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The term "Made in the USA" has become a label that consumers trust and seek out when searching for the perfect food or treat for their pet. After all, the horror of the 2007 melamine debacle still resonates with pet parents and subsequent pet food recalls remind us that it’s important to know the source and manufacturing of our food sources. A "Made in the USA" stamp on the packaging is one way to alleviate fears of off-shore (and often less standardized) sourcing. But can you trust it? Just because a product says it’s made in the USA, is it? Does it matter? Who decides this? What rules do they follow? As the trusted resource on everything pet you'll need to be ready to answer these questions for pet parents in your community. 

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When a customer enters your pet retail store their first impression will be based on what strikes them visually. Displays play an important role in nurturing the customer experience in your pet business. Having interesting and eye catching displays will immediately make your store stand out from your competitors. A great display may make a customer stop and take notice of a product they do not typically buy. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to make a display look like more than just products laid out on a table or sitting on some shelves. Oftentimes the simpler the display design idea the greater the impact it will have. 

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Original Post by: NextPaw March 4, 2019

Local pet shops face many unique challenges. For one, how do you stand out from the pack of other independent pet retailers in your area? Or even more challenging, how do you get noticed more than big box stores with their big marketing budgets? Getting a pet owner’s attention is the first step to driving more business to your store. The act of enticing customers has become increasingly difficult as consumers choices have drastically multiplied. “The paradox of choice,” states that when people are presented with a wider selection of options, the time that a person takes to make a decision increases rather than decreases.

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As a pet store owner, you’re well aware that there’s no shortage of food options. In fact, every month sees new pet food releases each of them designed to be the healthiest and more palatable than the rest. Where there used to be adult food and puppy/kitten food; now there’s breed specific foods, novelty proteins, vegan, gently cooked, fully cooked, raw, frozen, etc. It’s no wonder your customers are confused about what to feed their pets! Part of that confusion stems from the idea there’s one best food to feed your pet. Of course, there isn’t. There are many brands that can provide pets with top-quality nutrition and variety they need to thrive.

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During the month of June, millions across the globe will gather to celebrate LGBT Pride. Pride parades range in size from 5 million attendees in Sao Paulo, Brazil to only a 100 in Sligo, Ireland. No matter big or small there will be parades and parties held in every major city across the US and even in some small towns during June. The month of June is an opportunity to show your support for the LGBT members of your community whether they are customers or not. By celebrating pride in your business you can let your customers and the community you serve know that you believe in unconditional love for both pets and people everywhere.

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Within the past few years, there has been a major shift in the pet industry towards more sustainable practices. With the fast growing concern for our planet’s welfare, many companies within the pet industry (and beyond) are taking a long hard look at their personal effect on the environment and are beginning to change how they do business. Not only that, but as consumers become more aware of their impact on the planet they are seeking out sustainable brands and products more than ever before. As a retailer, you play a huge role in helping promote sustainability to this growing number of concerned consumers. Today on Earth Day it is the perfect time for you to begin taking steps towards the sustainable future consumers want. 

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Creating a unique shopping experience and building customer loyalty is the most surefire way to beat out big box stores and online retail giants. You can offer insights and advice to pet parents that they can't get anywhere else and by doing this you offer a more personalized shopping experiencing. Manufacturer frequent buyer discounts paired with your own rewards program is another great way to improve the customer experience and grow customer retention. Research shows that acquiring new customers can cost 5x more than retaining current customers and by increasing retention by just 5 percent through customer loyalty programs you can boost revenue by 75 percent. Wow!

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This year's Global Pet Expo marked its 15th year and was the biggest event to date. In fact, with just over 352,300 square feet of exhibiting space,1173 manufacturer booths, 1000 new products, and over 30-plus hours of free educational seminars it has just about everything you need to learn and grow your pet retail business. We did the math, and with a total of 29 hours of showtime and approximately 1173 booths to explore that would give the average person roughly 1 minute and 28 seconds respectively at each booth. That is with no breaks at all. No lunch, no sitting, just one booth to the next. It's almost hard to comprehend!

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In the age of online retail, it is more important than ever to have a reliable customer base. When you have the same consumers repeatedly return to your store for expert advice and products that they can only receive from you and your staff, this creates a bond of respect, trust, and cash flow for your business. The goal is to be continually assisting and educating the customer on their journey with their pet. In terms of pet health, there is always something to be focusing on that you (the local pet expert) have solutions for.

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Litter boxes are a great indication of your cat’s health. The size and frequency of urination and the smell and color of feces can tell you a lot about the health of your pet. Keeping an eye on your litter box can clue you into your cat’s gut health, level of hydration (or level of dehydration) and even show early signs of urinary tract issues. All too often, cats stop using their litter boxes to the confusion and dismay of their human counterparts. They could be urinating in the sink or tub, defecating in the bed sheets, or going to the bathroom anywhere but the litter box.

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