How to Encourage Impulse Buys in Your Pet Store

There are a number of reasons why you should train your employees to encourage impulse buys in your pet store. This will help increase your average order value and, if you’re recommending quality products that your customer will find useful, it will increase customer loyalty.

About 40 percent of consumers spend more money than they originally planned while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, according to research conducted by A.T. Kearney. This means that nearly half of your customers could potentially make an impulse purchase while shopping in your pet store. Luckily, impulse purchases aren’t completely random. There are psychological reasons that a customer may choose to impulsively buy a product, and ways you can encourage them to do so.

Increase Visibility

1. Most dog chews have fantastic margins (especially when you compare them to products like dry dog food). Keep a jar of inexpensive (between $0.99-$1.99) chews right at your register, and don’t be afraid of rotating through different flavors or types of chews every so often. When you increase the visibility of a product that might otherwise not get noticed, you’re increasing the likelihood that a customer will see the product and make a split second decision to make the purchase

2. Certain types of dog food are still relatively new to market, such as dehydrated or freeze-dried food. Manufacturers are often more than happy to promote these types of products in the form of free samples. You could fill a basket full of Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried meal mixer samples and display it next to your most popular brand of kibble. Include flashy signage that says something like, “Spice up your dog’s kibble! Free sample. Rehydrate and mix in with kibble - your dog will thank you!” If your customer likes it, they may be back for more on their next visit!

Strategic Positioning

1. The majority of your customers will visit your store to purchase cat food or dog food, so those sections should be located at the back of your store. This way, your customer will need to walk by the grooming supplies, toys, treats, collars and leashes twice - once on the way to the food, and once on the way to the checkout counter. When you use strategic positioning, your customers can see a larger variety of different products that you offer.

2. You can also be creative by displaying products that go well together. Your customer may even think, “I never thought the two of them would go together like that!” For example, position some kibble dispensing toys next to your most popular brand of dry dog food, along with some signage that lists some of the selling points: provides mental enrichment, it’ll take 10 minutes instead of 10 seconds for your dogs to complete a meal, improves digestion, etc).

Suggestive Selling

If a sales associate can develop a rapport with your customer, they’ll be in a much better position to recommend products that your customer may not have originally intended to purchase. The important thing is to recommend products that would actually solve a customer’s problem, which helps prevent buyer’s remorse.

Luckily, most people absolutely love to talk about their pets. If you’re not used to chatting your customers up while they are at the register, it may feel a little awkward at first. But with practice, you’ll realize that the majority of your customers will be very happy that you asked them about their pet.

Here are a couple of common scenarios that will occur over and over again at your pet supply store!

1. Whenever a customer brings dog food to the counter, ask them if they also need a bag of dog treats! Or, alternatively, you can ask the customer, “How is your dog liking that food?” Oftentimes, your customer will say something like, “He really loves it! He wolfs down his entire meal in under 10 seconds.” This is a good time to demonstrate your product expertise and ask your customer, “Have you ever used a slow feeder bowl? (like this one) Instead of finishing a meal in 5 seconds, it’ll take your dogs 5 minutes.”

2. When a customer brings puppy food to the counter, ask them, “What kind of puppy do you have? It must be so fun having a puppy around the house!” Often, a customer will make a remark like, “Great, but he’s really hyper! I can’t get him to stop chewing my shoes…” Ask your customer, “Have you ever tried offering him a bully stick or some other long lasting chew?” and if your customer seems interested, you can give a quick spiel about how puppies need to chew, that it feels good to them and calms them down. Recommend they offer up appropriate objects that their puppy is allowed to chew instead of punishing the very natural desire to chew.

3. When a customer purchases grooming supplies (such as a brush, or nail clippers), you could ask your customer something like, “How does your dog do with nail trims?” If your customer admits that their dog doesn’t enjoy grooming, let your customer know, “You could get a tasty bag of dog treats and feed them to your dog while you’re grooming them - it’ll teach your dog that grooming isn’t scary, and that they get a special treat whenever they get groomed!”

Anticipate Shopper’s Needs

Depending on the season, certain types of pet products will be in higher demand compared to other seasons.

1. For example, in the summer months more of your customers will be on the search for flea and tick prevention products. These products should all be grouped together and made visible right as someone enters the store. A lot of your customers may be surprised to see that they can purchase their flea and tick preventative from you, rather than making a special trip to their veterinarian’s office! It may be helpful to print out informational sheets for your customers that describes the different types of preventatives that you carry as well as the pros and cons of each type. 

2. You could also design an endcap dedicated to having fun with your dog during the summer. Prominently display your Frisbees, water toys, and life jackets. You can even post a list of dog friendly locations to take your dog swimming and hiking!

3. Use signs to direct your customer’s attention. In the summer months, you may want to have a sign that says, “We have cooling beds!” or one on your freezer that says something like, “Beat the heat with some frozen raw bones!”