The final months of the year are the perfect time to boost in-store sales and shopper engagement with products, displays and in-store events designed to help pet owners get into the minds of pet owners. Holidays.
Manufacturers are pushing this year, perhaps even more so than in previous years, for retailers to place their holiday orders early.
“Earlier is always better,” said Kerry Wezner, marketing manager for Fluff & Tuff, a manufacturer in Troy, Michigan. our retailers are placing their holiday orders earlier in the year. This way everything is accounted for and we can do our best to accommodate everyone with the aim of having fewer surprises for everyone.
Michael Dagne, president of Huxley & Kent, a manufacturer in Washington, DC, noted that retailers should still be able to get holiday products in the fall, but they should be aware that some items could be sold out.
“Retailers who wait that long may need to be flexible because they might not get their first pick,” he said. “If they can do that, then it should be fine. We will continue to have stock throughout the season, so retailers can place new orders as needed.”
Sarah Goldberger, CEO and founder of Lord Jameson, a manufacturer in Boulder, Colorado, said they started holiday pre-orders in February and expect to sell out. As a result, they will not be able to fulfill late orders.
“Our seasonal products are virtually made to order,” Goldberger said.
Ted Busciacco, owner of Pawsitively Purrfect in Hightstown, NJ, said customers at his store often like to get their holiday shopping done early, so they get the store ready before Nov. 1.
“We’ve found that holiday shopping starts much earlier than the Black Friday rush,” he said. “And more than ever, buyers are worried about supply chain issues, so they prefer to buy early and choose what’s available first. The same goes for winter clothes like coats, sweaters, and boots. They tend to sell out early in the season so their pets are prepared for lower temperatures. »
As the holidays approach, Busciacco keeps the spirits and the shopping going by hosting a pet photo event with “The Grinch.” Proceeds from the photos are donated to a local rescue organization, but Busciacco said it certainly helps inspire more sales.
Busciacco also decorates the store, which puts shoppers in the holiday mood.
Natalie Lang, owner of Rockstar Pets in Tooele, Utah, said she was quite festive at her store – bringing in a Christmas tree, putting bows on all the cages and painting the glass of the small mammal displays.
“Dog and cat toys are the best holiday sellers because people usually think of gifts,” she noted.
Odyssey Pets in Dallas is also doubling down on winter holiday decorations.
“I pick a holiday theme — country style, plaid, neon, Charlie Brown, etc.,” owner Sherry Redwine said. “We decorate the window with an elaborate holiday scene. Additionally, we put large bows on larger items throughout the store. We also have an 8 foot table with holiday products and smaller stuff near the register.
Goldberger noted that purchased decorations can definitely make a store more festive.
“You can find beautiful, festive holiday decorations at HomeGoods and other specialty home stores to help create holiday warmth and sparkle,” she said. “They have great merchandising pieces for window displays and tabletop displays.”
Wezner said they’re seeing more and more shoppers, especially Gen Z and millennials, wanting in-store “experiences” when shopping. When creating displays, she suggested retailers think about ways to include shoppers so they feel like they’re having a unique experience in your store.
“Include places to take photos or videos to share with their network,” she said. “Plus, it’s always a good idea to sprinkle some educational facts on your holiday products so your customers know what items they’re buying. You may see new customers for the first time during the busy holiday shopping season, so it’s important to answer any questions they have. [have]. The more positive experiences you create, the more likely you are to create brand loyalty. »
When the holidays are over
When the holiday season draws to a close, leftover inventory can be a problem, but there are ways to deal with it effectively.
Dagne suggested that retailers anticipate what will be left and put it on sale two weeks before the holiday to reduce the risk of postponement.
Odyssey Pets is running a Buy One, Get One (BOGO) promotion just before the holidays.
“That way we’re moving two toys or treats instead of one, like a 50% sale would,” Redwine said.
Items such as toys are easy to hang if space permits.
“What’s old can become new again,” Wezner said. “If you can, save it for the next holiday season. You will have new buyers next year who may have never seen this product before, so for them it is brand new.
This is exactly what Busciacco does. While he’ll offer deep discounts immediately after the holidays to lighten things up, he said he’s saving anything that doesn’t sell and releasing it the following year.
For Cindra Conison, owner of The Quirky Pet in Montpelier, Vermont, the solution to leftovers hasn’t been to stock up on a bunch of holiday-themed items in the first place. She admitted that they never sold well. Instead, she focuses on creating sample or “combo” packs of animal parts, something that normally sells well but “takes off” during the holidays.
“I also do a $20 ‘boredom bust’ for the cats during the holidays,” Conison said. “They are a mix of different types of catnip, toys, treats and a stick of silver vine. But the most important item is a bag infused with catnip. People love samplers because they don’t have to think about what to buy.
Holiday Shelves Storage
Keeping up with what’s new is important during the holidays, when pet owners are looking for something special to delight their pets.
Washington, DC-based Huxley & Kent launched several holiday-themed Lulubelles dog toys this month: Toto’s Holiday Stress Reliever, Snowball Dragon, Buddy Unicorn, Plaidington Bear and Peppermint Llama, all available in sizes small and large sizes.
All toys are made with the company’s exclusive PowerPlush construction, which means they’re reinforced on the inside with an extra layer of durable fused mesh, with no loose parts and heavily stitched seams.
Plaidington Bear and Peppermint Llama toys are part of the Slappies range. When the dog shakes the toy, the arms and legs move, appealing to the dog’s natural instincts. The plush-free belly improves flapping action and makes the toys more durable for chewers, according to the company. Each Slappies toy is designed with a reusable TPR squeaker ball in the head and a squeaker in the belly.
Fluff & Tuff’s 2022 holiday charity toy is the right dog bone. One hundred percent of the profits from the sale of this toy will be donated to dogs in need.
“This year, we’re going to help provide shelters with the necessities they need, like towels, cleansers, treats and, of course, toys,” said Kerry Wezner, marketing manager for the company based in London. Troy, Michigan.
Sarah Goldberger, CEO and founder of Lord Jameson in Boulder, Colorado, said the company’s Pumpkin Spice Pops are an exciting new SKU.
“The packaging, flavor profile, ingredients and overall product experience celebrate the energy of fall,” she said.
The seasonal recipe includes organic pumpkin, organic peanut butter, organic cinnamon, and organic coconut cream. Each ball is soft and easy to pull apart and rolled in organic coconut shavings.
Adam Baker, founder and president of SodaPup in Longmont, Colorado.
How can independent pet supply retailers prepare to make the most of holiday sales?
The wonderful thing about the holidays is that consumers have already made the decision to buy gifts for their pets, so the challenge for retailers is different than the rest of the year. Most of the year, pet-related purchases are somewhat senseless, more practical. An assortment of well-priced staples like food and treats drives business. But holiday gift shopping is smarter. Convenience and price are less important. Consumers buy for entertainment, not for need. They are looking for unique objects that speak to them emotionally. Gift buying is impulsive, so retailers need to match seasonal items that will surprise and delight the consumer. Gifts should be special, so it’s important to focus on novelty items that will create a “must have it” moment in the store.
At SodaPup, we like to say that we make dog toys for people and they work great for dogs. We specialize in novelty molded dog toys (rubber, nylon, TPE [thermoplastic elastomer]). In the overall market, there are very few seasonal options in molded products because mold costs are high and the sales window is short. But SodaPup has invested heavily in this area. We have a wide variety of new seasonal rubber treat dispensers, nylon chew toys and even seasonal lick mats. Because we produce 100% in the USA with short lead times, we are able to keep stock and fulfill in-season orders.
Consumers have more options than ever in terms of where to buy their gifts during the holidays, so retailers have to put in extra effort to capture the sale in their stores. It starts with having the most unique assortment, followed by presenting those products in a fun and interesting way in the store. Those with the most interesting assortment and the most creative merchandising will prevail. If you play too carefully, you won’t capture the buyers’ imagination. Fortune favors the brave!