Members of the pet bird industry offer strategies for selling perches and related products.
|Possible factors to consider when stocking perching products include the types of woods represented, potential safety hazards and the variety of activity a product offers. |
Photos by Cioli & Hunnicutt/BowTie Studio
By Cheryl Reeves
Customers searching for bird perching products often take factors such as texture, design and size into account when deciding which of these items they’re going to purchase. Even before these avian enthusiasts step into stores and make these decisions, however, retailers must choose the perches, play gyms, climbers, stands and/or swings they are going to stock, as well as how they’re going to display them.
Retailers, for example, can look out for safety hazards when deciding what perching products to stock. Kathleen Grey, owner of Parrotdise Perch, a retailer with locations in Mississauga, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, cautioned retailers to make sure toy hooks on gyms have no gaps where toes can get caught. She recommended stocking a variety of woods, including java and manzanita, for comfortable, natural perching.
Another factor to consider is the variety of activity a perching product offers. Bonnie Jay and Ronny Uehling, co-owners of the manufacturer StarBird Parrot Products in Santa Monica, Calif., advised retailers to stock gyms that keep a bird on its toes in multiple ways.
“Think about how a child would get bored quickly if presented with a playground that had a slide and nothing else on it,” Uehling said. “A bird needs lots of ways to keep engaged and have fun: ladders, swings, rings, seesaws, etc.
Once a play gym, stand or other perching item has arrived in-store, retailers often face the decision of how to display the product.
Grey said she always has several gyms displayed so customers can see and touch them.
What perches, swings, climbers and/or play gyms do you recommend to customers?
“Golden West Bird Products’ Grapevine Cagetop Playstand because the vine is sandblasted to give birds a better grip, and the product is versatile, as it can be attached to the top or inside of the cage.”
—Debra Morgan, owner of The Nature Chest Bird Shop in Decatur, Ala.
“Parrots love bungee ropes. My favorite is from King’s Cages: the Long Rope Perch. It’s soft cotton and bendable. Birds bounce away on them and get lots of exercise. Plus, it’s affordable.”
—Marc Morrone, co-owner of Parrots of the World in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
“Polly’s Pet Products’ Pastel Feather Weight Construction Perch, which is a concrete nail-trimming perch. I also recommend Polly’s Tooty Fruity edible perch, [which] has bee pollen and calcium in it for a very healthy chew.
—Ann Zych, owner of FunTime Birdy in Montville, N.J.
“We like the java tree play stands made from coffee trees that are past the ability to maintain production levels, and they are harvested, trimmed and sold whole as play stands.”
—Kathleen Grey, owner of Parrotdise Perch in Mississauga, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada
“Gyms are easy to display even in a small store because they can be hung from the ceiling,” said Grey, who suggested that retailers promote interesting playgrounds that have multiple perching surfaces as well as treat cups and hanging foraging toys.
David Veschio, owner of Crystal Flight, a manufacturer in Flagstaff, Ariz., said retailers can check with manufacturers on reduced pricing for a display perch.
“The best way a retailer can sell perches is to incorporate them into the displays they use to show off their birds,” he said. “This allows the customer to see how the parrot uses the perch and will give them some idea how it may work in their home.”
In terms of signage, it should be clear and direct, said JoAnne Stuckey, president of Parrotopia/Sandy Perch in Grants Pass, Ore. She added that perches can be displayed in groups to make shopping easier for bird owners.
By taking advantage of the stock and display strategies that best fit their stores and clientele, retailers can turn a profit from selling perching products, and in turn, encourage the development of more items in the category for their customers to choose from.
*This bonus content is a continuation of the Avian Marketplace article “Sitting Pretty,” which appears on pages 30-31 of the February 2011 issue. Please refer back to the magazine for the full article. Click here to become a subscriber.
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