The pet industry is driven by "positive emotions." Pets make us feel better! No one "needs" a pet, and yet 67% of U.S. households own a pet. That's over 85 million families across the country!
Whether it's a dog, cat, bunny, lizard, or even an exotic bird, animals bring joy to our lives. Joy and other positive emotions cause pet parents to stop at nothing to keep their pets content and happy.
In 2020, the pet industry's total sales reached an historic high of $103.6 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association's State of the Industry Report.
This historic high was due to "emotional stockpiling" and "comfort companions." Pet owners rushed to their local pet shops to buy as much food and supplies for their pets as possible just in case stores completely shut down because of the pandemic.
In addition to pet parents emotionally stockpiling pet food, the other contributing factor to the increase in pet industry sales was due to the fact that people who had never previously owned a pet went out and bought or adopted one.
These newly acquired furry "comfort companions" helped people emotionally cope with being cooped up in their homes, and like the veteran pet parents, these new pet parents also bought as much pet food as they could get their hands on so that their new furry friends would have everything they needed despite lockdowns.
All this is to say that if the pet industry wasn't damaged by COVID-19, it can probably survive anything. If you're a pet retailer, you're in the right business.
But have you been able to retain customers this past year and a half? Or are you struggling to rise above the competition?
What if you aren't among the pet retailers who experienced a surge in sales since the pandemic hit?
Try these customer retention tips at your pet supply shop to steadily expand your customer base and grow your business.
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
As a pet retailer, there's no doubt that you're using social media to interact with your customers and wow them with adorable pet photos as well as with graphics of your upcoming in-store sales. But have you experimented with using social media to increase customer retention specifically?
The latest Facebook video feature, called Facebook Live, is a powerful marketing tool that can help you connect with your audience while promoting your brand, resulting in a boost of customer retention.
Try This Idea
Publish a regular Facebook post that invites your followers to ask questions in the comments. The post should state that you will pick one question to answer via Facebook Live, and don't forget to tell them the date and time of your Facebook Live broadcast. If your followers are too shy to post a question in the comments, that's okay. You can fudge it by having one of your employees post a question. Then simply broadcast the Q&A. Do this once a week and don't worry if you don't have many viewers at first.
FOSTER PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
One of the biggest tricks to retaining customers is to make them feel as though their relationship with your brand goes deeper than obtaining their favorite products at your pet store. When customers feel like you have their best interests in mind because you know who they are, they'll start to feel a sense of connection with your brand.
Using personalization in your product recommendations and special promotions is the fastest way to foster this kind of personal relationship with each of your customers. In order to offer personalization, you'll need to integrate CRM software into your POS system and start collecting your customers' email addresses and cell phone numbers for direct marketing purposes.
Try This Idea
Since your customer relationship management software or POS system CRM features will automatically create customer accounts that record each customer's purchase history, you can leverage those purchase histories in your digital marketing campaigns. First, segment your customers into small groups according to the type of pet they own, either dogs, cats, or exotics. Then, send out personalized SMS text campaigns to each customer group, alerting them to relevant upcoming sales at your pet store.
USE LOYALTY REWARDS INCENTIVES TO RETAIN CUSTOMERS
Do you have a customer loyalty rewards program in place at your pet store? Rewards programs are a great way to incentivize your customers to shop at your pet store for all of their pets’ needs instead of at your competitors' locations. Rewards programs are also known to greatly boost customer retention. Let's take a look...
Consumers have always appreciated deals and discounts. But now more than ever, consumers are on the hunt for new ways to save money thanks to COVID's current impact on the economy. By consistently offering your customers personalized discounts through a loyalty rewards program, you can improve customer retention. You can even launch specialized promotions directly through the program platform itself and reach your loyal customer base via SMS texts, emails, and in-app push notifications, because a loyalty program is its own kind of CRM software with built-in communication channels.
Try This Idea
Structure your customer loyalty rewards program with VIP tiers. Aim for creating at least three but no more than five tiers. VIP tiers are an effective way to separate your proudest pet parents from the rest. Once you set the points criteria that members must reach in order to elevate into each tier, try gamifying the program by showing a leaderboard with the names of the members and their pets who have made it into the top positions of each VIP tier. When participating members see the name of the "top dog" in their tier, it will spark a sense of healthy competition and drive them to spend more to earn more rewards points.
Make your loyalty members feel important by offering them program benefits and perks like these:
- Personalized, surprise-and-delight, in-app coupons & freebies
- Exclusive access to early-bird sales that the general public cannot take advantage of yet
- Invitations to special events, in-store workshops, and guest speaker seminars
Which loyalty program is right for your pet shop?
If you’re ready to launch a customer loyalty rewards program at your pet store, then Loyal~n~Save is for you! Our premium rewards program comes with beneficial features designed specifically for pet retailers who need to implement successful marketing strategies that will directly influence revenue.
With Loyal~n~Save, pet retailers like yourself can create customized marketing campaigns that are sure to deliver your latest deals, discounts, and freebie offers directly into your customers’ cell phones and email inboxes. Our technology sends mobile push notifications to the mobile app so that every promotion lands in the palms of your customers’ hands.
To learn more about the ways in which Loyal~n~Save can help your pet store successfully retain customers as new virus variants wax and wane, visit our Pet Industry page, or contact us to speak with a pet retail loyalty specialist.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.