ERCHANDISING ONSUMER EDUCATION
When arranging behavior, training and calming products in stores, industry
participants highly recommend keeping some at the front counter to catch
customer attention and make it easy to point out solutions.
“I have some newer ones right up front near checkout to catch their
attention,” said Michele Hanson-Pahan, owner of Riley’s Natural Pet Supply in
Littleton, Colo. “I also have an entire supplement rack divided into categories,
such as calming/anxiety, and we always assist at our supplement rack.”
Chelsea Joyce, vice president of sales for Pet Releaf, which makes CBD
hemp oil products for pets, recommended merchandising these items in the
supplements section or at the front counter, as well.
“There are usually some questions from customers before they purchase
them, so having [the products] right there is the perfect way for them to get
their questions answered,” she said, adding that the Littleton, Colo.-based
company’s most successful retail partners display these products “in a
high-traffic area or right near the register since many customers do not
typically go into the supplements area.”
Manufacturers also recommended creating a calming section or anxi-
ety-free zone to carry applicable solutions.
“To make the most of the variety of great calming solutions, a pet store
needs to create a compelling ‘Calming Section’ that includes brief educational
materials explaining how each of the products may be used independently or
in combination,” said Phil Blizzard, CEO of Thunder Works Co. in Durham, N.C.
Michelle Mullins, training and behavior education manager for PetSafe,
a brand of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn., suggested a section that
focuses on problem solving.
“Display them together so customers can see an entire solution [assort-ment],” she said. “It’s about the solution aspect.
“When clients are shopping, they’re either just browsing or they’re
looking for something very specific, such as a loose-leash walking solution
or training solution,” Mullins added. “Anxiety products need the same
retail support as others, like [how] all litter solutions are together. When
displayed together and outlined for them, [customers] better know and find
what works well together.”
HOW TO EASE ANXIETY
Independent pet retailers can increase sales in this category with
strategic promotion, industry participants said.
Diane Rosell, owner of Woofhoof in Columbia, Conn., recom-
mended having staff “wear the treat pouches as walking advertise-
ments—especially if you offer training as part of your services—
and/or having staff out in the aisles promoting the benefits of the
Around commonly stressful times of year, such as during July
Fourth fireworks displays and thunderstorm season, Alan Kraus, own-
er of The Barking Zoo in New York, separates out applicable products
and addresses, on social media how to keep pets safe and calm.
Several sources cited education and communication as keys to
“Read, educate yourself and get professional training help as you
need,” said Mariah Harmony, owner of The Tahyo Dog Boutique in
New Orleans. “More than anything we’re here to talk to people and
help them with training and behavior.
Chelsea Joyce, vice president of sales for Pet Releaf in Littleton,
“Education, education, education and, most importantly, asking
appropriate questions,” she said. “The store staff needs to be able to
speak intelligently about the products, and then use [the manufactur-er] as the backup for more difficult questions.
“Retailers need to find out why the pet owner is seeking an
alternative method and what’s going on with their pet. They can then
give sound advice because they have taken part in the extensive
Because independents usually already have a relationship with
customers, it is easier for them to find out what owners need to
enhance their relationships with their animals, and then lead them
to the solutions they carry in their stores, said Michelle Mullins,
training and behavior education manager for PetSafe, a brand of Radio
Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn.
“Over the years, people have been migrating steadily toward
pet training and behavior products that are kinder, gentler and
less stressful. The public’s increasing concern for the health and
happiness of their pets is because most dogs and cats are now
considered part of the family unit.”—LARRY COBB, CEO of The
Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla.
“As the trend continues nationally and among millennials to adopt, not shop, there is an emphasis on
training so that pets don’t end up back in the shelter.
Accessories and products to help people train their
pet will continue to expand as more people care
about having a well-adjusted, trained dog.”—ANN
GREENBERG, founder of A Pet with Paws in New York
What are the most exciting changes you have seen in this category?
“The truly exciting thing about [the cannabidiol] category is
that it has quickly become widely accepted throughout the
human world, and even more so in the pet world.”—CHELSEA
JOYCE, vice president of sales for Pet Releaf in Littleton, Colo.
“There’s been a big shift in the public’s awareness of and
understanding about phytocannabinoids. CBD wasn’t really
on the public radar before 2007, so we’ve seen tremendous
increase in public awareness and people seeing results
with their animals and themselves.”—JULIANNA CARELLA,
CEO and founder of Treatibles in Oakland, Calif.
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