Setting up for sales in the pet lifestyle category takes
organization and creativity, said industry insiders.
“We’ve always known that merchandising
superorganized, beautiful stacks of beds in the win-
dow draws customers in,” said Ashley Urban, store
manager at Fideaux, which has a store in St. Helena,
Calif., and one in Healdsburg, Calif. She added that
they display their products seasonally and grouped
together. For example, when featuring the summer
items, they include hanging beach balls.
“People come in to see the cute displays, and that
helps with sales,” Urban said.
Steven Cohen, co-owner with his wife, Michele,
of The Dog Bar in Miami Beach, Fla., reported similar success from his department-store setup.
“Ninety percent of the people who walk in my
store have no intention of buying [the product]
when they walk in,” he said. “We take pride in how
our store looks and how we merchandise items. It’s
up to independent retailers to constantly rise above
big-box and mass market stores if they want to see
and gain the business of different clients.”
Manufacturers agreed that product
presentation makes a huge difference,
and Bill Parsons, sales supervisor for
P.L.A. Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You) in San
Francisco, said, “the retailers that
think outside of the box have the most
success with the products.
“For a number of our toys, we have a
point-of-sale set with a design that relates
back to the product,” he continued. “For
example, our popular vegetable toys come
in a farmer’s-market-style crate, Under
the Sea comes in a toy chest, Momo’s
Monsters toys come in a crate from the
attic, and Bugging Out toys are in a log.”
Because consumers identify with a
story, Gila Kurtz, co-founder, co-owner and
vice president of sales for Dog is Good LLC
in Los Alamitos, Calif., recommends mes-
sage-driven promotion for pet lifestyle
instead of promotion by product.
“Create a story or scene and do
a promotion about it so people know
something new is coming in,” she said.
With space a challenge for many
independent retailers, several manufac-
turers provide swatch or look books and
brochures. Jax & Bones, a manufacturer
in Baldwin Park, Calif., offers a custom
program with a swatch book for stores
as well as signage, said Jessica Pope,
national sales director.
The Dog Bar in Miami Beach, Fla.,
uses panel boards and creates a lifestyle
on them, Cohen said.
“We put them together for customers
to see how it would appear in their
homes,” he said. “We put beds with
feeders or a nautical shirt with those
collars and an ocean-themed bed. It’s put
together as a family or a story, and it’s fun.
We don’t do peg board or packaging—we
remove a lot of packing from the products
we sell because it doesn’t look as good.”
Most manufacturers and retailers
highlighted the importance of digital
marketing. Recommendations include
using social media to get products into
consumers’ view, featuring popular
products on the website cover page, and
looping product videos in-store to pro-
mote products and the benefits to pets.
“Short-form video and lifestyle
imagery distributed through .com and
social media channels are key drivers
in promoting products in this current
market,” said Joel Kaplan, CEO for Triboro
Quilt Manufacturing Corp., maker of the
Tall Tails brand, in White Plains, N. Y.