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Retailer's Rap

Lola & Penelope's | Clayton, MO | www.lolaandpenelopes.com
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery

Lola & Penelope's
7742 Forsyth Blvd
Clayton, MO 63105
(314) 863-5652
www.lolaandpenelopes.com

Lola & Penelope’s is a premiere pet boutique, all-natural food market and spa located in Clayton MO, a suburb of St. Louis. Lola & Penelope’s promotes a holistic approach to pet health – from all-natural foods and treats to top quality grooming, to the latest styles and products for dogs and cats.

Building Customer Loyalty
Tips from Carol Will, Owner of Lola & Penelope’s


Building customer loyalty takes time, persistence and consistent customer service practices, but is definitely worth your time. By focusing on building customer loyalty, you can create a predictable revenue source for your business.

Focus on three key areas:
1. Service. Customers should receive the same level of service every visit. It’s critical that staff understand and practice your service goals. Ongoing training, reminders and performance feedback each play a critical part of offering consistent service.
 At Lola & Penelope’s we keep a “weekly update” page by our daily checklist. The update provides information on what’s working, general reminders, calendar and product information, and is a great reference tool when talking to staff about service areas working well and those needing improvement.

2. Marketing Programs. Create a few marketing programs for customers as a reward for shopping at your store, like a newsletter, a frequent buyer program, or a monthly birthday party for your customers’ pets. Customers always get excited about receiving a reward just for shopping at your store.
We use a Client’s Rewards Program for discounting food purchases and give away free hot oil treatments with grooming services when certain spending levels are reached. This has helped greatly, boosting customer loyalty for our store.

3. Community Service. Get involved with at least one community organization – some places to look include rescue groups, dog parks and your local chamber of commerce – and decide what/when you can donate to help with fund-raising requests. Be honest about the level of participation you can provide. It takes time, but it’s great PR for your shop. We donate gifts to dog/cat related fund-raising events and host our own fund-raisers for the local animal shelters.

Accept that you will not always retain every customer. Instead, focus on continually improving all your services. Also, be careful not to overwhelm you or your staff by trying to do everything at once. Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It is better to do a couple of programs very well than to do a lot in a haphazard fashion.

Best Buddies Dog Boutique and Bakery | St. Petersburg, FL | www.BestBuddiesBoutique.com
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery

Best Buddies Dog Boutique and Bakery
400 Beach Drive NE
S
uite 181
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 289-7156
BestBuddiesBoutique.com

Best Buddies Dog Boutique and Bakery is no ordinary pet boutique. It carries products only for dogs. This hip, bold and rocking store offers the best, safest, most stylish and affordable products for dogs with the goal to make every dog (and their humans) happy. Visit it online or bring your dog into the brick and mortar store in St. Petersburg, FL.

Be Bold, Be Different and Be Original: Competing With Big Box Stores
Tips from Alan Ronay, Ownerof
Best Buddies Dog Boutique and Bakery:

Let’s face it; we’re not big-box stores! We don’t have the buying power or customer base of a multi-million dollar multi-store chain. But we want a piece of the pie and we have a lot to offer. So how do we make our mark in this “mart” geared culture and still get ahead? The big guys aren’t going anywhere, so we should stop pretending to be them. Here are a few tips that we have found useful to differentiate ourselves from the ‘competition’.

1. Quality vs. Price. Sure, most of the products we carry are available in a similar form at the big box stores, but what we offer is better quality. The customer will pay about $25 for a dog food bowl, but she won’t have to replace it quite as quickly as the $3 one she bought at the supermarket.

2. Service vs. No Service. Even though the larger stores brand themselves as being knowledgeable and helpful, we all know the customer often doesn't find what she needs. Paying your staff well and training them properly makes sure that customers become repeat customers. They’ll come back because they appreciate your honest and well informed staff.

3. Gimmicks vs. Techniques. Customers hate to get the run around or feel like they’ve been taken advantage of. Make it simple for them to know they are getting better products and fair pricing. Some of the big guys use sketchy gimmicks to lure the customer in, using fine print in coupons and other tricks to get the customer into their store. We don’t so much need customers to come see us, we need them to leave satisfied so they come back. Rely on common sense and time tested business practices to make sure everyone leaves with a sense that you are different.

We’ve found that, especially with so much information out there, people want clarity. As a business owner, it’s my job to make sure my customers find it at my store. We should all strive to bring back etiquette and good customer service. Be bold, be different, and be original.

Bigwag Dog Bakery | Rogers, AR | www.bigwag.com
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery
Bigwag Bakery

Bigwag Dog Barkery
2301 W. Walnut Ste. 23
Rogers, AR 72756
(479) 631-2WAG
www.bigwag.com

Bigwag Dog Bakery’s mission is
to bring healthy, delicious treats
free of unnecessary additives, preservatives, sugar and salt to Arkansas and beyond.  We also provide quality toys, spa products, grooming tools, clothing and more at reasonable prices.

 

Unraveling the Tangled Web: Creating an Internet Presence
Tips from Erin Hague, Store Manager of Bigwag Dog Bakery:

The Internet can be a valuable resource, a way to advertise your business, develop relationships and educate people about your business.  But it can also be confusing and overwhelming.  The following are a few tips to guide you.

1.  Make connections.  The web is just what it sounds like.  A place where things are strung together, connected by tiny strands.  The best way to increase your presence is to connect with other people.  Trade links with other industry professionals.  We link to groomers, poop scoopers, trainers and pet sitters on our website and in return, they link to us, so that we all share our Internet traffic.  Don’t forget to connect to yourself!  Your main page should link to your blog and social media accounts too.

2.  Start a blog.  We have found that one of the best ways to increase your presence is to maintain a blog.  We use our blog to post information, such as industry recalls, to educate, such as how to read a dog food label and to create personality, such as posting pictures of our Yappy Hours or other events we attend or host.  There are many sites to start a blog, we like www.blogger.com, but we recommend you find one that suites your needs and abilities.  Remember to update often without overwhelming your readers and taking too much time away from other tasks.  We recommend 2-3 times a week on average.

3.  Use Social Media.  You’ve probably heard of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media.  It’s free!  Use it.  But don’t feel as though you have to do everything.  Pick a few and do them well, rather than trying to do a little bit of everything.  You need to update these sites more frequently than a blog, usually at least once a day, if not more.  And don’t be shy about posting links and referencing other users.  This helps build those crucial connections.  Also, there are many ways to connect everything together.  Every time we post on our blog, it automatically updates Twitter via Twitterfeed.  We added applications to our Facebook fan page that show our latest tweets.  That way you do one thing and it updates three places!

The most important thing about the Internet is to remember it takes time.  You aren’t going to see results from most of these things overnight.  But if you stick with it, you will create a meaningful, useful Internet presence.

Puparazzi! Pet Bow-tique | Manteo, NC | www.obxpuparazzi.com
unleashed pet shop
Unleashed Pet Shop
Unleashed Pet Shop

Puparazzi! Pet Bow-tique
107 Budleigh St, Unit E
The Phoenix Shops
Manteo, NC 27954
(252) 473-2094
www.obxpuparazzi.com

Puparazzi! Pet Bow-tique treats your dog like a STAR! We carry high quality items for your fur child at reasonable prices, and have a great selection of unique local art. Celebrate the bond you have with your dog.

Hosting Parties: How One Store Has Used Parties to Promote Its Brand
Tips from Lisa Penosky Owner of Puparazzi! Pet Bow-tique
:
Special events can be a great way to promote your business, and reach new customers. I have parties for each First Friday our town holds, which is an evening event downtown with live music and family friendly activities. Stores & Restaurants offer specials and sales during First Fridays. In the summer, I have a weekly event for vacationing dogs. Both the dogs and their owners have fun at these parties, and many do some shopping while they are here. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Find a fun theme. The first challenge was coming up with some fun names. Some of my most anticipated parties are the Easter Begg Hunt, Pawtriotic Pups, and Bark or Treat. The weekly summer parties are called Pawgaritaville Parties. The name gives each party a theme for people to get excited about, and also a theme for a costume contest.

2. Keep things simple. Fortunately, dogs do not demand a high level of entertainment. Weather permitting, I have a doggy pool, weave poles and hurdles to set up. If the weather isn't cooperating, we do paw print paintings. The dogs have fun exploring the store, and the fun things set up for them at their own pace. The costume contest is the only formal event at the party.

3. Don't go overboard. At each event, I serve refreshments for both the dogs & their people. You don't have to put out a huge or expensive spread. Some iced tea and cookies for the humans, and dog treats with plenty of fresh water work very well. At the Pawgaritaville parties, the highlight is the pawgarita smoothies we serve each dog. I found some inexpensive plastic margarita glasses to serve them in, and give each dog a lei to wear.

At different times, I've added things to the parties, such as having a fashion show with my dog clothing designer, having a dog trainer come to talk about his classes and having the SPCA bring by a dog available for adoption. Having extra help on hand for the events, so you can concentrate on being the host is helpful. Using a digital camera allows me to catch some great photos for press releases, and I e-mail the photos to any owner giving me an e-mail.


Unleashed Pet Shop | Fairfield, CT | www.unleashedpetshop.com

unleashed pet shop
Unleashed Pet Shop
Unleashed Pet Shop

Store Info:
Unleashed Pet Shop
79 Unquowa Place
(Directly across from the Fairfield train station, Northbound side)
Fairfield, CT 06824
203.292.9359
www.unleashedpetshop.com

We are a pet supply retailer offering the healthiest pet food, treats, toys and accessories. We specialize in all natural, holistic and organic pet food and products. We only carry pet diets which contain the highest quality ingredients and no harmful unnecessary preservatives or
by-products.

Creating Successful Displays
Tips from Justin Lancaster, Owner of Unleashed Pet Shop:

1. Be creative. Our most successful displays have been the ones that have a creative twist to them. Customers seem to respond well to things that are slightly unexpected and have some "wow" factor.

2. Hands on. People like to be able to handle things easily. Our experience is that displays that are too intricate discourage people from touching them and ultimately buying that product.

3. Impact. The more impactfull displays usually showcase a bunch of the same item. Displays that are too sparse only showing 1 or 2 of the focal items don't seem to sell as well. I think there's a perceived value to the consumer, that your store really stands by this product, when you have a lot of them.

"As huge animal lovers and admitted "pet spoilers" we are always looking for the best products we can find for our animal family. In our search we've found that a lot of the mainstream foods and treats on the market are filled with cheap, processed fillers and potentially hazardous additives. In fact, a poor quality diet can be a major contributor to serious health problems.

We believe and have experienced that giving our animals high-quality natural foods has had a tremendous positive impact on their health and overall happiness. The bond we share with our pets is indescribably wonderful. They give us so much love and ask nothing in return.

Thats why we started Unleashed Pet Shop in July of 2007. Unleashed Pet Shop is a family owned business... Our pets are our family and we're committed to providing them with the best care possible."

If you'd like your store to be featured on the Retailer's Rap page, please email Lindsey Wojcik, Associate Editor, at lwojcik@petbusiness.com.