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5 Ways to Spotlight Travel Products


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Today’s pets are taking to the skies and hitting the road, as more and more pet owners take their animal companions along with them on trips both near and far. Here are five ways that pet specialty retailers can highlight their travel product assortments and become the destination of choice for their on-the-go customers. 

1. Give travel products their own section and space

“Set up an area in the store that is dedicated [to these] products,” said Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and founder and owner of Earth Heart in Dundee, Ill.
Mandie Sweetnam, category manager of travel and access for Knoxville, Tenn.-based Radio Systems Corp., maker of the PetSafe brand, agreed.

“It is best to carve out at least 2 feet of space for a travel-specific area,” she said. “If you try to add the products into another category, they may get lost and will be hard for the consumer to locate without a struggle.”

Relabeling the section as “On the Go” instead of “Travel” can boost sales, said Michael Leung, co-founder and lead product designer for Sleepypod in Pasadena, Calif.

“Customers tend to think about travel products as vacation products, when, in reality, these products are used with greater frequency for trips around town or when heading to the veterinarian,” he said.

2. Group items together

“Bundle items together so the pet parent can ‘one-stop shop,’” said Lorien Clemens, vice president of sales and operations for PetHub in Wenatchee, Wash. “At a recent national event, we sponsored special Grab & Go travel safety kits that included our products and more than a dozen other critical travel safety products into a single travel bag for a dog, and it was the most popular item—we had more bids than kits!”

3. Make it easy to experience the products

“Have it accessible for people to touch, see and try,” said Cristina Kulkowsky, retail operations manager for Healthy Spot, which has stores in Southern California. “Not too high and out of touch, but eye level where they can grab, touch, test on the dog, etc. Customers want to try it on their shoulder, feel if it’s comfy inside and see if they like the look.”

4. Use pet mannequins

“Put stuffed dogs around checkout or other places in the store to draw attention that you have these items in the store,” said Gordie Spater, chief business officer and co-founder of Kurgo in Salisbury, Mass.

And Leung noted that “pet mannequins provide context to the customer.”

5. Host in-store educational events

“A very successful way I’ve seen it done is to periodically have travel-based ‘events,’” Clemens said. “Tying these events to traditional travel times—winter holidays and summer vacations—as well as education months like Lost Pet Prevention Month in July provide great context for the retailer.”

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