INDUSTRY VOICES EXTRA
HOW HAVE DOG LEASHES AND COLLARS EVOLVED
OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS?
owner of Nite Beams in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“We used to say that dog
collar trends ran about a year
behind home decorating
trends; now we are seeing
these trends hit the shelves
—ALISHA NAVARRO, owner of 2 Hounds
Design in Monroe, N.C.
Heather Moran, owner of The Doggie Bag in Lakeland, Fla., always asks manufacturers
for educational materials and samples.
“Spending $25 on a bag of dental chews isn’t easy to swallow,” she said.
“Sending home a free sample allows the customer to ‘taste test’ it with their pet.
Now they know the pet likes it and it’s going to clean their teeth; it now becomes
money well spent.”
Gary Albert, owner of Ruff Life Pet Outfitters in Petoskey, Mich., incorporates
information supplied by manufacturers to educate his customers.
“Due to the small footprint of our store, we stress that the line(s) we carry are
not the only ones on the market, and regularly encourage our customers to research
products and also encourage them to work with their vet to be certain that what they
choose will not harm their pet,” he said.
Some manufacturers offer training classes to retail staff or online educational
videos as well as free products, making it easier for knowledge to be handed down
to the customer, said Heather Nichols, owner of The Puppy Pantry, which has
stores in Georgia.
“We like to provide displays and as much educational material as possible,” said
Ryan Holden Singer, founder of K- 10+ in New York. “We currently have freestanding
three- and four-tier displays that hold each of our product offerings as well as coun-
tertop displays. Each display clearly provides key information about our products to
help educate the customer.”
“We offer rostrums, gravity feeds, power panels with informational cut ins and
color-coded shelf strips/signage,” said Steven Twohig, vice president of Nutri-Vet
Wellness in St. Louis.
In addition to a unique endcap, Mika Wheelwright, co-owner of Fidobiotics in
Ogden, Utah, offers online quizzes to help educate her customers, as well as training,
samples and posters.
Natura Petz Organics of Minneapolis provides educational video and audio files,
brochures, banners and in-depth product guides, said Heidi L. Nevala, president.
Vital Planet offers in-store support tools such as newsletters for bag stuffing,
full-line consumer catalogs, shelf-talkers, coupons, samples and off-shelf merchan-
dising options, said Rick Witte, vice president of sales, pet channel for the Palm
Harbor, Fla., company.
With some help from manufacturers, retailers can provide free weekly pet health
classes to educate consumers on the benefits of the supplements they sell, said Ara
Bohchalian, president and CEO of International Veterinary Sciences in Anaheim, Calif.
“Not all supplements that claim to support a healthful lifestyle are the same—
there are significant differences in formulation and ingredient weight—helping
identify those distinctions and educating the consumer will organically increase sales
for retailers,” he said.
SUPPLEMENT DISPLAYS AND
d go over the years.
ve seen a renewed
terest in more natu-
co-owner of Au-
“As dog breeds have evolved over
the years, the concept of ‘one size
fits all’ has virtually disappeared.
Leashes and collars have become
more custom and functional to
meet owners’ and dogs’ lifestyle and
—LARRY COBB, CEO of The Company of Animals’ U.S.
sales headquarters in Davenport, Fla.
“As dog breeds have evolved over
“There are always new
collar types out there.
For example, you can get
collars made from old
bicycle tubing and
—DIANAGREINER, owner of Felix & Oscar
in Springfield, Va.
• Build skills and sales.
• Boost knowledge and confidence.
• Keep customers coming back.
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