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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gathering Attention

By Patrick Donston


I often chat with customers who come to us for the first time. The one comment I hear most is, "Your tanks are so clean; there's no fungus like I've seen in other stores." After a sincere thanks, I'll go on to tell them a little more about us, always ending with, "have fun and enjoy your visit."

What about this so called fungus? I hope you all know they are referring to algae in the aquariums. It's very clear to see (pun intended) that algae is a turn-off, especially when it's on the front glass. So-called fungus (yuk) or algae are NOT the best way to gain a new customer or make someone want to buy.

Your aquariums should be creatively decorated and should instill admiration and energize imagination, as well as educate and fascinate your customers. Presentation is key. The first impression is vital, and it's important to follow a few 'no-brainer' concepts:

  1. Pull dead fish out of the aquariums before you open for business.
  2. Clean the algae off the front glass of ALL aquariums (at least once or twice per week).
  3. Use crisp, clean lights over all fresh and saltwater displays.
  4. Decorate the aquarium appropriately. You're not a wholesaler. Bare bottom or only gravel-based aquariums don't sell livestock at a retail level anymore, because this type of display doesn't evoke admiration or imagination.

I know I've said these are no brainers, but too many shops don't do them, even though they are quite simple steps. How about creatively decorating the aquariums? Give your customers ideas, get them excited and motivate them to express themselves artistically.

Trust me--they'll buy!

A really cool concept we do in our freshwater section is to "theme" aquariums. We'll do natural-planted settings with driftwood. We also have numerous displays with themed ornaments. We have an Antarctic tank--it has blue ice rocks, white gravel and is filled with penguins. We have a Sahara tank with pyramids, a sphinx and light brown gravel. We even have a tacky tank with neon plants and an actinic blue light over it. We probably have more than 50 aquariums with different themes. You get the point; it's fun, exciting and really gets the customers thinking, wanting, and buying new stuff.

Be aware, however, that decorations, as with glass, will grow algae. Clean the decorations regularly or at least when needed. Change your carbon approximately once per month, as this will keep the water crystal clear and remove pollutants that help algae grow.

Think about a wall of aquariums lit up brightly with colorful décor--each tank telling a different story. Wouldn't that catch your attention?

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