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Overcoming Obstacles in Doghouse Sales

Posted: June 16, 2011, 1:45 p.m., EDT

Potential issues include displaying these products in a small space and teaching customers how to get dogs to use them.

By Joan Hustace Walker

Whether marketing an indoor or outdoor doghouse, a retailer is faced with two potential problems: displaying the house in a smaller retail setting and helping owners understand how best to use the doghouse.

For display purposes, Sarah Julian, director of corporate communications for Petmate in Arlington, Texas, recommended using display space to show off a fully assembled doghouse. Dog homes that fold down and fit into a box can be stored on shelves; traditional outdoor doghouses can be stacked or nested, she added.

When Candace Canty, owner of Dog-a-holics in Chicago, assembled dog condos (a combination of a furniture-type dog home and column shelving) and put them on display at her boutique, the indoor doghouses all sold, she said. Internet sales for the same condos have not been as brisk, and Canty reported that shipping the unassembled products has been an issue. 
“The product is very heavy, and almost every time a customer has purchased this item, it has arrived with damage,” she noted.

Showing off a fully assembled doghouse in store can help increase sales of that item.
Showing off a fully assembled doghouse in store can help increase sales of that item.
At B&B Pet Stop Inc. in Mobile, Ala., general manager Sally Adams Trufant has had no real issues in displaying the two types of traditional, outdoor doghouses that she sells (wooden houses with shingled roofs and plastic igloo-shape homes). Trufant finds the biggest problem in selling outdoor doghouses to people does not involve display space, or concerns of the quality of the doghouses’ craftsmanship, insulation or looks, she noted. Rather, sales depend on solving the more practical concern of “My dog won’t go into the doghouse.”

To sell doghouses, Trufant noted, dogs have to use them. 

“We instruct owners to place the doghouse so that when the dog is inside, he can still see the gate or the back door or whatever spot you will first appear,” she said. “If the doghouse faces the back fence, the dog will never get inside. He needs to still be able to watch over his domain from inside the doghouse.”

And with the issue of using the doghouse solved, sales often ensue.

*This bonus content is a continuation of the Sizzling Stock article “Shelter-seeking Owners Drive Sales,” which appears on page 46 of the July 2011 issue. o read the article, readers must be a subscriber. To subscribe, click here.


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