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2:46 PM   September 02, 2014
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It’s a Mod World

Modular tank displays can improve a store’s appearance and sales.
By Petra Spiess


Courtesey of Petra Spiess

Pet store retailers who don’t need to watch their pennies are few and far between. Profit margins for the retail pet business can be thin, so owners are reluctant to make large capital investments in equipment. One investment store owners may not be able to resist, however, is modular display tank systems. 

Keeping Up Appearances
In retail, appearance is extremely important.

“You can know everything you want about reptiles, but if it’s a real dive-looking place, some people who don’t know that you know that much are going to be turned off,” says Bruce Delles, owner of Twin Cities Reptiles in St. Paul, Minn.

Attractive modular display systems in a store instantly create the look of professionalism and engender trust. 

“You have an immediate chance to capture the interest of the customers coming through the door,” says Nancy Reed, director of marketing for Companion Habitats in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It reflects on your business to have a professional presentation of all your critters in the type of environment that best suits them to show them off and to show off their attributes. You can’t underestimate the ‘wow’ factor.” 

Modular display systems that are professional in appearance can translate to higher sales, says Bill Kieber, owner of Abba Pets in Saint Joseph, Mo.

“We started off with a store that just had 10-gallon aquariums and reptiles that never moved,” he says. “We spent quite a bit of money and set up two of those units for reptiles. People didn’t realize reptiles moved so much. I sold a lot of reptiles because of that.”

Delles had a similar experience.

“It cost me quite a bit of money,” he says. “Even though we’re known for what we carry, it definitely accented our sales.” 
Saving space is another benefit of modular units.

“You have the ability to get a lot more animals in a smaller space,” says Kirk Browning, sales manager for D.A.S. Pet Store Fixtures in Waxahachie, Texas.

More efficient use of space means more animals for sale, which means greater sales for the space—a particular boon to retailers where floor area is often at a premium. Modular units can be custom made to fit a specific space and configured in many different ways, allowing for great flexibility. Because many modular units come with a large selection of different heating, lighting and misting options, retailers can create display units for reptiles from vastly different habitats right next to each other.   

Considerations

Modular Benefits

  • Professional look
  • Space saver
  • Easy-to-install security locks
  • Different habitat types next to each other
  • Can be easy to clean
Retailers considering installing modular display units in their stores can keep several things in mind. First is the source. Those that are skilled can build their own units, but they should look at their talent objectively. Do-it-yourself wishful thinking just to save money may not be wise.

“They’ve got to consider the time it would take to do such projects, to build them themselves, to plan them—and they have to worry about the end results, how does it look?” Browning says. “Over the years [some] people realized it costs them just as much plus the time to build and plan.”

If buying units, retailers should consider return time on investment, quality of the units and the service reputations of the companies from which they are purchasing.

“They’re [retailers] going to be spending capital money, and you certainly want your purchase to be supported by the company that sells them–that you can get parts,” Reed says. “You want to make sure it’s a quality unit you’re investing in, that it’s not going to break down.”

Return time will vary, but for Kieber it’s been quick.
 
“[Modular units] are quite a bit of an expense, but I’ve recouped that within the first year in increased sales,” he says. “This is our ninth year, and the units are still going strong.”

Looking at security before buying can be another concern. At Twin Cities Reptiles, each unit has its own individual look. Delles uses three different types and requires that his employees always have the keys.

Retailers can look at ease of cleaning when purchasing units. Delles has found that the configuration of the units can make cleaning easier or more difficult depending on the design.

Reed agrees that ease of cleaning is an important factor.

“You want to make sure everybody’s able to clean them easily so that it won’t be such a chore, so they’ll always look good,” she says. “What’s the use of spending all that money on the nice unit if you don’t keep it up?” <HOME>


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