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It’s likely that customers are reading online reviews of your store while they are browsing your aisles. Using reviews by displaying them in-store can be a powerful tool.

This story originally appeared in the SuperZoo Show Daily, which is created by Pet Product News


In 2021, most aspects of retail shopping have a digital component. Consumers research products they hear about online—often from the palm of their hand using their phones as a search tool— and seek out online reviews about how these products work. They also gather information about where they can buy these products, including shopping for them at your pet store.

How you satisfy your customers’ desire for information and convenience to merge the physical element of selling these products to your customers along with the digital search and sales desires of your customer will prove to be the way you become more successful in 2021 and beyond. It’s time to get “phygital” at your pet store!

What is phygital retail?

It’s the blurring of lines between physical retail and digital retail sales. What it really boils down to is taking the best elements of each and using them to enhance the performance of your pet business while delivering a better customer experience to your shoppers. Let’s make sure that your pet business is ready to teach customers how to shop at your store by using these phygital techniques. Here are some ideas to try.

Grow your curbside sales: click and collect.

This strategy provides the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of buying in-store rather than waiting days for shipping. The key for your pet business is to make it a fast, efficient process and teach your team how to make it seamless for every customer. The goal is for your customer to order online, pull up to a reserved parking spot, and be in and out of your store in two minutes or less. That is a five-star customer experience for a phygital customer.

Offer online retail and home delivery.

Take click and collect one step further. Deliver the goods right to your customer’s door.

This is the ultimate phygital experience because your customer has an option to have a completely digital experience with your store—when they want to.

Create a process where your customers can buy online and click a button and have the goods delivered to their home within a specified time. The idea of managing your digital experience and satisfying your customers’ need to stay on their couch showcases your customer service even more.

Bring your online reviews into your pet store.

Do you think your customers are not looking at reviews on their phones as they browse your pet store? Think again.

User reviews are a powerful tool in your pet business’ sales cycle. Turn this process into a seamless integration by showcasing actual customer reviews on your store shelves. Print out copies of Google reviews and/or Facebook reviews around key products in the store so that your customers understand that other people besides you love this product as well.

Use Instagram for marketing and sales.

The statistics tell the story. Sixty percent of Instagram users already use the platform to find and buy products. That’s good news for your pet business. You don’t have to teach customers how to use the tools. You just need to deliver an experience that they’re used to from other brands.

The best ways to make your Instagram page a place where people want to browse and shop include:

  • Using hashtags for improved product visibility
  • Highlighting product details in posts and stories
  • Adding strategic product linksCreating selling posts so customers can buy directly from your page

The in-store experience is being reimagined as you read this. The integration of your physical space with digital marketing efforts can help lead your pet business down this successful customer integration path. Yes, shoppers are going online, but your pet business customers still love your brick-and-mortar experience. Turning your pet store phygital will give them the best of both. Let’s do this.


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Lynn Switanowski knows how to help pet retailers. In fact, she is the @petretailhelper (on social media and on the web, petretailhelper.com). For more than 30 years, Switanowski has been sharing tips, tactics and tools to help pet businesses prosper in an ever-changing pet environment. Creating modern business and marketing approaches, Switanowski and the PRH team implement programs that improve the efficiency and engagement tactics of pet businesses around the world. Contact her at lynn@petretailhelper.com.