How In-Store Freezers Help Fish Stores Fight Amazon
For many aquatic retailers, the past few years have been difficult. Retailers report an increase in showrooming shoppers, who use brick-and-mortar stores to examine products in person before buying them online. This can be especially galling for retailers that offer consumers their time and expertise only to see them pull out their phones and walk out of the store without making a purchase.
Yet frozen fish food is offering a bright spot for retailers looking to stave off online competition. They noted that most consumers prefer buying these products in person rather than online, with not having to pay shipping costs being a major factor in shoppers deciding to buy at brick-and-mortars.
Here’s what a few retailers had to say:
Do in-store freezers provide a competitive advantage for pet specialty retailers?
“Frozen has always sold well. Marine food is not something customers want to buy online. They want to physically see it before they buy. They also want to buy food with the fish. We use a normal utility freezer with double glass doors. It’s a show freezer. People always come in for food. It’s one of the things you sell the most of in a store like this.”—Juliane Chambers, assistant manager of the Aquarium Center in Clementon, N.J.
“It’s too expensive for customers to order frozen foods online. Some of the better frozen foods, you can’t really buy online. LRS, you can’t buy it online. For the most part, I carry and support brands that support brick-and-mortars. I don’t push a lot of stuff that’s easily bought on Amazon that undercuts me. I match a lot of Amazon pricing now. Don’t get me wrong, I try to keep up with it, because I’d rather make 50 cents on something than lose the sale to online [vendors], but to the people that actually support the brick-and-mortars, they get pushed a whole lot more.”—James E. Minigh, owner of Bluewater Reef Aquatics in Holy Hill, Fla.
“My customers are still coming in-store for foods. I think they choose other dry goods online and buy food from me. Having a freezer is an advantage because customers would have to pay for at least one- or two-day shipping [if they buy online]. They don’t want to pay for that. There isn’t a lot of margin in foods, so I don’t think the companies are going to want to pick up the tab for shipping costs.”—Erin Powers, owner of All Things Aquariums in Wilsonville, Ore.
To read more on the benefits of carrying frozen fish foods at retail, check out PPN’s story on the fish foods category in the February issue.
Ethan D. Mizer contributed to this report.