How to Make Your Pet Franchise Retail Space an Engaging and Interactive Space for Customer Friendly Stores
Merchandising is a term coined by Candace D’Agnolo–the owner of Dogaholics, a Chicago pet specialty retail store, and refers to how products are laid out and displayed. When customers enter a store they’re usually in a hurry with a single product in mind. Those who are just browsing sweep their eyes over products, usually without giving any one item much thought. The trick is to capitalize on both these types of customers. This is where merchandising comes into play. Products laid out in an aesthetically pleasing way will draw customers eyes and interest toward the product. Ever walk into a grocery store and see the giant pyramids of canned goods on display? Customers subconsciously pause to take note of the display and any signage around it. Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique has assembled 4 easy steps to using merchandising to create customer-friendly retail space that not only will keep customers engaged but is proven to boost sale rates.
Appeal to the Senses
When customers walk into the store are these senses being stimulated? Are the five senses, taste, sight, touch, hearing, and smell all working together to make the visit an enjoyable experience? Customers look for cleanly places that are well organized, visually appealing, and smell great. Use of aromatherapy candles is a great way to maintain and inviting aura to your storefront, and keep the place refreshed and clean.
Lighting in retail space is key. Usually the first thing a customer notices about the space is how dim or bright the lights. Overly dim lighting can cause customers to strain their eyes to see signage and products. On the other hand, lighting that is too bright will make customers squint. Lights that are inviting are your best bet. Finding a good balance between dim and bright is crucial to highlighting products and makes customers want to stay in the store longer.
One of the best methods to appeal to tasting is to provide sample dog treats in your pet franchise location. Studies have shown that customers are more likely to purchase items that they pick up and touch. Encouraging hands-on interaction between products and shoppers boosts sale rates and is more fun for customers and their pets. If a customer has a positive experience feeding their dog a treat in the store they are more likely to return.
If you have a lot of wall space in your storefront, it is always a good idea to hang theme oriented art in the negative space on the wall. This is pleasing to the eye. In pet franchise locations, cute visuals of pets or kitschy pet paintings help sooth customers. Plus they’re fun! Blank space and bright color palettes make customers feel anxious and ready to leave. While warm color palettes and art put customers at ease by interesting them.
Colorblocking, a merchandising term is the use of non-tradition merchandising fixtures, or themed displays, is also a good idea. For example holiday motifs, health condition, life stage, and seasons are all color blocks to emulate and maximize space potential and visual appeal.
Regular customers grow overly accustomed to the layout of store products and begin to disregard looking around since they figure they have seen everything the store has to offer. Gary Albert, owner of Ruff Life Pet Outfitters says that static merchandising is a huge mistake store owners should hastily avoid. Move inventory around by a schedule, and often enough to make a storefront experience new and exciting for regular customers. Items that are perpetually in inventory and display can be moved, ensuring customers have a chance to see the item when they might otherwise would have missed it.
Work with the weather. If your storefront is in a very hot region with soaring temperatures put up a cooling displays. A sign with a picture of a dog wading in water helps trigger cooler feelings for a customer. If it is cold out, display pictures of dogs in cute sweaters playing in the snow. Since the pet franchise relies on sentiments consumers feel for their animals, it is always important to keep these sentiments in mind when merchandising.
Signage and Sales
One of the biggest inhibition in merchandising display is the lack of space on the sales floor. Signage is the best way to work around this. For example, if you only have a 500 sq. ft. sales floor, but have a huge influx of pet food in the back, post signs that tell customers to refer to an associate to purchase or ask questions about items. Make sure your signs have legible fonts and are both informative and cordial.
Also, placing signs by the register–the last step in a retail experience– won’t help because it is already too late for customers that may have wanted to purchase that product. This can hold up lines and is inefficient. Place sale signage in strategic places by products which encourages a sale. A rule of merchandising is to never place products on the floor. Customers don’t usually look down. This is different in the pet franchise because pet owners usually have their dogs with them–dogs that are constantly sniffing. Retail owners should elevate products a few inches off the floor maintain product integrity, but it is ok to put bigger items like dog food closer to where a pets eyes might be.
Merchandising items in a store you want to highlight by rotating displays is the best way to push sales for items that have not sold well. Place slow selling items in high traffic spots.This sets off top sellers and new inventory. Next to cash register, or to the right of the entranceway, are examples of these high traffic locations. Studies show that customers look right when they enter a store. Also use all of your space in a display. If you’re using a life stage–a product display that uses multiple items in a setting that mimics real life–think about every item possible that will fit.
Also place new items toward the front of the store so customers will see them as soon as they enter. This automatically creates intrigue. When a customer enters a store, is greeted by an employee, sees new items for the first time, and smells scented candles, this all makes the first five seconds pleasing and enjoyable.
Special display sections are also crucial. Placing pet franchise items like doggie treats all close together in an organized fashion helps customers browse and highlights the items. If you place dog toys in a box cluster where a customer will have to dig through the box to find an item they want, it will put them off. Only use box clusters when placing the same product in the box.
All of these tips should help you maximize the potential of the sales space you have. You might be able to make magic happen and give customers a great time in your store and keep coming back!