Pet Product News - May 2012-Comp : Page 1
Travel Pets on the Move Cats page 30 Dogs page 36 Avian page 60 Pet Product N ews ® MAY 2012 $5.OO PetProductNews.com PET P R O D UCT THE LEADER IN PET SUPPLIES MARKETING FOR 66 YEARS NEW S INTERN Selling COURTESY OF TOMLINSON’S FEED & PETS Discover ways to maximize selling space by using imaginative merchandising techniques to display large-sized pet supplies. with the challenge of how to display these bulky products to best advantage—without giving up too much square footage to do so. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies retail-ers can employ to use every nook and cranny of available selling space, including stacking units, erecting platforms, playing product DVDs, using Selling Big , page 22 W Mobile Pet Grooming Is Booming Business owners find benefits, profits and challenges in the mix when switching to or adding services on the go. By Kathleen M. Mangan Mobile pet grooming is growing and gaining market share, according to some industry par-ticipants. The recession and continued eco-nomic malaise, as well as chain pet stores’ expansion into the grooming services space, hasn’t affected mobile grooming’s growth, either, sources with knowledge of the industry maintained. Some mobile groomers reported being completely booked six months from the day they launched their business, and many in the industry are reporting similar success. Some see growth across the board, and feel that mobile grooming is taking market share from traditional brick-and-mortar providers. Ed Flanders, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Fritzy’s Pet Care Mobile Grooming Services, with a large fleet of mobile units, says his com-pany is seeing 30 percent annual growth. He added that business was up 42 percent in Feb-ruary, with 81 percent of bookings from repeat customers. He sees this growth as part of a national trend as mobile grooming takes a big-ger share of the grooming market. Rapid growth appears to be the norm for Van interiors differ, but the general Mobile Grooming , page 54 focus is on efficiency and economy. By Cheryl Reeves hen stocking everything from dog kennels and cat scratching posts to rabbit hutches, bird cages and aquariums, retailers are faced Pet Supermarket Continues Its Southeastern Expansion Pet Supermarket of Sunrise, Fla., recently launched its 127th retail store with the opening of a third location in Orlando, Fla. “The new store came together quickly, and we’re proud to have another store in the Orlando mar-ket,” said Nina Love, Pet Supermarket’s director of stores. “We’re always looking for good sites in Flori-da, but we’re also currently looking for sites in Geor-gia and the Carolinas.” The store is Pet Supermarket’s 10th new loca-tion in the past year. The retail chain plans to open Pet Supermarket , page 5 Digital Edition Extra Get creative grooming tricks of the trade from the pros. Aquatic Marketplace • Filtration Technology, page 44 • 2012 Aquatic Debates Start, page 47 • Singapore Leads in Exports, page 48 COURTESY OF ZOOMIN GROOMIN TIO INTERNATIONAL NAL A
Product Merchandiser Focus: Large Items Selling Big
When stocking everything from dog kennels and cat scratching posts to rabbit hutches, bird cages and aquariums, retailers are faced with the challenge of how to display these bulky products to best advantage—without giving up too much square footage to do so.
Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies retailers can employ to use every nook and cranny of available selling space, including stacking units, erecting platforms, playing product DVDs, using computerized kiosks, featuring informational signage, and utilizing outdoor space.
Giving Big Products a Presence
Not every retailer has the space to display large items, so many keep them in the box, said Patty Smith, director of Midwest sales for Ware Manufacturing Inc. in Phoenix.
“But customers like to see a product set up, and this helps sell it,” she said.
With only 1,000 square feet to work with, Heather Blum, coowner of Petagogy in Pittsburgh, said she gets really creative in showing off large dog beds. Her display solutions include hanging small dog beds on a wall to take advantage of vertical space, placing large dog beds on raised platforms off the floor and combining relatable products within displays.
“Customers like a lifestyle scene, so we’ll put a dog bed inside a wire crate and throw in a toy,” Blum said. “This way, we have three different products featured.”
There are a variety of reasons why displaying out of box spurs sales, noted Brad Cantwell, president of MidWest Homes for Pets in Muncie, Ind.
“Easy access to a product allows shoppers to see how it operates and functions,” Cantwell said. “This also gives the consumer an idea of size and feel for how it will fit and look in their home.”
Store windows and outside entryways offer more prime staging areas for large products.
Menagerie Pet Shop, a full-line store in Toronto, takes advantage of the good weather to sell more large items, such as aquariums, kennels, bird cages and cat furniture.
“If the sun’s out, big products are put outside to attract customers passing by and to save space inside the store,” said Kaelo Gallagher, dog and cat department manager.
Retailers should change up assembled products that are displayed outside, advised Ware’s Smith.
“Leaving product set up outside for too long makes it look ratty, old and unattractive to consumers,” she said. “Mark it down, get rid of it and put up a new display.”
Having prominent signage is also helpful to boost large item sales, Gallagher noted.
Mobile Pet Grooming Is Booming
Kathleen M. Mangan
Business owners find benefits, profits and challenges in the mix when switching to or adding services on the go.
Mobile pet grooming is growing and gaining market share, according to some industry participants. The recession and continued economic malaise, as well as chain pet stores’ expansion into the grooming services space, hasn’t affected mobile grooming’s growth, either, sources with knowledge of the industry maintained. Some mobile groomers reported being completely booked six months from the day they launched their business, and many in the industry are reporting similar success.
Some see growth across the board, and feel that mobile grooming is taking market share from traditional brick-and-mortar providers. Ed Flanders, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Fritzy’s Pet Care Mobile Grooming Services, with a large fleet of mobile units, says his company is seeing 30 percent annual growth. He added that business was up 42 percent in February, with 81 percent of bookings from repeat customers. He sees this growth as part of a national trend as mobile grooming takes a bigger share of the grooming market.
Rapid growth appears to be the norm for these providers. Another company, Pet Love Mobile Pet Solutions in Dallas, with 35 mobile units, sees double-digit gains every year. Coowner Don Stone said he saw a 26 percent increase in sales in January and 34 percent increase in February. The company is getting 15 to 20 calls from new customers daily, and he considers the business to be recession-proof, as the last two years have been “very good.” The company added four new mobile units late last year, he added.
Most mobile groomers in business a year or more reported they have so much work they can’t take on new clients. Zoya Thomas launched her Roseville, Calif.- based mobile business, Shear Luxury by Zoya, when there was a lot of economic uncertainty two years ago, but saw near-instant success.
“I had to stop taking new customers after just seven months,” she said. “It’s very steady. I’m booked solid three months in advance.”
Groomer Shaffia Galis-Menendez owns both a grooming shop and a mobile grooming vehicle, Best of Breed Pet Grooming based in Belleville, N.J. She opened the shop 18 years ago and bought the mobile unit eight years ago. She said her shop has been affected by the recession, but not the mobile business.
“I book three to six months out,” said Galis-Menendez.
Now she won’t work in her own shop.
“I can make more profits grooming a lot less dogs when I’m mobile,” she stated.
The average mobile groomer is busy from day one and completely booked within six months of startup, Galis-Mendez said. Instead of investing in outfitting a shop, it’s better to make a down payment on a vehicle that’s yours in a few years, she added. The monthly payment is less than a rent payment, and there’s less hassle with permits, signage, inspections, staffing issues, taxes and disasters like a water breakdown, she continued.
Others in the business cited the lack of a rental payment as incentive to move to a mobile grooming business model.
“The vehicle payment stops, unlike the rent payments,” said Anne Ledet, owner of Smithtown Mobile Grooming in Smithtown, N.Y. “Then you have an asset to sell.”
However, it isn’t always this clear cut, and there are other expenses with operating a mobile unit. Ledet acknowledged that many people fear rising gas prices “This affects everyone,” she said. “You can counteract the impact by more efficient scheduling, clustering appointments close to one another. Some days I groom six dogs and only travel 7 miles.”
In addition to the business advantages, Ledet is a strong believer in the personal and professional advantages for mobile groomers. When she sold her grooming salon to start a family, she found that mobile grooming allowed her to work around her kids’ schedule.
“It gives you the freedom to create the life and the schedule you want,” Ledet said, adding that mobile grooming is less stressful, quieter, enables breaks between appointments, and features less distraction so she can focus on a quality cut.
Doing a good job with the grooming is the primary way to make customers happy, create regular customers and generate referrals for new business, Fritzy’s Pet Care Mobile Grooming Services’ Flanders said. There are plenty of mobile grooming benefits to promote to potential customers, notably convenience for pet parents, since they don’t have to travel or take time to check the dog in, he stated. They appreciate that the dog gets one-on-one attention, isn’t stuck in a cage to dry, is completed quickly, and has less stress because there are no other dogs around creating chaos.
Price for Profits
The one hurdle to overcome is the higher price for mobile services, but Flanders said the key is helping customers see the value of the service. The price differential over shop grooming varies widely. Luis Ramirez, co-owner of Metro Mutts covering Orange County, Calif., adds just $10 to the fee local shop owners charge, while Galis- Menendez charges double the rates she asks for in her shop.
Various factors influence price premiums, and different groomers take many things into account in establishing their pricing framework. Shear Luxury by Zoya’s Thomas charges $20 to $30 over local salon fees, and a bit more for large dogs. Pet Love Mobile Pet Solutions’ Stone charges $25 to $30 more as well, but thinks this doorstep service is way under-priced considering that he pays top wages to retain good staff for his mobile units.
“Our target is $60 per hour to cover our expenses and make a reasonable profit,” he said.
John Stockman, national sales manager for Wag’n Tails Mobile Pet Grooming Conversions based in Granger, Ind., advises the mobile groomers buying one of his company’s vehicles to charge what the market will bear in attracting the kind of clientele they want. To maximize profits, owners should charge by the amount of time it takes to do the dog: time is money, he added.
His company’s business planning packet includes simple formulas so mobile groomers can back into a price considering factors such as competition, overhead and profit goals. He cited the nationwide average for a mobile groom at $65, according to a PetGroomer.com survey.
Discounting may be a potential pitfall for mobile groomers. Never give discounts or offer coupons, Smithtown Mobile Grooming’s Ledet said.
“The moment you put yourself on sale, people see you as a discount service provider,” she added. “If you want to add value, offer an add-on service for free like a blueberry facial or paw conditioner.” Stockman stated that customers might become unhappy if they didn’t get a discount like their neighbor.
“There’s no need to discount,” he said. “It only hurts your bottom line.”
Three Business Models
Three types of operations exist, according to industry participants: The corporate model, with an investor operating a number of mobile units for economies of scale; the franchise model, where owners buy into a brand with a turnkey business; and the owner/operator model, where groomers buy a mobile unit and develop their own business.
A potential benefit in the corporate model is access to a call center with a dedicated customer service team to schedule appointments and make reminder calls, leaving the groomer to focus on grooming. Ed Flanders, president of Irvine, Calif.- based Fritzy’s Pet Care Mobile Grooming Services, said the company provides dense coverage in its market, so it can provide a 24- to 48-hour response time to the home. He has the resources to offer a certification program for groomers, develop enterprise software, and customize their grooming vans with patent-pending equipment.
The franchise model offers business owners the support and benefits of a large company while maintaining independence. Donna Sheehey, CEO of Zoomin Groomin, launched a grooming business in 2004 and within a few years decided to run a franchise now serving Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida. Franchisees get a turnkey vehicle outfitted with bathing equipment, Sheehey said.
In addition, Zoomin Groomin franchisees can access the national call center and online booking engine, corporate partnerships for lead generation, advertising, a web-based database for tracking sales and scheduling while on the road, training support, business planning and marketing campaigns.
For owners/operators, and really all mobile groomers, it often comes down to the vehicle, with safety, quality, dependability and customer service as key factors. Business owners have several options if they seek to go this route.
Granger, Ind.-based Wag’n Tails Mobile Pet Grooming Conversions has more than 1,650 vehicles on the road, said John Stockman, national sales manager. Half the sales are the converted van model, because it’s the least expensive and has a lower down payment, so it maximizes profits, he said.
Generating business often comes down to a simple form of marketing. No matter the type of vehicle, the name, phone number and graphics on the exterior are the most critical aspect of generating business, Stockman said. He tells mobile groomers to drive their vehicles everywhere, parking strategically at dog parks or the entrance to targeted neighborhoods during commuter hours.
“75 percent of our calls are from people who have seen the van,” Pet Love Mobile Pet Solutions’ Stone said.
Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Mobile+Pet+Grooming+Is+Booming/1029941/107898/article.html.
Pet Supermarket Continues Its Southeastern Expansion
Pet Supermarket of Sunrise, Fla., recently launched its 127th retail store with the opening of a third location in Orlando, Fla.
“The new store came together quickly, and we’re proud to have another store in the Orlando market,” said Nina Love, Pet Supermarket’s director of stores. “We’re always looking for good sites in Florida, but we’re also currently looking for sites in Georgia and the Carolinas.”
The store is Pet Supermarket’s 10th new location in the past year. The retail chain plans to open 10 more stores before the end of 2012 as it looks to continue its expansion across the southeast U.S., the company stated.
Pet Supermarket’s next two stores are set to open in Key West, Fla., and North Macon, Ga., in the next few months, the company reported. While most of Pet Supermarket’s locations are in Florida, it also has stores in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, California, Nevada, Alabama and Kentucky.
The newest Orlando store scheduled for late March a grand opening featuring free dog food giveaways, free gifts and samples, dog and cat adoptions, a bird rescue group and face painting.