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Candace D'Agnolo

4 Ways to Run Your Pet Store Like a Casino, Not a Museum

These strategies will help you refresh your inventory and wallet.

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IN THE WORLD of retail, you’re either a museum or a casino. Do you know the difference? Do you know which one you are? One is a lot better off than the other.

A “museum retailer” holds on to inventory way too long. They’ve invested hard-earned money into the merchandise and will not lose their margin by running a sale. Often, a “museum retailer” is afraid of attracting more bargain shoppers than those willing to pay full price.

On the other hand, a “casino retailer” understands the importance of putting on a show. They feed money into the system to buy more of what’s selling and less of what’s not. This retailer isn’t afraid to raise the stakes by bundling merchandise, giving away freebies with purchases and running exciting promotions. Ching! Ching! Ching!

When you move more goods, you’re turning inventory faster. The faster it leaves your store, the sooner you get money back and can re-invest into something new your customers will love.

Here are some “casino” ideas to get you started:

1. Make deals extra special. To move a lot of inventory quickly and to get shoppers coming in to buy more product, go deep with discounts. Pull a list of merchandise over six months old. That may be half of your store, but remember you don’t want to be a museum. It’s time to play the clearance sale game and make more money.

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2. Organize goods into categories like “Great Stuff,” “Pretty Good” and “Total Dogs.” The great stuff should start at 25 percent off, pretty good stuff at 50 percent off and the dogs at 75 percent off. That’s right! Now you can promote up to 75 percent off. Run this for one week, then decide what to further mark down or just re-merchandise.

3. Hold a virtual sale. These can be tricky, as jumping on Facebook Live and juggling the camera and the comments can be overwhelming. Plus, processing orders after is a full-time job. Depending on your social distancing situation, though, a virtual sale may be exactly what you need. It creates a sense of urgency and limits lingering in your store. Promote your virtual sale as much as any in-person event. And test out a platform such as CommentSold, which converts comments into sales and automatically invoices shoppers.

4. Create a “Buy & Sell” Facebook group. This will make featuring products and their prices easy peasy. Plus, customers can quickly message you if interested. Commit to streaming live a couple of times a day to feature items that may need a little explanation. This also will help keep engagement up. Reward people for inviting pet parents to the group by entering them in a drawing to win a prize!

Navigating COVID-19 as a brick-and-mortar store certainly has taken a hit on our theoretical retail casino, but these strategies will help you refresh your inventory and wallet for Q4.

Candace D’Agnolo owns successful pet business Dogaholics and offers business consulting at Pet Boss Nation. For help creating a customized 90-day plan to tackle all your business goals, download a free worksheet, at petbossnation.com/petsplus. Contact her at hello@petbossnation.com.

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