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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

September 27, 2012

A Little Holiday Preparation Goes a Long Way: Part 1

By Julie Jacobs

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Now is the time to gear up for the upcoming busy retail months that can make or break your year. You can start by reviewing your business plans to make sure they are up to speed. How are your inventory levels? Do you have enough holiday-oriented items in stock or on order? These items should include gifts for pets and their two-legged owners, such as dog cookies and snacks for the former, and home décor items for the latter. Doing simple things such as revamping your website for the holiday season and/or creating unique displays for your physical stores should also be on tap. And don’t’ forget to do some advertising and marketing strategies pre-planning.

Planning some events during this great selling period to strengthen your business even more is also a good idea. There is so much to think about, that it’s best to start now. Before you know it the holiday season will be here and, by then you’ll be focusing on mostly selling. Good preparation and fine tuning now will hopefully result in a very successful and prosperous selling season; and that’s a great way to end the year.

Holiday pet products
There is so much to cover, that I’m splitting this up into two blogs.

As mentioned, it’s time to boost those inventory levels. Holiday-oriented items encompass so many things. First up: clothing, such as tees, dresses (casual and elegant), holiday sweaters and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus outfits. My most popular Santa/Mrs. Claus sellers are combination sets where there is a Santa suit or dress, a hat and a matching lead. The combos make the items easier to promote, which leads to a bigger volume sale. Fun red and green T-shirts with cute holiday sayings are always great sellers, too. Santa hats, Rudolph costumes and antlers, and elf hats and outfits  are all also good sellers. And for those customers not looking to spend much, consider offering some cute bandannas—for just a little out of pocket spending they’ll get a whole lot of holiday spirit.

Gift items are critical, be they for pets or humans. Dog treats, cookie gift boxes, toys-toys-toys, bling, etc., are all great sellers. And there’s such an array of gift items for their owners. Everything from kitchen items (cookie jars, coffee mugs, drink glasses, wine glasses, coasters, cutting boards, kitchen towels, salt and pepper shakers, dining service ware, etc.,) to home décor (figurines, picture frames, artwork, banks, jewelry, clothing, pillows…), the list goes on and on and on. Be unique in what you offer versus the same old stuff that everyone else offers to ensure more volume.

Speaking of home décor, many customers will also change out their pets items to match the holiday season. As such, it’s a great time to offer holiday-themed pet beds, placemats, dog bowls, etc., and, of course, Christmas stockings and ornaments. These can be breed-specific, general animal items or a combination of both. Again, uniqueness is paramount. You could partner with a local artist to offer special pieces. You don’t want to offer the same items that other local or big-box stores are selling.

In my next blog, we’ll talk about display and marketing. As always, feel free to contact me at Julie@dogandfriends.com with any questions or ideas to present to our fellow retailers.


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