Pet owners love to buy, and specialty pet stores are one of the fastest growing segments in retail. Even when people will not spend money on indulgences for themselves, they will spend on all of their pets, including their pet birds! One of the ways you can set your exotic pet bird department or store apart from the big box retailers is through creative visual merchandising.
The key to visual merchandising is engaging your customers by placing and displaying your products so that people really want to buy them. It is not just a matter of logistics in your store, but a matter of marketing to customers and giving them what they want. Of course, customers need to be able to get around the store easily and your pet bird supplies should be easy to find, but more importantly, the shopping experience in your store should be interesting and fun.
Do not make the assumption that pet bird owners know what they need or want. An effective merchandising technique is to cross-merchandise. This is simply grouping products that complement each other together so that customers feel they need all of the products. You may introduce them to ideas and products they did not know they wanted! Maybe you add treat holders and trips to your display of feeding bowls. Or set up a display cage that contains all of the bells and whistles you'd want in the ideal bird environment – varied perches, toys, cage bird feeders, and a snuggly. This can also help educate pet bird owners who might not know how to set up the perfect cage with all of the latest bird cage accessories.
You can be more direct with your efforts at education, as well. A black or white board with changing messages can help direct customers to products they may need. Give some tips on exotic pet bird care, why violating your bird's toys is important, how to prepare cooked bird foods, or other customers' reviews of their favorite products – and of course, have those products placed handily nearby. Remember that customers really value a personal touch that helps them learn more about their pets, and it sets your business apart from the larger stores where they are left to fend for themselves.
Using spotlights on products you want to highlight is another way to allow new or special promotion merchandise to shine. You can also use household or vintage items for fixtures that will give your space a personal and creative touch. Baker's racks, ladders, indoor trees, or decorative vintage bird cages could have been used to display your merchandise. If you sell pet birds, have a comfortable bird safe area set up for customers to interact with their prospective new companion.
As you think of new ideas for visual merchandising, it's important to keep a few basics in mind. Do not overdo it – always keep a clear path for circulating through the store or department. Always let your products be the star of any display by not overwhelming them with graphics and other visuals. Change your displays on a regular basis, especially your storefront and entry areas. This will keep your in-store marketing strategy exciting and fun for new and repeat customers.