Newsbites

How Dogs and Cats’ Physical Touch Have Helped Pet Parents Get Through Covid-19

by Lisa Fimberg on January 13, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a boom of pets being bought, adopted, and brought into many homes during 2020.  It really isn’t surprising because of the joy, comfort and love that puppies and kittens bring to the lives of many pet parents.

There have been numerous studies about how pets provide the emotional support needed when pet owners are feeling down, stressed or as in Covid isolated.  With the lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines in place, many have lost the most basic human interaction and that is touch.

While having virtual Zoom meetings and drive by visits have given many a social outlet, many people have missed out on the basic human interactions – a pat on the back, hug or even high-five. Without any real physical contact outside our immediately family, many people experience a sense of loss.

A new study shows how both cats and dogs have provided the much needed physical and emotional support – a cuddle or snuggle.  Even just their mere presence can help both emotionally and physically while pet owners work at home.

The benefits of a pet’s touch

The use of animal–therapy to help with mental and emotional health issues isn’t anything new, but is often overlooked.  There have been many studies that show how dogs and cats can help pet owners cope with anxiety, emotional disorders and even PTSD.

Furry family members can prevent many pet owners from becoming depressed or lonely as they keep us busy, engaged and loved. The act of petting a dog or cat releases an endorphin to alleviate the stress.  The importance of touch can sometimes be forgotten or disregarded.

A new study illustrates how pets have helped us during Covid

A recent study published by researchers at the University of South Australia points to the role that pets have played in 2020. The research team interviewed 32 people and found that simply touching their dogs and cats can assist in promoting health and well-being when human contact has been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 90% of the respondents said that just touching their pets both comforted and relaxed them, and the pets seemed to need it as well. They also provided examples of dogs and cats touching their owners when they were distressed, sad or traumatized. Many people referenced their pets’ natural ability to be able to sense when their pet parents were not feeling well and wanted their pets to get physically close to them.  It was interesting to note that it wasn’t only dogs and cats that provided emotional support but sheep birds, horses and even reptiles that can reciprocate touch.

According to an interview with Dr. Janet Young, lead researcher, physical touch is a sense that has been taken for granted until Covid-19. “In a year when human contact has been so limited and people have been deprived of touch, the health impacts on our quality of life have been enormous,” Dr Young said. “To fill the void of loneliness and provide a buffer against stress, there has been a global upsurge in people adopting dogs and cats from animal shelters during lock downs. Breeders have also been inundated with demands for puppies quadrupling some waiting lists.”

It is estimated that more than half the world shares their lives with one or more pets. The health benefits of pet ownership have been widely reported, but few studies have been done regarding the specific benefits that pets bring to humans in terms of touch.

Dr. Young explained. “Touch is an understudied sense, but existing evidence indicates it is crucial for growth, development and health, as well as reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It is also thought that touch may be particularly important for older people as other senses decline.”

She further believes that having pets in aging residential care could have helped tremendously during Covid. With family or even friends being restricted from visiting, many had felt emotionally deprived.

Once this pandemic is over, it might be beneficial for some offices to allow dogs.  Based on all the research we have, most of the employees would feel less lonely, or even stressed out.   Social interactions would increase which could help with team building and productivity.

Source:

University of South Australia. “Pets, touch and COVID-19: Why our furry friends are lifesavers.” ScienceDaily, 1 December 2020.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201201091831.htm

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Lisa FimbergHow Dogs and Cats’ Physical Touch Have Helped Pet Parents Get Through Covid-19

How Much Staffing Does Your Pet Store Really Need?

by Lisa Fimberg on January 11, 2021

Whether you have a small or large pet store, one of the most important factors to the success of your store, is your staff.  Without the proper employees to run the store, it is unable to run smoothly and can be detrimental to your bottom line.   So, the question begs “How much staffing does your pet store really need?”

Staffing Your Store

Due to Covid-19, pet store staffing may look very different than in prior years.   With social distancing guidelines in place and fewer people in the store, many pet stores overall staffing has been reduced.

The most important thing to consider is that you have enough staff to ensure that you are getting the supplies you need, have an appealing floor display as well as knowledgeable employees to help your in-store customers.

Of course, the size of your store and how much traffic you get can also be an indicator of how much staff you need.

Pet Store Managers

Most stores have an on-site manager who is responsible for managing all the daily duties to ensure that your store runs smoothly.

Most managers help with hiring new staff and provide the training to the sales staff.   A manager will also merchandise the products as well as oversee and maintain the inventory.

Pet store managers must also ensure that all the puppies and animals in their stores (including fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals) are in accordance with local regulations and animal care guidelines.

Most of these duties are operational oversight.   The bigger corporate chains, or larger independent pet stores will need more managers to oversee the individual managers that might run grooming or even veterinary service.

The smaller stores will usually have the store manager cover all the department duties and even perform some of the more hands on duties such as customer service or running the cash register.

Pet Floor Staff

Your store needs to have enough staff to cover your in-store customer needs as well as to help the manager with any of their daily tasks.   Because of Covid-19 and very few drop-by visits, you should have a better gauge of how much foot traffic you will have and accordingly how many sales associates necessary.

For the most part, usually one manager as well as one to two sales associates that rotate shifts and fill in the week should be sufficient for a smaller pet store.  The larger stores might even have supply staff, additional managers and even kennel staff.

The Right Staff

The biggest complaint among most pet store owners is the ability to find quality employees.  While finding the right employee who will stay with your store can provide a challenge, it is up to you or your management to provide the employee with the right training to lead them to success.

Quality employees that are keepers can answer all headaches.  You need to reward them and let them own their position.  Give them incentive to stay and grow with your store with bonuses and encouragement.

If you find a willing and able new employee with little experience, the most important thing to remember is that the training part is easy.   A good attitude and willingness to learn and stay with your store can go a long way for employee retention and the success of your store.

How Third Party Pet Can Help 

With fewer staff on the floor as well as less customers in the store, let us help you with your staffing headaches.  You might even find that due to the Covid-19 unemployment stipend, it is even harder to find employees.

Our services from lead management to registrations can help your store tremendously.  We can answer the phones, set up leads and help with registering your customers pets.   This way your staff can focus only on the in-store customers without manning the phones.

Be sure to contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to see how we can help your store and make your staffing headaches disappear!

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Lisa FimbergHow Much Staffing Does Your Pet Store Really Need?

The Importance of Socializing Puppies for New Pet Owners

by Lisa Fimberg on January 6, 2021

When your customers bring a new puppy home, their new furry family member is exposed to many new sights and sounds.  Each new person they meet, object they touch and place they encounter is exciting and new to them.

Socialization is the learning process through which puppies become accustomed to being near various people, animals, and environments.  By socializing a puppy early in his or her life, the puppy will be better adjusted, less aggressive and ultimately happier in life.

Proper socialization can help eliminate behavioral problems in the future and create a better bond between the puppy and their family.  It can also help puppies become more tolerant of changes in their environment and help prevent common behavioral problems in the future.

When should new puppy owners start to socialize their puppies?

New puppy owners should socialize their puppies in their first four months of their lives.  Introductions to different sights, sounds and textures should start as soon as the pet parents take their puppy home.

The process starts at the puppy owner’s home and eventually leads to outside outings.

Your customer’s veterinarian is always the best resource to ask when new pet parents can take their puppies out to public places.  Most recommend waiting until the puppy is at least 7 to 8 weeks old and has completed their series of vaccinations.

Some tips to help new puppy owners socialize their puppies at home:

New puppy owners should touch and handle their puppies to make their pup more comfortable

New puppy owners should familiarize their puppies with their touch. Whenever possible, they should touch or pet their puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, and body. Once their puppy is comfortable with being handled, it is easier for pet parents to trim their nails, brush their teeth, clean their ears, and give them medication when necessary.

Introduce their puppies to various sights, sounds and people

Puppy parents should introduce their puppies to different floors, textures, areas of their home, and expose their puppy to as many different types of scenarios to make the pup feel comfortable.

After the puppy feels comfortable with all the existing stimuli, puppy owners can then introduce their puppy to people of different ages and sexes. If their puppy allows it, they should let other people touch their paws, ears, mouth, and bodies.  This can help their puppy become more comfortable with being handled by other people as well as their veterinarian and even groomers.

Take this whole process slowly

It is important for pet parents to avoid going too fast with each of these steps. For instance, if they want their puppy to get accustomed to being handled by multiple people. they can start with a family member and then add someone new to the process. Once the puppy is comfortable, they can move to other people and places.

If pet parents move too quickly and the puppy becomes overwhelmed, this can lead to a fearful response to new people and places in the future.

Pet owners should make this a positive experience

Each time they introduce their puppy to something new, they need to make it positive.  Treats, praise, petting can all work wonders to help the puppy associate each new experience positively.  Owners need to try to be positive and not nervous or fearful because the puppy will pick up on this and could act out.  Some puppies adjust immediately while others take a little more time.

Pet parents can then set up play dates in a safe, controlled environment

Once the puppy seems comfortable, pet parents can invite safe, friendly dogs to their homes.  Or they can take their puppy to a friends’ house and see how he or she does.

Meetings with other puppies shouldn’t start until most of their vaccinations are started (which is usually seven to eight weeks).   Puppies can be taken to the dog park after their full series of vaccinations have been completed and again this should be a slow, controlled process.

Puppy training classes are great for socialization

Even in the time of Covid-19, there are still puppy training classes (socially distanced) led by training specialists that give the puppy the opportunity to socialize with other puppies and with children and adults.  Puppy kindergarten is a safe place for pet parents to take their puppies because vaccinations are usually required for all participants.

Puppy kindergarten classes are offered by some veterinary clinics, dog training facilities, and pet supply stores.

A socialized puppy is a happier one which can make it easier on the puppy as well as the pet parents.

If your customers have questions about socializing puppies or any other behavioral questions, our Solutions.pet agents can help.  Make sure to contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about this service.

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Lisa FimbergThe Importance of Socializing Puppies for New Pet Owners

How Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Social Media This Year

by Lisa Fimberg on January 4, 2021

Whether you are a big box retailer or a local community pet store, it is important to have at least some social media presence.  After all, that is where your customers tend to visit daily.  If your store uses Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any of the emerging platforms, it can be beneficial to take some time to plan out the best strategy for your store.

And what better time of year to map out how you can budget your social media campaigns or to start creating some new posts, blogs, or pictures to share.  You can either pay for directed ads or just post daily pictures, articles, or content to help engage your customers.

While maintaining a social media presence can take some time each day, it can be beneficial for your store in the long run.   It can help keep your current customers connected as well as bring new customers to your site or store.

Focus on your most relevant and engaged platforms:

If you do not have the time to spend on all the platforms, pick one or two that are the most relevant or where your customers are most engaged.  It is better to spend time building a real and consistent presence on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and not a scattered one on all three.   Choose the platforms where you find you have the most captive audience.

Some ideas of what your store can post to increase awareness on your social media platforms:

It is important that you don’t just sell or promote your store or products on your social media profiles.  The goal is to engage your customers and promote your brand which will ultimately bring them back to your store or site.  Photos, videos, and relevant content is a great way to engage your audience.

Some ideas to try:

Offer tips on puppy, kitten, or any pet care related advice

Your customers would love puppy, kitten, or basic pet care tips.  For example, how to help your puppy sleep through the night. You can mention that having the right crate or the right blanket can do wonders for a puppy’s sleeping habits (you might even get an additional sale from this as an added benefit!).

Get your followers to talk about their pets

Everyone loves to talk about their furry family members.  You can get conversations started with topics that ask your followers about their pets.   For example, “What are four things that you love the most about your puppy or kitten?” “What toy does your pet love the most”?  “How did you come up with your pets name?”

You will be surprised by how many people love to talk and share pictures of their pets to a captive audience.

Create contests

Contests are a great way to create engagement and can be very effective on any of the platforms.  It can be a fun puppy photo contest, a caption-the-photo contest or even a video contest to engage your customers.  Contests are shareable and can generate some buzz around your store.

For example, you can run a photo contest on your Facebook page of the cutest puppy and owner duo and use a customer voting system to choose the winner of a new bed, blanket, or jacket.  Who doesn’t love to share their picture of themselves and their puppy?

Even better, if you get permission from the winner or even the contestants, you could use the photos later for promotional purposes.

Post images of your customers with puppies and/or products

If you can post photos of your customers with your products and/or new puppies, that can be a big win.   You can ask your followers to share photos on your page of their puppies or kittens as well as different products they buy from you.  This can be a great way to create engagement and you can link the product photos to your site to gain traffic and traction.

Offer exclusive deals that are only on social media

By offering different deals on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter that are exclusive to your fans and followers, it can be a great way to get people to like and follow your store.   It also shows your customer and fan base that you appreciate their loyalty.

Include hashtags in your daily posts

Hashtags are not only just for Twitter, but for Facebook and Instagram as well.  By using hashtags, it can help ensure that your daily posts are seen by a greater audience than just your followers or fans.  The more specific the hashtag, the better to make your product, brand, or store to stand out.

Share or retweet other articles that are relevant

When you come across an interesting or relevant article about puppies, kittens, or anything topical about pets, it can be beneficial to share them on your Facebook page, or retweet them on Twitter.  Sharing content can be a great way to engage with your customer base and the content source will appreciate your recognizing and sharing their posts.  They might even share something of yours as a thank you.

Be consistent about posting

It is very important to be consistent about posting on your most relevant platforms.  Whether it is every day or four to five times a week, having posts and content that is fresh can make your store stay top of mind to your followers.   If you keep the posts relevant and engaging, your customers will return to the platform and even share some of your content which can help attract new customers.

Having a social media presence can take some time and effort, but the result can be worth it.

If you need help with any pictures, graphics, or product photos to share on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, our marketing team can help.  Contact our Success Team to learn more about how our marketing service works: successteam@thirdpartypet.com.

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Social Media This Year

Can You Have A Dog If You Allergies – Some Hypoallergenic Recommendations

by American Kennel Club on December 27, 2020

Sharing your life with a dog is a special experience. After all, they’re adorable, perceptive, and provide unconditional love. In fact, having a dog in the home can provide many benefits to kids in particular, such as greater compassion and self-esteem.

But how do dogs affect our health? Recent research has shown that children exposed to dogs may have a lower risk of asthma. And surprisingly, dog exposure before the age of one might protect against future allergies. But what if you suspect you already have an allergy to dogs? Perhaps you get a runny nose or watery eyes whenever you’re around one. Or what if you’ve already had a dog allergy diagnosed?

Well, having a dog certainly won’t relieve your symptoms. Does that mean you can never have a dog, or could a so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breed be the answer? Is there even such a thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog? Or could there be other options?

Everybody’s allergies are different, ranging from mild to severe. And there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure. Depending on your situation, you might be destined to live dogless. However, if you take the time to do your research, get proper allergy testing, and work on keeping the allergens at bay, dog ownership could be a possibility. Read on to see if owning a dog, even if you have allergies, might be in your future.

What Causes Allergies to Dogs?

“Hypoallergenic” dog breeds are often defined as those that either don’t shed or are hairless.

Breeds in the past thought of as being ‘hypoallergenic’ are really breeds or types of dogs with minimal shedding or whose type of hair (or lack of hair) may cause less possibility to create a reaction due to the type of coat that breed has,” affirms AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein.

But does a dog’s coat really determine the risk of an allergic reaction?

For most people with dog allergies, the dog’s fur isn’t the issue. According to Dr. Klein, it’s not necessarily the fur, but the dander, that causes allergic reactions in people. Dander is the tiny bits of skin that are shed from the dog, much like people “shed” dandruff. This dander often ends up combined with other allergens, like the proteins found in the dog’s urine, feces, and saliva.

In most breeds, shed fur can carry proteins and dander all over your house. So-called “hypoallergenic” breeds don’t have that problem. But of course, they can still cause an allergic reaction. No breed is truly allergy-safe. In fact, “hypoallergenic” dogs may produce just as many allergens as their shedding, furry cousins. And all those allergy-triggering proteins can become airborne, particularly when your dog licks himself when grooming. Dander and protein can also be directly transferred to you when you pet your dog or if your dog licks you.

So, despite their label, there is no guarantee a “hypoallergenic” dog breed won’t trigger your allergies.

What Is An Allergy Test?

If there isn’t a truly hypoallergenic dog, and you believe you may have allergies, does that mean all hope is lost? Not at all. The first step in determining if you can live with a dog is to undergo testing for allergic sensitization. Although what’s causing your allergies might seem obvious, don’t self-diagnose, because your symptoms could be unrelated to what you suspect. Plus, up to 80% of people with allergies are allergic to more than one thing. And those allergic triggers can add up. So, if you have an issue with pollen and a pet allergy, reducing exposure to the pollen might be enough to keep your dog allergy symptoms at bay.

Plus, allergy tests have come a long way. While skin prick tests and traditional blood tests both help a clinician diagnose allergies to common causes like pets, new blood tests that examine allergens on the molecular level can provide clinicians with even more information. Using a standard blood draw, allergen component testing can get extremely specific. It can pinpoint the exact allergenic proteins that may be causing your symptoms. And in terms of dog ownership, that can have a huge impact.

For example, some people are only sensitive to a dog protein called Can f 5, which is only produced by male dogs. Up to 30% of people who only have a Can f 5 sensitivity may be able to tolerate a female dog or a male dog that has been neutered. Armed with this detailed information about your allergies, you will be in a much better position to make a responsible decision about dog ownership.

Are There Dog Breeds Suitable for Allergy Sufferers?

The real issue to consider is the severity of your allergies. If your symptoms are inconvenient but tolerable, then there is likely a place for a dog in your life. And in that case, Dr. Klein says so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breeds are likely the safer choice. These are the American Kennel Club’s recommended breeds for allergy sufferers:

There is a wide range of less allergenic dog breeds, from the large, intelligent, and protective Giant Schnauzer to the tiny, calm, and hairless toy Xoloitzcuintli. Dr. Klein points out that because smaller breeds have less of everything, they will also create less dander than larger breeds. Research the available breeds and look for one that fits your lifestyle.

For example, do you want a high-energy dog to participate in dog sports with, or would you prefer a quiet lap dog? It’s essential to find the right match, so in addition to coat care and dander potential, look at size, personality, activity level, trainability, and more.

Dr. Klein emphasizes that the match should be for the dog’s entire life, stating, “What no one wants is to relinquish a dog because of factors like a change in income, a change in living arrangements, or the development of an allergy by a member of the family.”

Although it’s a difficult decision, on the rare occasion that you can’t find the right match, Dr. Klein advises that it might be wiser to not acquire a dog, rather than bring one home only to relinquish it for rescue.

Source : https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/can-i-have-a-dog-if-i-have-allergies/

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American Kennel ClubCan You Have A Dog If You Allergies – Some Hypoallergenic Recommendations

The Benefits of Crate Training Puppies

by Lisa Fimberg on December 22, 2020

When your customers purchase a puppy, they will inevitably have questions.  Unless they have owned puppies in the past, some might be apprehensive about crate training.  However, crate training puppies can be a positive experience, effective for housetraining and prevent destructive behavior.

Benefits of crate training

Some pet owners might think crate training is cruel to dogs, but the truth is it can be a very positive experience for both puppies and pet parents.  What your sales associate can convey is that crate training can provide puppies with a sense of security and a place to nestle when feeling insecure about a new space.

Dogs are naturally den animals and enjoy being in small, enclosed spaces. Dens protect them from danger, keep them warm and dry, and help dogs feel safe and protected.  By using a crate, the puppy’s natural instinct is to keep it warm and dry.  Therefore, a crate can provide a safe and comforting place for a puppy, as well as help pet owners with house training.

Crate training should be a positive experience for puppies

It is important for pet owners to make crate training is a positive experience for their puppies.  Feeding their puppies meals or treats in the crate can make the puppies feel as if being in a crate is a reward.

Dogs crate time, however, should be limited based on their age and the level of house training that is necessary.  Puppies should never be left in the crate all day, but only for a few hours at a time.

How pet owners can use a crate to house train dogs

Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking puppies since dogs do not like to soil their sleeping quarters. Puppies learn how to hold their bladders while they are in their crate, so pet owners can use this as a tool to house train puppies more readily.

If your customers are using a crate for house training, the crate should be sized where the puppy can lie down comfortably and have the ability to easily turn around in a circle.  If the crate is too large, the puppy might soil one end of it and sleep at the other end. If the crate is too small, the puppy will be uncomfortable and unable to sleep.

Crate training can prevent destructive behavior

Dogs and puppies need to learn to refrain from digging on furniture or rugs, chewing table legs, cushions, or other household items, and stealing food from garbage cans or counters. To teach puppies that destructive behavior is wrong, they need to be observed and monitored.

If pet owners put their puppy in a crate, it can prevent unwanted behavior when they are unable to supervise their puppy or need to leave their home.  However, this is only a temporary solution and should only be done while training.

Crate training can also help in emergencies

 If an emergency were to occur, pet owners who have crate trained their puppies can easily and safely get their puppies in the crate in a timely manner.  Having dogs secured during an evacuation or any sort of emergency can reduce the chances of them getting hurt, lost, or injured.

Further, if a dog is feeling insecure or freaked out by any outside noise, disturbance or even too much noise at a pet owner’s home, puppies can use their crate to escape it all and feel safe and comforted.

How to help customers choose the correct crate for their puppy

Store employees should know how to help new puppy owners choose the right crate size for their puppy.  The dog’s crate size depends on the size of the puppy and how the crate will be used.

The crate should be just large enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and squat, particularly if they are using it for house training, Your store employees should consider how big the puppy will be as an adult and choose a crate accordingly.

Most of your stores will have small and large crates, but some pet owners might prefer a softer, smaller crate.   Having a variety of crates at your store can be an additional sale for new puppy owners.

Pet owners should never use crates for punishment

A pet owner should never use the crate for punishment.  The crate is a safe and happy place where the puppy sleeps and will become his little home den.  By using the crate to punish a puppy, the crate loses its value and is no longer a safe space for the pup and can lead to even more destructive behavior.

If your customers have any questions about crate training, house training, or any other puppy or kitten related question, our Solutions.pet agent are here to help.  Our trained agents can answer all your customers questions so your store employees can focus on the floor.  Contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about all of our services.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lisa FimbergThe Benefits of Crate Training Puppies

How Pet Retailers Can Train Employees to Turn Leads into Sales

by Lisa Fimberg on December 21, 2020

 

When a customer walks into your store, he or she is usually there for a reason.  Due to the pandemic, there are very few customers who are just looking around these days.  Most in-store customers either need pet supplies or they want to meet or purchase a puppy or kitten.

Therefore, it is important that your employees do the best they can to close the deal while the customer is in the store.  Particularly, if this customer has an appointment to see a puppy or kitten.

Below are some tips to help close the sale:

1. Engage

Have your employees start engaging with customers as soon as they come through the door. The sooner the engagement begins, the sooner your salesperson can begin to create that positive buying atmosphere.  Let the customer get their bearings, wait about fifteen seconds, and greet them with a smile and a welcome.

2. Offer an incentive

If you have a customer that has spent a few minutes with a puppy and seems genuinely interested, offer an incentive, a freebie.  A gift, or on the spot discount can turn a conversation into a sale.  This could be a one-time discount if they buy the puppy by the end of the day, or something like a free dog bed or collar and dog tag, for their new puppy.

3. Create urgency

If that same customer is looking at a specific popular puppy breed, it helps to create a sense of urgency in the purchase.  For example, your sales employee should let the customer know that this breed is one of your best sellers and there has been a lot of interest in the pup.  Your employee wants to be sure that this customer doesn’t miss out if they’ve fallen in love.  By creating a sense of urgency, it can help push the customer to buy sooner rather than later.

4. Address any questions

A salesperson who is engaged and listens should know how to sell to a customer.  A few specific, pointed questions, coupled with a sincere interest in how the customer responds, will reveal anything that might hold up the sale.  By being engaged from the start, your sales employee can address any concerns the customer might have and be better prepared to close the sale.  If, for instance, they mention having a limited budget for the puppy, than your employee is better suited to find a puppy within their price range.

5. Demonstrate Value

The biggest challenge in closing a sale is delivering the price without setting up the value.  Most customers will know the price of a puppy if they have done any research on what puppies’ cost.  If a customer balks at the price, the salesperson needs to focus not on the price but on the value.  For example, what comes with the puppy, what programs or warranties, or anything else that may help alleviate some of the customers concerns.

6. Closing Organically

At this point, the sale should be fairly straightforward.  Your employee has been engaged, addressed any concerns the customer might have and now should be able to close the deal.  The simple ask, “Have you found a new family member?” should get the desired response.  Yes!

Now that your employees know how to close the sale, how does your store get great qualified leads?  With our lead management service!  Our team of experts will not only set up the leads but will follow up and make sure the customer shows up at the store ready to purchase that puppy or kitten.  Contact our Success Team: successteam@thirdpartypet.com to learn more!

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Train Employees to Turn Leads into Sales

What Can Pet Retailers Expect for 2021?

by Lisa Fimberg on December 14, 2020

2020 has been a challenging year.  With the Covid pandemic lasting throughout the year, it has affected every person and business.  It really defined 2020 and will likely influence the start of 2021.

What will 2021 look like for pet retailers?

The outlook for 2021 will continue to be strong for pet retailers.   Having already implemented the necessary changes and guidelines to deal with the Covid pandemic, retailers are already in a position to set themselves up for a successful 2021.

In fact, the pet industry continues to be recession and pandemic proof with a projected $99 billion dollars spent in 2020 with a slight increase projected in 2021.  67% of Americans own at least one or more dog and cat, and this trend is expected to continue.

With a vaccine for Covid projected to be in place by the second quarter of 2021, consumers will feel even more comfortable shopping in stores.  If some of the social distancing guidelines are relaxed, even more customers can be in your store at the same time which can only improve your bottom line.

How to make 2021 a prosperous year

Many businesses have now transformed to a remote or work from home environment and more pet lovers are expected to bring even more pets into their homes.  Further, the puppies and kittens that were purchased during the pandemic will continue to need pet supplies, toys, and food.

Some tips to keep in mind for 2021 to increase sales:

Make every appointment count

With social distancing measures still in place, it is even more important that your customers have a great in-store experience.  If a potential customer has an appointment to meet a puppy, this is the ideal opportunity to make them a long-time consumer.  Employees need to be on top of their game and win the customer over.  Even better, if your store can offer a free toy or leash for their new puppy, you can not only win over a new customer, but they will most likely become a long-time loyal customer.

Pet product diversification

The more products your store can make available to your pet-loving customers, the better the customer experience.  It is important for retailers to update their inventory with the upcoming and emerging trends in the pet market.  For example, grooming products and dental care products are a rapidly growing sector of the pet industry.  Interactive toys are also very popular to both dogs and cats engaged when pet parents are away.

Being well stocked with a variety of items can increase sales and entice customers to buy them from your store (where they can see and feel them) and not on-line.

Puppy and Kitten display

When a customer has an appointment to purchase a puppy or kitten, a display dedicated to puppies and kitten can be a big win.  With some of the essentials, best sellers or favorite toys, blanket or beds, most new puppy or kitten owners cannot resist purchasing something for their new furry family member.

Keep your online store fully stocked

Those retailers that have an on-line presence will continue to prosper as the pandemic has led to more consumers online.  Your loyal customers might prefer to shop on-line. Therefore, it is important that their on-line experience is stellar as well.  Best selling items need to be in stock, deliveries timely and a fair return policy.

Consider a 2021 promotion

What better way to kick off the new year than by offering a 2021 promotion to your customers.  You can have an on-line and in-store sale with a favorable discount or even put an incentive program in place.  For example, if your customer spends more than $50, they can get a free dog or cat bowl (or $10 off their next purchase).   There is nothing more enticing than getting something for free or a good deal and this can help your store get a jump start on the new year.

With the right strategy and a great in-store experience, 2021 can be a very lucrative year for retailers. Happy customers love good deals and a good shopping experience.   And more today than ever, most consumers are happy to shop local and be loyal to their favorite brick and mortar store.

If you need help with getting more puppy and kitten sales, our lead management team can help.  Our team is well equipped and trained to get an interested puppy or kitten buyer into your store and on time!

Make sure to contact our Success Team to learn more about our lead management team as well as some of our other services:  successteam@thirdpartypet.com.

Click here for an infographic of the top pet products of 2021!

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Lisa FimbergWhat Can Pet Retailers Expect for 2021?

How Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends

by Lisa Fimberg on December 9, 2020

The Covid Pandemic has affected everyone’s lives in many ways.  Whether you own a pet retail store or even a restaurant, the way business is conducted has seen many changes in the past nine months.  Both retailers and consumers have had to adjust to this new normal.

While pet retail stores have fared well during the pandemic, not all businesses can say the same.  Consumers have not only changed their spending habits, but they have also adapted to doing things at home.

While some people have learned to cook at home or even cut their own hair, others have taken to grooming their pets at home.  With many dog groomers being closed, some pet parents have learned to bathe and groom their dogs themselves.

How Pet Stores Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends

Pet retail stores can capitalize on this trend by ensuring that your store has the proper grooming supplies available.  While not all pet parents are up to the task of a full home groom, most would at least consider giving their dogs a good bath!

Consider designating a section to home grooming and have the proper tools ready for pet parents to purchase.  Grooming supplies can even be a great holiday gift for pet owners.

The most basic tools that your customer would need to do some home grooming are the following:

Pet Brushes:

Dogs have many different coat and hair types so it could be beneficial to have a variety of brushes for both long and short haired dog.  Most cats like to be brushed as well and might benefit from a softer brush.

Flea combs are a great addition to brushes for flea removal which can be done after bathing.

Dog Shampoo and Conditioner:

Most consumers today are more likely to gravitate towards a healthy, organic pet shampoo and conditioner.  Having a variety of shampoos available from oatmeal to a natural chemical-free shampoo is always a win.

Not all dogs need to have a conditioner after a wash, but it can help with keeping a dog’s hair shiny and tangle-free.  Have a few choices of dog conditioners available to provide options for various needs.

Nail Trimmers or Clippers:

Nail trims can be stressful for both dogs and their owners.  By having the right tools, it can put both dog owners and their dogs at ease.

Claw-style or plier-style trimmers can cut the nails just like a pair of scissors.  Guillotine trimmers have a replaceable blade that can cut the dog’s nails with a handle or you can offer a simple scissor-like trimmer that can work well on dogs with short nails.

Filing tools grind down the nails gradually and result in a smooth edge-nail. Basic emery boards or metal files can be used on small, delicate nails for the smaller breeds.

Pet Grooming Shears

While not all dogs will need haircuts, having a few types of pet grooming shears could be a nice addition.  Some pet parents might want to give their dogs with medium to long hair an occasional trim.

Pet toothbrush and toothpaste

Most of your customers will know the benefits of brushing a dog’s teeth.  It can help to prevent decay and tartar build up which in turn is beneficial to the pup’s overall health.

It is easy to brush a dogs’ teeth and by having a pet toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs available could be an easy sale.  Why not add that to the home-grooming section!

Pet owners always want to keep their dogs’ fur clean and healthy.  By having the right home grooming tools available at your store, it could be an easy sale for you and a convenience for your customers!

If your customers want to know more about pet grooming, our Solutions.pet agents are happy to help.   They can answer your customer’s questions about any pet or health care question.  Contact our Success Team (successteam@thirpartypet.com to learn more!)

 

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends