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Help Pets and Increase Profits With a Strong Supplement Section

You can create a more profitable supplement section while building trust, which leads to those coveted repeat sales.

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GOOD NEWS! MANY pet parents who take supplements also want their dogs and cats to experience such positive health benefits.

The cautionary news? The pet supplement landscape is vast and often confusing to pet parents. They want both the best products and the best value, and side-by-side comparisons may leave them feeling more confused than informed.

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More good news! You can help. You know the products, you’re selective about what you stock, and you make great recommendations. With just a little extra effort, you can create a more profitable supplement section while building trust, which leads to those coveted repeat sales.

Arm your staff with information. Your store can excel at education in a way big-box and online stores simply cannot. It is essential for your staff to be more than just familiar with the supplements you stock; they should be a resource for your customers, able to speak with confidence and make informed recommendations rooted in education. Most companies provide educational materials to help your staff understand — and speak about — the science behind the supplements.

Partner with a holistic veterinarian. There is immense value in having a relationship with a holistic practitioner who can answer clinical questions and act as a credible source of information for your customers. You’ll have a trusted expert in your back pocket for referrals, plus you can work with the vet to host in-store wellness events that make pet parents smarter and remind them of the importance of whole-animal care.

Focus on key categories. Rather than stocking a supplement for everything under the sun, focus on categories most purchased or requested by your customers, and offer several delivery method options within. For example, offer a tablet for the dog who will eat anything, a powder easily hidden in a finicky cat’s food, a soft chew for small pets, etc. Merchandise by category rather than brand to help customers easily see all products that will address their pet’s needs. Also consider cross-promoting, such as grouping calming supplements with soother toys or snuffle mats.

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Make quality a priority. When considering products, take a close look at the supplier’s website and marketing materials, keeping in mind that supplements are not magic bullets; if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Claims that state — or even imply — a product will treat, prevent, cure or mitigate any disease are illegal. The product packaging should have a lot number, which tells you that the manufacturer requires product traceability, as well as a phone number you can call to ask what quality standards the company follows and whether the product is independently tested by a reputable lab. Keep in mind that cheap products are typically cheap for a reason, and quality ingredients and responsible manufacturing cost money. Selecting products with the National Animal Supplement Council Quality Seal will help ensure you choose suppliers that responsibly produce and market their products and maintain ongoing compliance with the NASC’s rigorous quality standards. To see a list of suppliers that have earned the Quality Seal, visit nasc.cc/members.

Bill Bookout is president, board chairman and a founding member of the National Animal Supplement Council. He has held executive positions in the animal health and human medical device industries. Bookout earned his BSc in physical sciences from University of Wyoming and his MBA from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program.

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