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Get Creative with Gift Packs

At CityDog Market, co-owner Renee Palmer creates treat tins and gift baskets in themes to suit her customer base.

“We found Christmas-plaid bone-shaped tins at Target and made treat containers filled with dog cookies,” she said. “I would get seven at a time from the bank, and people were buying them as fast as I could bring them out.”

Themed baskets sell equally well in her store.

“We used inexpensive dog bowls in red and green as ‘baskets,’” Palmer continued. “For men, I added a football plush toy, a plastic toy that looks like a bottle of beer and some peanut pretzel treats, all wrapped in cellophane and tied with raffia so it looks masculine. They sold out in no time.”

Palmer also made a feminine version in pink and purple, including dog spa products in wine-bottle-style containers. Expanding the holiday themes yielded good results, as well.

“I did a Hanukah basket with a blue bowl, snowflake and Hanukah toys, and kosher treats, and those sold out really fast, too,” she said.

“I don’t think most retailers are taking full advantage of how they could be distinguishing themselves during the holiday season,” said Susan Weiss, owner of Ark Naturals Products for Pets in Naples, Fla. “Supermarkets, Costco, Sam’s Club: They all do these custom baskets, so why aren’t more pet stores doing it? It’s a great opportunity because, when someone is going to a holiday party and needs a quick gift for someone with a dog, these are ready to go. They can make your store a holiday destination.”

For some stores, pre-made baskets don’t sell as well, but customers appreciate custom-made gift packs, said Mary Lee Wither, owner of PC’s Pantry for Dogs & Cats in Boulder, Colo.

“We don’t want to include things people don’t want, but when they pick out the contents, they appreciate the extra service they get with a customized gift,” she said.

Some manufacturers make gift packs for retailers, including gift-boxed sets of entire product-line samples, so pet owners can try products before buying in quantity.

“If you have the space, display gift boxes in stacks but open one so customers can see what the gift recipient will see when opening the package,” said Peter O’Kuhn, co-founder of Lani - dig your dog in New York City.

Retailers may also want to offer several products at a key price point, or with “buy one, get one free offers.” This will move more units and allows the consumer to get several gifts with one purchase, said Dave Bogner, owner and co-founder of Vernon, Ct.-based Bravo Raw Diet.

“Use signage to point out good gift ideas and brief sales staff on manufacturer specials,” he suggested. <HOME>

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Get Creative with Gift Packs

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Reader Comments
I appreciate the marketing tip. Great idea and we will do this in the next few months. Anxious to see the reaction.
Lynda C. LaPlante, Venice, FL
Posted: 9/24/2009 12:26:38 AM
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