What can help retailers sell more cat furniture?
“Knowing what consumers want. Style and size matter more than
price—but they’re all important. Looks are the most important. Consumers want their cat furniture to ‘fit in’ with the décor of the room
they’re putting it in. It goes in this order: looks, size, price.”—LORIN
GROW, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif.
“The key is to get customers to picture the furniture in their home.
Ideally, if space allows, retailers could dedicate an area of the store to
a vignette set up like a room in a home that showcases pieces of cat
furniture integrated with human furniture. Similar to the technique
commonly used in furniture stores, it should show multiple pieces
together in a coordinated, well-designed space.”—KATE BENJAMIN,
marketing director for Rockwall, Texas-based Primetime Petz and
designer of the Hauspanther Collection
“We have an adoption room where the cats are able to run
free—they’re all loose in the room—and we have a bunch of
beautiful cat posts made out of driftwood. They’re very artistic
and beautiful. That creates a ton of interest. People see the cats
lounging or scratching on the posts and they want one. Actually
being able to show a cat using a product is a great sales
approach.”—KELLEY PARSONS, manager of Denny’s Pet World
in Kirkland, Wash.
Given its size, cat furniture can be difficult to display. But having a piece of furniture assembled can make a world of
difference for pet specialty retailers looking to maximize the sales potential of the category.
“Displaying a piece of furniture is always the best way to help people envision how it will look and fit in their home,”
said Jason Savitt, president of Prevue Pet Products in Chicago. “Style your display and make it the focal point of your
cat section. Your ‘kitty corner’ should create a space that highlights the design and function of the piece while giving off
that ‘must-have’ feeling—just like shopping in a furniture store. If you have one or two store cats available to model and
lounge, let them help sell it for you.”
Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Mansfield, Mass.-based Hagen Group, which manufacturers Catit brand
products, said that making displays interactive is a great way to draw attention to furniture.
“Educating associates on the benefits of furniture for the cat and the consumer is also very important,” Hall added. “We
work closely with our retail partners to provide product information and training.”
To maximize space, Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets in Dallas, said she gets creative with the layout. She
makes use of vertical space whenever possible.
“Our ceilings are high, so we’ll stack cat trees on top of our raw freezers,” Redwine said. “We also bought the Vesper
display [featuring the Vesper line of cat furniture from Hagen Group’s Catit brand], which allows you to display two or three
built ones and store flat-pack ones underneath.”
Of course, sometimes there just isn’t space for any assembled furniture. But that doesn’t mean retailers need to forgo
the category altogether. Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif., said that she usually leaves the boxes with the
assembled product pictured on them on a shelf—and then makes sure she has assembled items in the back.
“If someone is interested, I just wheel it out for them to look at,” Grow said. “Then they have the option of purchasing
the item already assembled or still in the box—and I keep my floor space.”
To help stores that don’t have room to display assembled furniture pieces, Prevue Pet Products introduced cat furniture
designs that are packaged in full-color graphic cartons so shoppers can see what the assembled pieces look like.
Also with small store spaces in mind, Phoenix-based Ware Pet Products introduced R. T.A. (Ready To Assemble) Cat
Furniture at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March. The packaged furniture offers cat owners an easier way to transport
the furniture from the store to their home, and also gives retailers a space-efficient solution for the cat furniture section of
their stores, according to the company.
REACHING MORE CAT OWNERS
Drawing customers into the store with marketing efforts
is half the battle. It’s important to “meet customers where
they are,” said Michael Acerra, digital marketing manager for
Penn-Plax in Hauppauge, N. Y. And more often than not, he
added, that’s online.
“Many of the most successful retailers do a great job
of interacting with their customers on social media, which
encourages customers to come through the store when
they’re making purchases,” Acerra said. “Live video, special
social media coupons and discounts, how-to tips, and care
guides are all great ways for brick-and-mortar retailers
to improve the level of service they’re offering while also
encouraging more customers to come through their doors.”
Kelley Parsons, manager at Denny’s Pet World in Kirkland,
Wash., said that any time their cat furniture goes on sale, they
post about it on social media. Because it only goes on sale a
few times a year, Parsons said it generates a lot of interest.
Kate Benjamin, marketing director for Rockwall, Texas-based Primetime Petz and designer of the company’s
Hauspanther Collection of cat furniture, suggested creating
“pop-up events” to highlight what’s available in the category.
She said this might be particularly helpful for retailers that
can’t normally dedicate a lot of floor space to the category.
“The event could include full displays, home design
workshops, cat-related DIY-project demonstrations, and
any other cat-themed entertainment and education,”
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