How Do You Manage A Pet Shop? [13 Secret Tips]

How hard can it be to manage a small pet shop?  People start pet shops with such mindsets, and the next thing they know, pet supply giant like Pet Valu has closed 358 stores across the U.S.A. The same thing happened with loyal companion & pets.com. Apparently, managing a pet shop is much more difficult and strategic than you thought. It’s not just a small shop. Instead, it’s an organization that requires efficient management and planning.

To successfully manage a pet shop, first niche down to a specific product category. Then, find out what type of customers you want to cater to. Next, your shop needs a reliable supply chain, digital accounting software, efficient inventory management, and proper marketing on different platforms.

The labels of managerial tasks look difficult, but the task isn’t. Just go through the steps described in this article. It will surely change your mind on how a pet shop as small as yours should be managed and upscaled.

How Do You Manage A Pet Shop? 3 Steps

Most people start “management” once the business is in full swing. Soon, they realize how difficult some tasks are to manage. For example, renting a flat in an expensive area. Most of your revenue goes into the landlord’s pocket. But it’s not reversible.

That’s why we suggest you consider the management aspect of your business before even renting a place. Today, we will take you through the three stages of business and what you should consider during each one. That’s the only way you can smoothly run or manage a business in the future. So, are you ready?

1. The Planning Phase

In the planning phase, you have to find out your ideal customer segment.

There are almost 86.9M pet owners in the U.S.A. (if not more).

You can’t make everyone happy. So, try to pick a group of customers no one is catering to yet. This strategy would do wonders for your small business. Here are some parts of the planning process. Take a look.

1.1 Learn Your Customer’s Psychology

Different customer groups think differently. You have to figure the psychology out. Only then can you find the right product they would pay to have.

For example, Gen Z is about “life is short, so why don’t you just spoil your dog?” Needless to say, a 60-year-old veteran doesn’t think that way.

They might be after the best quality products at an affordable price. Or, a group of customers might be after that “organic tag.” You can’t target each of them with a single product.

That’s why it’s essential to filter out your specific customer base. Then, find out what they look for while buying pet items in a shop. It will make your future marketing campaigns way easier and more effective.

1.2 Find A Niche Product

The 2024 business strategy is all about narrowing your niche.

The more you narrow down, the easier it is to become a brand. For example, there are thousands of pet products. You can choose one product category like toys, food, apparel, etc.

Suppose you have decided to go with “toys.” Your targeted customer segment is “Gen Z.” You should bring technologically advanced toys like an automatic ball launcher. Or, it can be something funky like boho hats, bandanas, etc. It’s pretty easy to select items when you have a niche and customers in mind.

But we also understand you might not be trying to become a brand right now. In that case, follow the traditional pet shop model with a variety of items of different categories. That will give you some customers from various groups. However, if your plan is to open multiple shops under the label in the future, it’s better to stick with the first plan. Business is more scalable that way. 

proven methods to boost pet store's profit

The global pet industry has been on a consistent rise. In the U.S. alone, the pet industry was valued at over $99 billion in 2020, and it’s expected to continue growing.

1.3 Conduct A Market Analysis

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t come up with a niche on your own. For example, businesses like pet food or accessories like collars & leashes are oversaturated. There are just too many options, both online & offline. Plus, one can easily order a customized collar with any design on Etsy. Even though dog collars/leashes are a focused niche, there’s hardly any scope for newcomers unless you have a completely different product design.

That’s why try to find trending pet products on different marketplaces or what pet owners are actively searching for. Pick a product that you think has great potential and start selling it. For example, dog bandanas are comparatively less competitive but still have a consistent demand among pet owners.

1.4 Pick A Suitable Location

The next thing is to choose where you want to open your store.

Historically, California, Los Angeles & Florida are the best places to start a pet business.

But these places already have too many pet shops, and the rent is not impressive at all. Have a look at the rent per sq ft at these potential places.

StatesRent Per Sq/YearYearly Rent For 1000 Sq FtMonthly Rent For 1000 Sq Ft
Florida$26.81$26,810$2,234
California$37.75$37,750$3145
Arizona$22.87$22,870$1905
Philadelphia$27.84$27,840$2320
San Francisco$57.71$57,710$4809
Seattle$34.35$34,350$2862
Atlanta$22.47$22,470$1872

Here, you can’t give in too easily. At first, the $26.81 per sq ft/year doesn’t look too much. You might think about getting a pet shop smaller than 1000 sq ft to make the rent affordable. But it’s not a feasible plan for the long term. After a few years, you will outgrow your 800 sq ft shop.

See also  What Sells Best In A Pet Shop? Updated List 2024

The inventory will become unmanageable, and the place will be too crampy to attract quality customers. You would end up losing instead of earning profit.

Suppose you have chosen California. Your monthly expenses would be more than $ 5,000, including utility bills & rent. We haven’t even included the cost of buying inventory, salary of employees, & taxes. Your profit margin on each product would have to be around 40% to 50%.

Only that can ensure you are in the safe zone. However, such high prices can cause a negative impression on the customers who can get the products at lower prices elsewhere.

On the other hand, choosing an area with low rent will allow you to offer frequent discounts on labeled prices.

With the rise of e-commerce, many pet shops have expanded their operations online. Websites, apps, and even subscription boxes for pet products have become popular.

2. The Start-Up

Hopefully, you have a perfect plan by now. It’s time to start your business. You will rent the store, redecorate it, find a supplier, and start selling. But keep these things in mind to make the business more manageable.

2.1 Know The Legal Obligations

Relocating your business from one state to another is a huge expense. That’s why you should check the desired state’s laws and regulations regarding keeping & selling pets. For example, Washington, D.C., has strong laws to regulate pet shops. The shop owner must ensure all the pets are fed regularly, live in a sanitized cage, and have access to vet care, medicines, etc.

 Also, if the animals get traumatized living alone, you must provide a companion for them. Plus, the cage must be big enough for the animal to turn around and feel relaxed. And the list goes on. In some states, the well-being laws are less strict. For example, Alabama doesn’t regulate pet shops that strictly.

Our advice is, before registering your business, find out the legislation. That way, you can care for animals, knowing what to do and not do. Your job is a little tough if you plan to sell exotic animals or supplies for such pets. Here is the list of states where the possession of exotic pets is banned.

Comprehensive BanPartial Ban
New York, Washington D.C, Oregon, California, Colorado, Utah, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, South CarolinaMinnesota, Virginia, Michigan, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida.

2.2 Stack Up The Store Strategically

The secret to high profit lies in strategically placing products on the store’s shelf. You don’t just place everything you have one by one until the shelves get full.

Keep the products you want to market/advertise in a more visible place. Regular items like food, poop bags, etc can be placed a little far. So that, a customer who only needs a new packet of food has to go through the long aisles. Hopefully, they will find some interesting items on their way and check them out, too (like new toys). Even supermarkets have adopted this strategy as well. So, why don’t you?

Plus, keep similar products from different companies side by side. That way, the customer won’t always have to look for your help. Besides the similar product group, keep complementary items. For example, keep treats beside food packets. Or nail clipping kits beside shampoos.

Finally, you & all of your employees should know which product belongs where. So they can serve the customers fast.

key insights on pet store profitability

2.3 Hire Friendly Employees

If you need employees to talk with customers, hire experienced and friendly people. Oftentimes, you might get too carried away by someone’s knowledge and neglect his/her communication skills. It’s a must for pet shops, especially the new ones.

As we have said earlier, people treat pets no less than their kids. They would want to buy items from a shop that they can emotionally connect with. They have to trust & like you enough to keep coming back.

Technology has made its way into the pet industry. Smart collars, pet cameras, automated feeders, and pet health apps are some of the innovations pet shops are integrating into their offerings.

3. The Management Phase

Trust us. If you can follow the above steps as we stated, the management stage would be the smoothest for you. Since the business is based on logical analysis, none of your managerial tasks would come across as “impossible.”

Here are the things a successful pet store manager has to ensure.

3.1 Keep Records Of Sales

It’s a no-brainer. You have to keep records of your store’s daily transactions. You can hire an accountant to do that manually. Or, you can upgrade yourself and go digital. Many third-party software allow you to save your daily sales in the cloud. Usually, pet stores have barcodes on each item.

So, when a product is sold, an employee must scan the code. It is automatically saved on your store’s inventory software as a sold item.

You can choose either a FIFO (first in first out) or LIFO (last in first out) inventory record-keeping system. The software can record your inventory in both ways.

The product is then removed from the remaining inventory list. It’s a quick way to check which products are getting sold the most every month.

3.2 Forecast Sales & Plan Future Products

The main reason you should keep inventory records is to forecast future sales. You won’t be able to do that in the first month. But after a while, you will have enough data to pick your future products more carefully.

Check out how many times a product is sold in the last month, the difference between your expectation & reality, products you thought would be a hit but they didn’t, and so on. In short, make a spreadsheet and rank each product according to how many items have been sold. This is the easiest way to find profitable and unprofitable products.

Don’t order products that didn’t perform according to your expectations. Just keep the items on your shelves until your purchased inventory is finished.

See also  Ultimate Guide To Starting A Pet Business Online [Secret Blueprint]

Also, list items sold out too quickly, and you had to return customers due to unavailability. Make sure you order enough stock for the next month to avoid such incidents. Do the same thing every month until you find out which products work best for your store.

There’s a growing awareness and concern about the welfare of animals sold in pet shops. Many regions have implemented stricter regulations on the sourcing and sale of pets to prevent puppy mills and similar unethical practices.

3.3 Build Customer Relationships

Just because you are profiting right now doesn’t mean it will always be like that. But you can secure your store’s profitability by building a loyal customer base. As the saying goes, they like you, they will pay you. So, in the third stage of establishing & managing your business, your main focus should be on customer satisfaction.

According to sales experts, building an emotional connection with customers makes them come back to your store again and again.

You can do that by sharing your own experience with pets. Don’t neglect the power of follow-ups. If you have online buyers, follow up with them after they have purchased the product. Give them updates on new shipments. Such small details will make your store more likable than a competitor’s.

3.4 Build A Reliable Supply-Chain

After running the business for a while, you will have the need to expand. But to stay in the “profit” zone, you must find ways to reduce operational costs. One such cost is maintaining heavy loads of inventory.

Usually, pet shop owners stack inventory in a storeroom behind the store.

But if you are planning to expand your store and introduce more products, that store room has to go.

Also, maintaining the inventory every day requires labor and money. You would be better off spending these resources on something else.

You can achieve this by building a reliable and fast supply chain. Over the years, you must build relationships with your suppliers. Then, you don’t have to order stacks of food packets two weeks before your current inventory finishes. You can order supplies on short notice and ask for a fast delivery. That way, you will be free from managing loads of inventory.

3.5 Try To Be Relevant

Check out the hot products of each season. Is it the new dye-tied tea shirts for dogs? Or, the matching shirts for pets and their parents? Whatever it is, make sure you know every trend related to pet products. 

Only then can you find and deliver those products to your customers before others do. Once the customers know you always have the trendiest items, they will only come to you for new products. Plus, you can charge higher prices that are yet to be sold by every other classic pet shop in the neighborhood.

owning a pet shop pros vs cons

To differentiate themselves and add value, some pet shops offer educational programs and workshops. These can range from basic pet care classes to advanced training and behavior workshops.

3.6 Promote, Promote & Promote

It doesn’t matter whether you are running a brick-and-mortar store or an online one. You have to promote yourself to the desired customer groups. It’s the only way to beat such high competition in this niche. You should think about participating in community programs for pets. Or take part in the fundraising programs arranged by big rescue shelters.

It is an effective way to promote your pet shop to the pet parents. The more active you are on such programs, the better your chances of building credibility as an ethical seller. It’s called “be where your customers are.”

Next, use the networking power of social media. Create an Instagram page or Facebook page for your shop.

Show your journey on these big platforms. It’s not that tough. Just analyze what the big pet supply companies are doing.

Global Pet Industry Statistics & Trends Infographic

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

What is pet shop management system?

A pet shop management system is a software or digital solution designed to streamline and optimize the operations of a pet store. It can be a simple software application or a comprehensive system that integrates various functionalities to manage different aspects of the business.

The primary goal of a pet shop management system is to simplify the administrative tasks associated with running a pet store, allowing owners and staff to focus more on customer service and other core business activities. When selecting a system, pet shop owners should consider their specific needs, the scalability of the software, ease of use, and cost.

Here are some of the core features and functionalities that a pet shop management system might include:

  1. Inventory Management: Helps in tracking the stock levels of pet supplies, food, toys, and other merchandise. It can alert the store owner about low stock levels and even automate reordering processes.
  2. Pet Record Management: Keeps track of the pets available for sale or adoption, including their breed, age, health records, and other relevant details.
  3. Sales and Billing: Facilitates the checkout process, generates invoices, and keeps track of daily, weekly, or monthly sales.
  4. Customer Management: Maintains a database of customers, their purchase history, preferences, and contact details. This can be useful for marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, and personalized offers.
  5. Appointment and Service Scheduling: If the pet shop offers services like grooming, boarding, or veterinary care, the system can help schedule appointments and manage service bookings.
  6. Employee Management: Manages employee schedules, attendance, payroll, and other HR-related tasks.
  7. Reporting and Analytics: Provides insights into sales trends, popular products, customer preferences, and other vital business metrics.
  8. E-commerce Integration: If the pet shop has an online presence, the system can integrate with the e-commerce platform, synchronizing inventory, sales, and customer data.
  9. Marketing and Promotion Tools: Helps in sending promotional emails, SMS, or push notifications to customers about discounts, new arrivals, or special events.
  10. Feedback and Review Management: Allows customers to provide feedback or reviews about products or services, helping the business improve and maintain its reputation.
  11. Security Features: Ensures that sensitive data, like customer details or financial transactions, are securely stored and protected from unauthorized access.
  12. Mobile Access: Some systems offer mobile apps or mobile-friendly interfaces, allowing store owners and employees to access the system on-the-go.
See also  Beginner's Guide To Selling Pet Accessories [Hidden Blueprint]

Personalized pet products, such as custom-made toys, beds, or engraved tags, are becoming more popular. Pet shops are offering more options for customers to add a personal touch to their pet’s items.

Pet services concept icons set. Grooming center services app. Grooming services options. Animal care idea thin line RGB color illustrations. Vector isolated outline drawings. Editable stroke

There are several pet shop management software solutions available in the market, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Here are some examples:

Pawfinity:

This is a cloud-based pet business management solution that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers appointment scheduling, point-of-sale (POS), inventory management, and more.

Visit their official website here.

PetExec:

Designed for pet care businesses, it offers features like online booking, POS, digital pet records, and more.

Visit their official website here.

123Pet Software:

This software is suitable for both pet grooming salons and pet shops. It offers appointment booking, customer management, and reporting tools.

Visit their official website here.

PawLoyalty:

Aimed at pet care businesses, it provides features like reservations management, customer management, and service packages.

Visit their official website here.

Revel Systems:

While it’s a broader POS system, Revel Systems offers features that can be tailored for pet shops, including inventory management, customer relationship management, and loyalty programs.

Visit their official website here.

Pet Store Pro:

A free training resource for pet retailers, it offers courses on various aspects of pet store management.

Visit their official website here.

Kennel Connection:

While more focused on kennels, it can be used by pet shops that offer boarding services. It includes features like reservation management, grooming scheduling, and more.

Visit their official website here.

KORONA.pos:

A cloud-based POS system that can be tailored for pet shops. It offers inventory management, sales analytics, and loyalty programs.

Visit their official website here.

Pet store for dogs, cats, birds and other domestic animals square frame border pattern colored background . Vector illustration doodles, set of pet shop supplies in thin line art sketch style

How do you attract customers to a pet store?

Attracting customers to a pet store involves a combination of traditional marketing, community engagement, and leveraging modern digital tools.

Traditional Marketing:

Location and Store Appearance:

  • Choosing a prime location.
  • Maintaining a clean, well-lit, and organized store.

Offer Unique Products and Services:

  • Stocking unique or niche products.
  • Providing services like grooming, boarding, or pet training.

Host Events:

  • Organizing pet adoption days, training sessions, grooming demonstrations, etc.

Loyalty Programs:

  • Offering physical loyalty cards or punch cards.

Engage with the Community:

  • Sponsoring local events or charities.
  • Collaborating with local businesses for cross-promotions.

Educate Customers:

  • Distributing free pamphlets or brochures on pet care.
  • Conducting in-store workshops.

Offer Promotions:

  • Hosting in-store sales or promotions.
  • Creating product bundles for discounts.

Excellent Customer Service:

  • In-store personalized recommendations and assistance.

Engage with Local Veterinarians:

  • Establishing referral programs or partnerships.

Window Displays:

  • Designing and setting up attractive window displays.

Word of Mouth:

  • Encouraging satisfied customers to refer friends and family.

Some pet shops host events like pet birthdays, adoption days, or pet-friendly gatherings to engage with the community and create a loyal customer base.

Digital Marketing:

Leverage Social Media:

  • Posting engaging content, hosting online contests, and using targeted ads.

Online Presence:

  • Maintaining a user-friendly website with an online store.
  • Offering online reservations for services.
  • Listing the business on Google My Business and encouraging online reviews.

Email Marketing:

  • Sending newsletters, promotions, and reminders.

Collaborate with Pet Influencers:

  • Partnering with online influencers for product reviews or promotions.
Pet shop with home animals, store interior with cat, dog, puppy, bird, fish in aquarium. Counter desk, accessories, food, toys, medicine on shelves. Petshop supermarket.

What does a pet shop owner do?

A pet shop owner is responsible for the overall management and operation of the pet store. Their duties encompass a wide range of tasks, from administrative and managerial functions to customer service and animal care.

Being a pet shop owner requires a combination of business acumen, passion for animals, and interpersonal skills. It’s a role that demands dedication, as the well-being of animals is a significant responsibility, and customer trust is paramount.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical responsibilities of a pet shop owner:

Business Management:

  • Oversee daily operations to ensure the smooth running of the store.
  • Handle financial aspects, including budgeting, accounting, and payroll.
  • Make decisions about product selection, pricing, and inventory management.
  • Ensure compliance with local, state, or national regulations related to pet sales, animal welfare, and business operations.

Staff Management:

  • Hire, train, and supervise staff.
  • Schedule shifts and manage employee performance.
  • Ensure staff are knowledgeable about products and animal care.

Animal Care:

  • Ensure the well-being, health, and proper care of all animals in the store.
  • Coordinate with veterinarians for regular health check-ups or in case of illnesses.
  • Ensure that cages, aquariums, and enclosures are clean and safe.

Customer Service:

  • Assist customers with inquiries, purchases, and complaints.
  • Provide information and advice on pet care, products, and services.
  • Build and maintain good relationships with customers to encourage repeat business.

Marketing and Promotion:

  • Develop and implement marketing strategies to attract customers.
  • Organize promotions, discounts, and events to boost sales.
  • Manage the store’s online presence, including social media accounts and website, if applicable.

Supplier Relations:

  • Negotiate with suppliers and vendors for product purchases.
  • Ensure timely delivery of stock and manage inventory levels.
  • Build and maintain good relationships with suppliers to get the best deals and ensure product quality.

Maintenance and Cleanliness:

  • Ensure the store is clean, organized, and presentable.
  • Oversee the maintenance of equipment, cages, aquariums, and other store fixtures.

Continuous Learning:

  • Stay updated with the latest trends in the pet industry.
  • Attend workshops, seminars, or trade shows related to pet care and business management.
  • Continuously learn about different pet species, their care requirements, and the latest products in the market.

Ethical Responsibilities:

  • Ensure ethical sourcing of pets and avoid suppliers with questionable practices.
  • Promote responsible pet ownership among customers.
  • Collaborate with local animal shelters or rescue organizations for adoption events or other initiatives.

Crisis Management:

  • Handle emergencies, such as sick animals, accidents, or other unforeseen events.
  • Develop and implement safety protocols for both staff and animals.

Before You Leave!

It’s easier to advise someone to find trendy products and sell them. However, the process of analyzing each marketplace to find the hot pet-related items can be really tedious. If you want to save some time, check out our article on “what sells best in a pet shop.” You will find the most recent data here, along with our tips (of course). 

Article link: What sells best in a pet shop? (updated 2024)

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.

Disclaimer

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