Purchasing Wholesale Pet Supplies for Your Natural Pet Store: How to Stock Products that Will Keep Your Customers (and Your Margins) Happy

As a natural pet store owner, your goal is always going to be stocking your shelves with the very best products that your customers will love and your profit margins will benefit from. With so many brands, products, and distributors to choose from, however, knowing where to start can be a dizzying experience.

Thankfully, when it comes to stocking shelves with the items your customers want, there are few options more useful and cost-effective than purchasing wholesale pet supplies. Buying wholesale may mean paying more upfront, but it will also garner you a higher quantity of quality products and allow you to charge a higher price for each individual item.

What this accomplishes is an effectively “best of both worlds” situation where both pet store and customer benefit. For your store, you get to build your reputation as a distinguished seller of high-quality products and in doing so keep your profit margins high and happy. For your customers, paying less for each individual product by buying in bulk means you can charge a reasonable price that draws customers in and will keep them coming back to you for all their pet supply needs.

To help your natural pet store get started on the right track here’s a comprehensive breakdown of why purchasing wholesale pet supplies isn’t only one of the best strategies for your business, but also for your customer’s happiness.

Why Wholesale is the Way to Go

When buying pet products, you want the highest quality for the lowest price. Of course, finding both of those is easier said than done, as value and quality tend to be mutually exclusive quantities. However, when you’re buying wholesale products, your chances of finding both value and quality skyrocket.

You don’t need to buy all your pet supplies in bulk though, as there are products that customers won’t be flocking to your store to purchase on a regular enough basis to warrant an extensive stock. When it comes to everyday supplies—like dog treats, dog food, dental care, and other accessories—buying wholesale can be the secret ingredient to your success.  

Buying More for Less

There are a number of benefits for buying wholesale pet supplies, but as is often the case in business, the most important reason to buy wholesale comes down to the money. TopDogTips.com says it like this: “You’re already buying large amounts in regular sizes and quantities, and you can usually buy them much more cheaply in larger amounts as long as you know what to get and how to store it.”

Since your store is going to need to have a healthy inventory of various types and brands of dog treats and dog food, buying wholesale can be a financially beneficial route to go down as it’ll provide you with a wealth of inventory at a lower price point than if you had purchased everything individually.

“For physical store retailers,” Entrepreneur says, “larger volume makes more sense. Most physical store owners have a business plan and have done the research that provides evidence for which products will sell well. So buying mixed orders in larger volume can be a good solution for physical retailers.”

While buying specialty products—such as all-natural dog treats, locally sourced items, etc.—isn’t something you can usually do via a wholesale distributor, you’re still going to need to stock your store with the kind of name-brand items your customers expect, which is where wholesale buying comes in handy. Since buying wholesale rewards larger orders with lower costs per unit, buying mainstream products in bulk can effectively stock your store and ultimately save you money while doing so.

Stocking the Products Your Customers Want

For a business to find long-lasting and sustainable success, it needs to know who its customers are and what those customers value more than anything else. While this can often be deciphered via sales figures and tracking what products sell most often, there is a multitude of other approaches your store can take as well.

If you’re a newer natural pet store, for example, and are looking to get to know your local community, then try asking them what kinds of products they’d like to see your store stock its shelves with. According to data collected in a survey released in January 2012 by Cint, and reported on by Marketing Charts, “62% of global consumers say they are fairly or very likely to purchase a brand’s product if the brand asks for their opinion in a study.”

What this tells us, then, is that if you want to guarantee that your natural pet store has the products that will keep your customers happy, all you have to do is ask them. Not only will this potentially give you valuable information on your customer’s preferences and desires, but it’ll also show them that you're a store that wants to hear from and provide for its customers.

However, as valuable as this kind of communication can be for your business, preemptively providing your clientele with exactly the product they’re looking for before they even know that they’re looking for it can be a surefire way to earn their continued business. This isn’t necessarily easy, since reading the minds of a community of customers isn’t a skill you acquire overnight, but there are ways you can pull it off.

One of the ways you can do this is by simply paying attention. Read forums online, investigate the kinds of complaints your target audience of consumers have with other pet stores, and then make strides toward making sure that your store doesn’t have the same kind of problems.

This might not win you the immediate appreciation that directly conversing with a customer might. But the more informed you are of your customer’s needs, interests, and likes and dislikes, the better equipped you’ll be to provide them with the best shopping experience imaginable. When you know what your customers are hoping to get from your store, the easier it’ll be for you to stock your shelves with the right items at the right time for the right people.

Keep Your Customers (And Their Dogs!) Happy

Once you’ve deciphered what your customers are looking for and how you can best acquire what they want, it’s time to actually put that information to use in order to make your customers (and their dogs!) happy.  

There are obviously a multitude of ways to do this effectively—such as providing a shopping experience the big-box retailers can’t or stocking the very best bully sticks on the market—but for this section we’re going to cover three areas: the best natural products, the best customer service, and of course, the best prices.

The Best Natural Pet Products

People love their pets, and since people love their pets, they want to take care of them in the best ways possible. As a natural pet store, you specialize in providing your customers with unique products and a fierce commitment to making sure your customers and their pets are happy, healthy, and satisfied with the business you provide them with. And as a natural pet store, you obviously need to stock your shelves with the very best natural pet products.

This can be tricky when trying to buy wholesale products—since specialized products aren’t as easy to attain via wholesalers—but it’s far from impossible. You just have to know what it is you’re looking for. For example, when helping your customers figure out what dog treats to get, you’re going to want to know whether their dog needs something durable, something tasty, something soft, or something for a sensitive stomach. Every customer will have different needs, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a sample size to help you gauge how much of a particular product you should always have on your shelves.

“Many pet owners today are willing to spend top dollar to buy the best of everything for their ‘fur children,’ including food and treats. Your challenge, then,” Entrepreneur says, “is to find a niche, such as all-natural food products, and offer a wide assortment so you can position yourself as a leading provider of these items.”

Providing customers with products they can’t find from the big-box retailers automatically gives you an advantage over the competition, especially when the products you sell are all-natural. Filling your store with natural products like bully sticks, treats, odor-free chews, and other treats can pique the interest of discerning pet owners and give you an edge over your competitors by offering items they can’t.

The Best Customer Service

You may not immediately associate purchasing wholesale pet supplies with customer service, but the two are definitely connected. When you hire a staff of pet store employees who are experts in their field and truly love what they do, then they can meet your customers at a personal level that’s unique to them. And when your clientele is comfortable with your staff, then your staff will be in a prime position to learn what the customer is looking for.

For example, Steve King—the president of Pet Industry Distributors Assn.—is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying how local pet stores can be “really successful because they get to know their customers. They can be much more nimble in the marketplace and bring on products that are new and trending and hot.” The better you know the needs of your customers, the better your customer service will be. And the better your customer service is, the better your business will ultimately be.

Becoming familiar with your customers and their preferences will also put you in a prime position to upsell and cross-sell them on new and exciting products that they may not have discovered on their own. You want your customers to have access to the best products on the market, so if you’ve just received a new shipment from your wholesale dealer, then try and upsell or cross-sell these new items to some of your regulars.

If you know their needs and preferences well enough, you can capably point them toward new products that, while outside of their usual repertoire, can delight and surprise them. These may not be necessary purchases or products for your customers and their pets, but it can be a fun and useful addition that can excite your customers and up your profits.

The Best Prices

When it comes down to it, buying wholesale pet supplies is advantageous for your natural pet store because it will save you money and expand your inventory. The larger your order is, the lower the cost-per-unit will be for each product you purchase, as wholesalers want to get rid of their inventory as fast as possible and are willing to sell it to you at a lower price if you agree to buy in bulk.

For example, “Let’s say a hair salon owner is offered a 10% discount if he buys 50 bottles of shampoo. But, if he buys 100 bottles of shampoo, he is offered a 20% discount. The more bottles the salon owner buys, the bigger the discount he receives.” You could swap out “bottles of shampoo” with “dog treats” and the situation wouldn’t change: the larger your order is, the larger your wholesale discount will become.

Since your cost-per-item is lower than usual, you can often afford to charge less for the products in your store as well. This improves the lives of just about everyone, as the wholesalers get to ship out their products, you as the buyer get to stock your shelves with more products for less money, and your customers get to enjoy the benefits of having a natural pet store that can offer affordable prices on the products they need.

Just like The Balance Careers says, you want to “Make sure you have enough materials and other resources on hand if you're producing your own pet products in the fortunate event that you find yourself bombarded with orders.” You can’t always predict how substantial your monthly, weekly, or even daily orders will be, and while overbuying is never a good thing, underbuying can be even worse, as it deprives your customers of the products they need at the prices they’ve come to expect from you.

A Natural Success

If you’re looking to get a leg up on your competition, then buying supplies from a wholesaler like The Natural Dog Company can be just the thing you’re missing. Not only do we guarantee consistent product quality in every shipment, but the unique and all-natural products our brand offers are not available in any of the big-box retailers.

This means that you can save money in the long run by purchasing wholesale products in bulk while simultaneously diversifying your store’s inventory with one-of-a-kind products the competition can’t offer. In fact, in 2017 our pet store clients’ experienced an average sales growth of 30% as a result from stocking their store with some of our exclusive and specialty products.

Ultimately, it’s your job as a natural pet store to make sure that your customers—and their pets!—have consistent and easy access to the best products for the best prices. You want your store to be a trustworthy, reliable outlet for all of your customer’s needs, and when you capitalize on the benefits of purchasing wholesale pet products, you can successfully and naturally do just that.