Six Essential Principles Retailers Don’t “Get” About Pet
In a few key supermarket departments, if you’re not winning, you’re losing — and Pet is one of those key influential departments. These, essentially, are the trip-driver categories. When shoppers have these items on their shopping lists, the opportunities are substantial to meet the needs of this mission-based shopper demand.
It’s all about instilling shopper loyalty by doing an outstanding job with the key departments that can make a difference in where they choose to shop. Among these, Pet Care stands out as one in which loyalty translates directly into higher total store purchases. According to Nielsen research1, pet owners classified as “high loyals” spend an average of $2519 at their chosen store; that’s 170 percent more than the overall shopper base.
Despite Pet Care’s influence on total store sales and profits, many operators treat the department as they would any other center store category — and that’s a mistake. Here are six principles behind creating a winning pet care department that many retailers are overlooking:
1. Pet Care needs to be a true shopper destination in your store. That begins with a dedicated Pet department, clearly positioned in the store by overhead signage visible from afar, with inviting — preferably dramatic — entryways such as a dedicated PetCare end cap.
2. The Pet department will yield more sales when it’s easy to shop. Shoppers are in a hurry. Lay out the department based on their most popular trip missions. Think like a pet owner. Satisfy the “What’s on my list?” needs first but tie in items that complement the mission. Make it easy to find what they need.
3. Pet is a powerful trip driver. Pet owners will make a special trip if they are in danger of running out of pet food or litter. Use pet as a visible, easy to see lever in promotions to ratchet up trip frequency. They can buy pet just about anywhere, make sure they choose your store when they are making out their shopping lists.
4. Although pet purchases tend to be planned, the nature and size of the pet transaction is highly influenced in-store. Sixty-one percent of planned purchases are influenced by in-store activity. Expand their baskets by creating opportunities for impulse purchases of high-margin items such as pet treats and toys.
5. Out-of-aisle merchandising for pet can be just as creative (i.e., effective) as in produce and other perishable departments. Bordering the pet aisle, innovative fixturing such as bulk bins, spin racks and merchandising islands can interrupt the shopper’s route around the perimeter to make an incremental sale and remind them to enter the aisle for stock-up purchases.
6. Emotion drives pet category engagement … and spending. Play to the emotional dimension of Pet. More involved pet owners make 8 percent more trips and spend 33 percent more. Warm photo imagery of pets and their families, can make the connection in-store. Community programs such as pet adoption days and pet care clinics can help you cement that emotional attachment to your store brand.