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Opening a Pet Store from Scratch — Step-by-Step Instructions for Starting a Business

An active and eventful life in big cities is not an obstacle to having pets for modern people. Moreover, the number of cats, dogs, and other domestic animals is simply enormous. The good proof is, for example, the number of dog owners walking their pets.

A pet for many is a loyal friend and they will definitely not spare money for its maintenance. On this basis, one business gaining popularity among entrepreneurs is the opening of a pet store. Do not confuse it with a veterinary pharmacy, as these are two different formats. For a veterinary pharmacy, you need to be educated and licensed.

This business idea is easier to implement, but at the same time is also in demand among the urban population. A store with pet supplies, such as feed, toilet fillers, collars, and more will definitely become a profitable business if made right. In this article, we will analyze how to start this business step by step in your city.

How to Make the First Steps

Before starting a business, it is important to assess the level of competition and see how you can stand out from them. Many experienced entrepreneurs in this niche say that in some regions, the market is already oversaturated and profits often fall year after year, but there are places where there is little competition and things are doing well.

Businessmen who own several pet stores clearly see this trend. When new competitors appear, you need to work even more in detail on the assortment, offer discount programs, and go to exhibitions and presentations from manufacturers of pet products in order to be always aware of the latest trends in this business.

Depending on the format chosen, the income of the pet store will often be formed. So there are main options for getting started.

Opening a Large Pet Store

This is the most promising type of business. It is usually located in a detached building or on-premises on the ground floors of residential buildings. There is already a wider range of goods and products, moreover, cages with animals and fish are usually placed in the hall. It is to such stores that most of the customers of this business go, and if you have the opportunity, it is best to start in this format.

Online Pet Store

This format is relevant only for large cities, where people make various purchases on the Internet every day. To get started, you will need to rent a warehouse for storing goods, create an online store and start promoting it on the Internet. This is a laborious process, given that there are already large players from the same industry on the market, but you can try your luck.

Many stationary stores work as businesses scaling in the direction of attracting customers from the Internet. Which of the presented formats to choose is up to you.

Premises and Equipment

The main criterion for the selection of premises is the absence of competitors in the neighborhood. A business such as a pet store should be opened in micro districts or in dormitory quarters of the city, where people keep many pets. There will definitely be a demand for pet products.

The second rule of selection is a high permeability of people; you should not hide somewhere in the basement, in which no one will find you. Your store sign should be visible from afar. For the start, you can rent a small room, and later in case of success, you will be able to rent a larger area.

If we talk about what you will need to open a pet store, then first of all these are showcases and racks. You will also need to look for cages, terrariums, and aquariums for keeping animals right in the store. Their design should be convenient for maintenance and cleaning. Refrigeration equipment may also be required to store frozen feed.

For sellers, you need to organize a small dressing room, a workplace (table and chair), and a bathroom. If you work in a shopping center, then these premises are usually already provided on the floor.

Range

We have already said that we will not take into account veterinary products, but will focus product groups on products for the care and feeding of pets.

If we consider the assortment, then we can distinguish several main groups of goods:

  • animal feed (dry and frozen);
  • animal care products (toilet fillers);
  • accessories (collars, combs, bowls, etc.);
  • toys for pets;
  • care tools;
  • everything for walking and traveling;
  • cosmetics;
  • houses, cages.

The greatest profit comes from feed, as they have a stable demand. You will earn a little less on accessories and care products. Be attentive on which food brands are on the top of the market, which are known to be qualitative, etc. According to Vet advice on ThePets: “One of the most common mistakes made by cat owners is feeding either the incorrect amount or the wrong type of food altogether.” That is why it is highly recommended to have well-informed staff who can advise on the best type of feeding.

Staff

To start a pet supplies business, you will need to hire a salesperson. This should be a person who understands pet supplies — the ideal option would be a person with the education of a veterinarian.

People who love animals and who are well versed in the product group are also quite suitable as sellers; this is necessary so that they can offer a suitable option for a visiting customer, and this, in turn, will increase the profit of the pet store. Believe me, the sociability of the seller and the ability to advise the right product will determine whether the client will return to you again or not.

At first, you can offer the sellers a rate. Subsequently, transfer to a percentage of profit, to motivate more productive work. For stable work, you will need two sellers, with a shift work schedule. You can take on the role of an accountant. As a guard, you can buy an alarm and put the store on the remote control of a security company, with a monthly payment.

Cute Cat
Photo by Juan Gomez on Unsplash

Advertising

It is worth noting that a good location and a bright sign will work best to advertise your pet store. But as additional channels for attracting customers, you can also use the distribution of leaflets near your place of trade, the purchase of banner places, a discount program, and other marketing techniques. All this works well and gives results.

If you also sell online, then you need to look towards search engine promotion and buying contextual advertising. Do not disregard social networks either. Create groups and gradually fill them with relevant posts, between which you can place contact information about your store.

5 Main Rules for the Promotion of a Pet Store

1. Beautiful bright signboard. It should be clear at first glance what is advertised here. Secondly, a lot of toys and delicacies are bought by the owners of animals on impulse; they see a shop window, come to look, and end up with a bone for the pet. Therefore, the sign must be colorful and stylish.

2. Friendly staff. As one blogger who works as a sales assistant at a pet store said, “If you are not ready to happily hear twenty pet stories from customers a day, you have nothing to do here.” However, friendliness alone is not enough — the staff must be qualified and well informed even about the novelties of the zoo market.

3. Discounts and promotions — and so that they were visible. Information about a large discount on any popular feed will immediately grab attention, just do it noticeably.

4. Hot selling products. Decorate the checkout area with treats and toys. Be sure to offer some popular brands of dry and wet food, fillers, something that will definitely be in demand. From time to time, check what competitors do and which products are in demand.

5. Promote multiple channels at once. Pet shops are of interest to buyers who are both online and offline — someone will come to you through promotion on the Internet and someone through an advertisement in the elevator. The target audience for pet stores is now the same as for regular grocery stores, so expand your channels as much as possible.

A Few More Tips

You should understand that in the future your main advertising channel for customers will be word of mouth, so try to serve your customers at a high level and provide only quality products.

Display the most popular options in the most prominent places of the store and regularly track for which animals the goods are most often bought from your store and develop in this direction, expanding the assortment. Attend exhibitions and presentations.

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