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10 bright ideas to drive more foot traffic to your pet supply store

May 10, 2019

Adorable dog pushing shopping cart

If you’re looking to increase foot traffic to your independently owned pet supply business, it can be a challenge. To capture the hearts (and wallets) of the many pet parents in your community, try some of these tips to help you stand out in the crowd.

1. Flash sale!

Things like road construction and gloomy weather have cooling effects on foot traffic. Or, sometimes things just get slow and we don’t know why. An impromptu sale or irresistible special can be a surefire way to get people in the door. Offer an out-of-the-blue percentage off, a free upgrade or even a free gourmet treat with every purchase. Then, get the word out with a social media post, email blast or a hand-printed sidewalk chalk sign — it’s up to you!

2. Liven up your in-store adoption events

Pet rescues and pet supply stores have always teamed up for an adoption drive; you’re probably no exception. Make sure you’re doing all you can to maximize the good and the connections you’re building. First, think of creative new ways to promote these events. Try posting pet profiles on social media ahead of the event. It’s sure to melt hearts and inspire followers to hit “share” and “love.” Also, take a look at the frequency of the events. If you’re doing these monthly, consider playing the host more often. Finally, don’t let adoptive parents walk out the door without a celebratory social media share and a welcome packet, complete with money saving coupons to help them restock.

3. Host one-off services for busy pet parents

Make it easy and convenient for your customers to access high-quality services to care for their pets. Team up with local vets and groomers and other animal professionals in your community to host one-off in-store clinics. With things like kitty pedicures, doggie spas and microchipping clinics, your customers will have a means to multitask.

4. Invite local animal gurus to lead informational sessions

Recruit local animal experts to present a free, entertaining, informative session that can help pet parents up their game, or spread goodwill in the animal care community. For example, you could invite a therapy animal group to give a talk on how people and their well-behaved pets can become a therapy team. Or you can play host to a series of classes on dog obedience for beginners. Don’t forget to serve treats at the end, so everyone has a chance to mingle and bond over their mutual love for animals.

5. Tailor some marketing to key life changes

Research shows that life transitions offer an opportune time for people to replace well-established routines with something new. In addition to marketing to new pet parents, consider other changes that can get new faces in the door. For example, target people who recently moved to a new home. Send mailers and coupons that help new homeowners stock up and get settled. When they come in and make a purchase, have a welcome packet at the ready, complete with information, local resources and a batch of coupons for future visits.

6. Create social opportunities

You'll want to get the most out of social media to get the word out. Bottom line, if you don’t have an account or are not using it regularly, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with your customers. Customers will be looking at your Facebook profile before they make an in-person visit, so make sure the "about" section has all the details they need to know. Also, create events for all the happenings at your site, whether it’s a microchip clinic or a pet adoption day. Third, try and post something at least once daily. It can be as simple as sharing customers’ adorable puppy photos or an informative article around the care and feeding of pets. Good pet content is one way to keep you top-of-mind when customers need to restock their pet supplies.

7. Make sure shoppers can easily find you online

Even though you’re a brick-and-mortar business, having a good online presence is key to being found. That’s because before they shop, many people pick up their mobile devices and do an online search. You want to do what you can to rank high in the search results and present a robust presence that looks attractive and established. First, check online search engines, business review sites and other places where you have — or should have — a platform. Make sure all the key details are accurate and up-to-date, especially store hours. Then, add photos of your store, and above all, encourage happy customers to leave reviews.

8. Build your email list

Reaching new customers is usually the name of the game, but it’s also smart to do what you can to inspire repeat visits. As the adage goes, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times their first purchase!

Starting today, collect email addresses, because email marketing is an effective but low/no-cost way to keep in touch. Build a newsletter that keeps people up-to-date on the latest classes, clinics, adoption events and sales going on at your store. Don’t forget the fun stuff, like customer-submitted pet photos or the latest funny pet video. Finally, make it worth their while by embedding a special promotion from time to time.

9. Build a loyalty program

Rewarding people for returning and buying your products is a great way to keep that foot traffic going. These programs can attract new customers, boost retention and increase spending — especially when these generate offers that are relevant to their pet care needs.

10. Celebrate with a great party!

Find a reason to host a party. It can be your store’s anniversary, a tie-in to a neighborhood festival or the dog days of summer. When you offer treats, games and giveaways, you’ll have the perfect trifecta for pet families to get out and have fun together — and meet like-minded people. Offer fun events, like a doggy photo booth, costume contests, obstacle courses, and paw imprints that can be taken home. Be sure and encourage local organizations and suppliers to set up a booth. If they can’t send a representative, they may have great samples to share for giveaways.

NutriSource does more than make locally sourced, high-quality pet food trusted by pet parents. You can also access our expertise through our informative pet articles and social media posts, delivered right to your mailbox. Just visit NutriSourcePromoMktg.com to set up your free access to ready-to-publish pet content. Then, share it with your customers so you can do even more to help pet families live happy, healthy lives.