new customers.

• Convince buyers to choose your store over the competition.

• Move inventory and generate sales.

• Gather quality leads and build customer loyalty.

Put Your Message in Shoppers’ Hands
In order for people to respond to your marketing, you have to capture their attention. Even in today’s digital world, direct mail is still one of the most effective ways to get your message read. According to the Direct Marketing Association, response rates are higher for direct mail than for all digital channels combined. 

People physically touch their mail, which literally puts your message into their hands. An attractive direct mail piece that addresses recipients by name gets noticed more than an email in a cluttered inbox. Direct mail won’t get caught in a spam filter or ask readers to open an attachment or click on a suspicious link. In fact, people who don’t trust electronic advertising will be more inclined to visit your website and social media pages if you invite them to do so by direct mail. 

Direct mail is a great way to attract new customers by delivering coupons and incentives they can redeem at your store. You can personalize your offer with their names and other information to make stronger connections. It’s easier to track the results of a mailing than a digital campaign, which you can use to measure profitability and fine-tune future marketing efforts. A postcard format saves on costs and lets recipients see your message without even opening an envelope. 


Identify Your Target
Registered Pet Store Pro users can receive a free Area Analysis Report from Monthly Targets that identifies the number of dog owners, cat owners and “other pet” owners within a specified distance of their location—as well as the average number of new movers per month. According to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2015–2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 65 percent of new residents in your area own pets. These could be your new customers—if you can get them in your door before a competitor does. 

Monthly Targets will review your report with you at no charge to fine-tune your analysis and answer specific questions.  

Save On a Turnkey Marketing Campaign
Pet Store Pro users can also receive discounts on any of Monthly Targets products and services. Monthly Targets will work with interested retailers to craft a complete, cost-effective direct mail campaign—from targeting prospects to tracking results. Prices are designed to fit a small, independent retailer’s budget, with additional discounts and waived setup fee for Pet Store Pro users. Monthly Targets can also help you identify co-op dollars to help fund your mailings. 

Wes Alcott, who owns Kruse Feed & Supply in La Habra, Calif., teamed up with Monthly Targets two years ago to advertise to new customers. “It was quick and easy to get up and running with our first campaign,” he says. “The ability to customize the mailers and our delivery area saved us a lot of time and money.” 

Targeted Mailing Lists
Monthly Targets can build a custom mailing list for your ideal target market using current information collected from opt-in surveys, public records and credit card companies. Or, they can compare your existing customer database with their own data, which is updated weekly, to add additional details and to weed out people who have moved away or no longer own a pet. 

Lists can be narrowed to include only people who own a certain type of pet or prospective customers of a certain age, income, marital status or education level. For example, the 2015 IBISWorld Industry Report, Pet Stores in the U.S., estimates that consumers between the ages of 45–54 account for nearly 25 percent of local pet store revenue. You can focus on people who have more buying power and do a smaller mailing to improve your ROI.


Personalized Incentives
Pet Store Pro users can choose to deliver their message to their targeted mailing list on Monthly Targets’ signature “Pop-It” Cards. These perforated plastic postcards are personalized with the customer’s name and invite them to pop out a sturdy, credit-card-sized coupon or loyalty rewards card to redeem at your store. Monthly Targets’ library of postcard templates makes it easy to create a professional mailer that features your logo, without additional design costs. 

Pop-It Cards are designed to be slipped into a wallet and remind the recipients to come to your store for their next purchase instead of the competition. “Our Pop-It cards have a gift card attached for a one-time use, as well as a key tag for discounts on future purchases,” says Alcott. “Customers walk through the door extremely happy to have received our mailing.”

Intelligent Tracking
Alcott tracks his campaigns using Monthly Targets’ tracking application, which can be integrated into a retailer’s existing point-of-purchase (POS) system. 

Each Pop-It card contains a unique bar code to capture the names and addresses of buyers who redeem your offer. The online dashboard displays real-time data, such as response rate, return on investment and average spend by offer, as well as the number of new and repeat customers.

“Currently, we send out 500 cards per month, and we’ve seen a tremendous increase in new clients,” says Alcott. “Each month, we get approximately 50 new customers in return — and they always spend more than the offer’s face value.”

Learn More at Booth 2301
Stop by booth 2301 to learn more about Monthly Targets and free online training from Pet Store Pro. Registered Pet Store Pro users can receive their free Area Analysis Report from Monthly Targets. The free report is an exclusive benefit for Pet Store Pro users, so if you’re not already signed up for the program, you can register at the booth.

Stephanie A. Kaplan is the director of online education for the Pet Industry Distributors Association. She manages PIDA’s free online training program, Pet Store Pro. Since its launch in 2008, almost 25,000 pet store owners, managers and sales associates from more than 5,200 retailers have used Pet Store Pro for brand-neutral training to build critical skills. Pet Store Pro is free to qualified retailers; visit to register and begin using the program.


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