51 April 2017 Pet Product News International
BEING IN THE KNOW
For pet specialty retailers, educating bird owners on proper nutrition for their
pets can be key to building consumer trust and a loyal clientele.
For Gloria Medina, sales manager at Omar’s Exotic Birds in Lake Forest,
Calif., customer education is not just about sales. It’s about caring for customers and their pets.
“We have a fully developed staff-training system, and we aren’t afraid to
ask questions,” she said. “We learn from our customers sometimes, too. Many
have been passionate for so long about their birds—decades—and there’s a
lot of exchanging of information.”
Edna Bresnaham, owner of The Crystal Parrot in Southampton, Mass.,
echoed the sentiment.
“Education is what we’re passionate about,” she said. “We have over 24
years as store owners, and 40 years of experience as bird owners ourselves,
so we share our personal experiences with our clients. Our aim is to educate,
and offer knowledge about these beautiful exotic birds. Sales will be there,
but that’s not what this is about. The cash register doesn’t come first—cer-
tainly not at the expense of our beloved feathered pets.”
At The Bird Shop in Sacramento, Calif., supervisor Brianna Latino notes
that store staff is very involved with teaching consumers about their birds’
“We spend lots of time going over all of the different types of food we
carry with our customers to make sure they understand the importance of
their specific birds’ needs,” she said.
Andrew Solorio, general manager of Jedds Bird Supplies in Anaheim, Calif.,
said that although some customers only come in to buy “birdseed,” most take
pride and responsibility in buying the correct type of seed mix for the right
time of year.
“After researching and discussing certain feeding systems among other
bird enthusiasts, customers are very particular in what they feed their pet
birds and haven't changed their feeding routines in years,” he said.
Manufacturers agreed, saying that having knowledgeable staff is key to
ensuring that customers leave with the most appropriate foods for their pets.
According to Melanie Allen, avian product specialist with Rolf C. Hagen (USA)
Corp. based in Mansfield, Mass., retailers should also be educated specifically
on the products they are selling so they can, in turn, teach their customers.
“This is especially important with customers that are asking for pellets
or formulated diet,” she said. “There are many differences in formulated bird
food, and not every bird fits in a nice food category. Begin with asking the
customer about their bird’s age and lifestyle.”
Gail Shepard, director of marketing for ZuPreem, a brand of Premium
Nutritional Products based in Shawnee, Kan., recommends team training to
make sure store associates are familiar with the differences in the products
on their store shelves.
“Not all bird food provides the same nutrition,” she said. “Also, ZuPreem
and other manufacturers offer training videos to help educate store associates so that they can make the best recommendations to their customers.”
Experts agreed that retailers looking to maximize sales in this category
will benefit from being attentive to how they market their avian diets.
Shepard also suggests expanding visibility of promotions to ensure
customers are aware of them.
“Many manufacturers extend promotional offers that don’t always make
it into the hands of the pet owner,” she said. “When these are available, make
sure they are extended to the shelf so that shoppers can take advantage of
these savings. This generates product trial, can increase sales and generates
loyalty to the retailer.”
CENTRAL GARDEN & PET offers
Zilla Durable Décor. The affordable
dishes and dens fit the needs of any
reptilekeeper. The rock look and texture
enables pets to climb on them easily
while still allowing for easy cleaning.
A lip around the bottom and wide
base adds stability. The strong plastic
material can stand up to claws and
heat, making the dens a great basking
area as well. Available in small, medium
and large. zillarules.com
JUNGLE BOB ENTERPRISES
offers a nesting combo of
feed/water dishes. The
products are stable, durable
and great looking for reptile
use. They can be sold
together or separately.
Made of polyresin, the dishes are designed to look like
they are made from wood.