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Connect with Your Customer Through Your Good Deeds

How does a retailer connect to its clientele and keep them coming back for more in an already flooded pet market?

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HOW DOES A RETAILER connect to its clientele and keep them coming back for more in an already flooded pet market? Social consciousness.

What does that mean? Social consciousness is defined as awareness shared by individuals within a society regarding a common problem. For American companies associated with pets, the biggest problem continues to be more homeless animals than loving homes. Roughly 6.5 million pets lose their homes and enter the shelter system every year. More than a million do not survive.

So, what are you doing about it? By supporting companies and charities that address this problem through pet adoptions, spay/neuter clinics, and safety-net programs that assist with major veterinary needs or emergency sheltering, pet retailers are sending a clear message to consumers that they care and are not in it just for their own financial gain. They are signaling their awareness and commitment to their target audience.

Social consciousness also lies at the heart of social entrepreneurships, which are businesses that take corporate responsibility seriously and often exist solely to support charity through product creation and sales. An example is Rescue Chocolate, which donates its profits from the sale of its candies back to animal rescues. Whether these companies donate a portion or all of their profits to charity, this sector within the pet industry is focused on giving back to pets in need.

And what could be more appealing to a consumer who also happens to be a loving pet parent? A favorite pet store or supplier that supports vendors that function as social entrepreneurships. This is an example of the halo effect, where consumers assign your business positive attributes as a result of your good deeds. Research shows that the Halo Effect is directly correlated to brand loyalty, whether that loyalty is to a product or the retailer that carries it, is up to you.

Here are three ways retailers can use social consciousness to connect to consumers, solidify their loyalty, and keep them coming back for more:

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1. Stock your shelves responsibly. Do you know where the products you’re purchasing are made? Yes, items manufactured overseas are cheaper to purchase, but are they quality, organic products that support the American economy, and in turn, help address that common problem?

2. Are your vendors transparent regarding sourcing of their materials? Do consumables meet USDA organic certification guidelines? Probably not if they’re grown elsewhere. Are the materials used supporting local farmers and textile workers? Money spent locally, helps support local charities.

3. Know where the profits go. All businesses need to turn a profit, even social entrepreneurships. But, shouldn’t a company that deals in making pet items and earns a healthy profit from those sales, also benefit the animals who consume those products?

All things being equal — quality, local sourcing, price points — it stands to reason that an animal-loving consumer will support not only socially conscious vendors, but also the retailers who support those vendors.

Cynthia Bullock is founder of Harley’s Hope Foundation, a national nonprofit that helps pets and their people remain together, as well as the founder of B&B Creations, a unique pet product company that supports pet charities by donating net profits to animal welfare organizations. Find its products at bbcpetproducts.com.

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