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Editor's Note

What on Your Plate Are You Excited About?

For us, it’s the PETS+ Wellness Summit and the prospect of more events that help both pets and businesses.

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IN OUR LATEST BRAIN SQUAD survey, we asked readers to let us know what they had on their plates that they were excited about … and maybe even a little bit scared by. But before I get into that, I’m going to take the editor’s prerogative and tell you my answer to the same question: I’m excited about the PETS+ Wellness Summit.

The summit is our first opportunity to bring you PETS+-style advice, live and in the flesh. We have an amazing two days of exhibits and education planned Oct. 1-2 outside Chicago, packed with pet-wellness experts and vendors as well as with PETS+ readers, who — as they do

in every issue — will be sharing the spotlight, providing their real-life, learned-in-the-trenches perspectives.
We know that not everyone can make it. But we’re hoping — and here, yes, is the scary part — those who do come love it so much they’ll want more … and that we’ll be able to put on similar events throughout the year and throughout the country.

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To borrow a phrase from Brain Squad member Kimberly Gatto, who’s launching e-commerce shopping at The Wagging Tail in Las Vegas, NV, we’re hoping it takes our little business to the next level.

Like Anna Woodcock, who is adding grooming to her Brown Dog Barkery in Ankeny, IA, and who says “it’s exciting and scary at the same time,” boy, can we ever relate.

But what I think may bring home the sentiment best is The Bark Market’s Karen Conell, who tells us she’s ecstatic over the number of pet parents around Delavan, WI, advocating for and educating themselves about raw food, CBD and supplements. “It’s not just the sales we love,” she says, “it’s the feedback we are getting on the improved health and wellness of the pets. It doesn’t get much better!”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

1. Make a list of 20 questions your staff can ask a customer that open a conversation. (Calendar, page 18)

2. Head to your parking lot. Is it clean? Are staff taking the best places? (Manager’s To-Do List, page 20)

3. One great way to develop a fan base for products like toppers is to run a free-with-purchase-of food offer. (Hot Sellers, page 24)

4. Remind customers you’re not all about business by creating an online tribite to customers’ departed pets. (Tip Sheet, page 48)

5. Set aside an hour a week just to make — and announce — decisions. (Tip Sheet, page 48)

Ralf Kircher is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. He has worked with SmartWork Media since 2006, and is the busy father of a son and three Jack Russells.

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Editor's Note

What I Learned at the Wellness Summit

The first PETS+ trade event sent us all home armed with shared information and a sense of community.

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IN OCTOBER, PETS+ hosted its first trade event — the PETS+ Wellness Summit — in which we tried an experiment: We wanted to bring the spirit of the magazine to life, complete with retailers and service providers sharing real-world knowledge and experience, alongside experts from manufacturers whose products those businesses stock, sell and use.

During those two days just outside Chicago, I know from the responses of those who attended, folks soaked in that sharing of information and went back home reinvigorated and better prepared to meet the needs — and address the concerns — of their customers.

I too left armed with new knowledge that I hope we’ll soon be pouring into upcoming issues of PETS+.

Specifically, I learned of a growing consensus to refer to raw food as “fresh.” Coming from the perspective of a consumer as much as a pet industry insider, that’s a shift I can appreciate. Deep down, there’s a squeamish factor in “raw” that I realize is irrational, but “fresh” is a term we can all embrace — and already gladly pay more for when shopping for human groceries.

I learned also that pet pros face many of the same challenges, even if their businesses are located thousands of miles apart. But when they sit down at a table together and share those challenges, their peers gladly offer up suggestions based on their own experiences. That’s heartening, and I hope PETS+, our website, Facebook community and Brain Squad will stand in for that dinner table when you aren’t able to meet face to face.

Mostly, though, I confirmed what I suspected: that PETS+ readers are every bit as cool in person as they are when hearing from them via phone and email. I, for one, hope I’ll be seeing you face to face at many more events PETS+ will host in the future. Stay tuned!

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

1. This year, launch a new holiday tradition, such as everyone wearing red and green bowties. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)
2. Eliminate clutter and distractions in your business’s “decompression zone” to allow customers to acclimate. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)
3. To sell more of an item, try bundling at a set price. (Hot Sellers, page 16)
4. If you sell treat holders, run a buy-one-get-the-treat-free promotion. (Hot Sellers, page 16)
5. Prepare a flu kit for your business, complete with EmergenC, cough drops, vitamin C drops, pain medicine, alcohol wipes, Lysol and more. (Tip Sheet, page 38)

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Editor's Note

With the Wellness Summit, We’re Listening

Thanks to feedback, we’re planning a new Oct. 1-2 timeframe, nearby location and education schedule that coincides with buying.

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BY NOW, YOU’VE SEEN the ads for the PETS+ Wellness Summit, an event coming soon that combines business-building education, buying opportunities and networking with others in the industry — all centered on the vital topic of pet wellness. I’d like to take you behind the scenes in Summit planning for a moment.

As with everything we do here at PETS+, our first and last thoughts are about you. We’ve said since our first issue that our No. 1 rule is if it doesn’t help American pet business owners sell more, save more, manage better, or even just sleep better at night, it doesn’t go into PETS+. That rule applies to everything we put out, from our bulletins to the PETS+ Wellness Summit.

Part of meeting that standard means listening to you and including your voice in what we do. As soon as word of the Wellness Summit got out, we started hearing from you. We started listening, and then we started acting.

We’re thrilled that you’re as excited about it as we are, and we’re glad that, among other constructive comments, it was suggested our original schedule might be too long to be away from your business.

As a result of the feedback, we have tweaked the event in ways we believe will make it even more useful to you.

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The dates are now Oct. 1-2, and each day features a dose of education prior to the show floor opening, at lunch and in mid-afternoon.

The location has changed to the more intimate Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago’s airport, which makes it easier to get to if you happen to be flying in.

What has not changed is the value of the education sessions, covering CBD, raw food, raw alternatives, supplements, healthy play, aging and partnering with local vets.

Learn all the details and register at petsplusmag.com/summit. And never stop telling us what you think.

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

1. Surprise yourself by asking a friend or relative to secret-shop your store. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)

2. If your professional accreditations aren’t hanging in your business or on your About Us page, they ought to be. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)

3. Check with your suppliers to see what deals or freebies they’ll offer your customers. (Hot Sellers, page 18)

4. Upsell your smelliest clients on aromatic shampoos. (Hot Sellers, page 18)

5. The time to begin posting holiday gift ideas to PInterest is now. (Tip Sheet, page 42)

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Editor's Note

For the Wellness of Your Business

By our measure, nothing says ‘cool’ like a healthy business.

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THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 America’s Coolest Stores Contest we feature in this issue prove that “cool” can take many forms. In the top three alone, we have Bar K, a membership-based dog park and restaurant enjoyed equally by humans and their pups; Wag Central, whose human equivalent may just be Club Med; and Barker’s Lane, a grooming salon so luxurious, people have been known to come in without their dogs.

While these three non-traditional pet businesses — as well as the nine slightly more traditional honorable mentions, which will be featured at length in upcoming issues — come from all points on the pet business spectrum, every winner has one important element in common: Each celebrates that special bond between pets and people, and — just as your own business does (or ought to!) — each accomplishes that in a unique way.

We hope you learn from these businesses and take away ideas to incorporate in your own to make it into something as cool as these.

In that spirit, PETS+ is offering a way this fall to help you both celebrate the bond between pets and their owners as well as differentiate your business from the rest.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, we’re hosting the PETS+ Wellness Summit just outside Chicago. We understand that one of the most important priorities of your customers — and your business — is the health and well-being of their pets. And we know the range of products and developments in the pet wellness sector can be dizzying and complicated.

So for three days, we are bringing together experts, vendors, retailers and service providers for education, buying opportunities and networking — all centered on the subject of wellness.

Register to attend free today and learn more here: petsplusmag.com/summit.

And may your business be both cool and well.

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

    1. Sign up today to attend the PETS+ Wellness Summit Sept. 30-Oct. 2. (Calendar, page 14)
    2. Develop a product launch plan and schedule training sessions for those SuperZoo purchases. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 18)
    3. Create an infographic for your social media feeds. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 18)
    4. Introduce customers to raw food with 99-cent single-serving samples. (Hot Sellers, page 24)
    5. Download a workbook to help you choose which social media platform is best for your business to focus on. (Columns, page 59)

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