Maximizing Pet Store Loyalty Programs

Pet Store Loyalty Programs

The Key to Competing with Big Box Stores

The big dogs of the pet store industry like PetSmart, Chewy, and Amazon are gobbling up market share. But it is possible to compete with them. Small chain pet stores are gaining ground against the major players by employing creative pet store loyalty programs that keep their customers coming back for more. 

The giants dominate the market with their vast resources and extensive reach, but smaller pet stores have something they do not: a personal touch. Customers can know they are valued when they return to their favorite pet store and get personalized service that makes them feel welcome.

Why Loyalty Matters

Loyalty is more than just a program. It can and should be a cornerstone of sustainable success for any business. 68% of consumers said they’d join a customer loyalty program for brands they like. Ultimately, pet store loyalty programs are about making your customers feel valued. The program you use is simply a tool to help you achieve that objective. 

With a good pet store loyalty program, customers aren’t just purchasing products, they are growing their relationship with your business. While their motivation for making a purchase is the well-being and happiness of their furry friends, every item they buy tells you a little bit more about who they are and what they want.

Offering an omnicommerce experience brings another level of satisfaction to your loyalty program. Being able to buy and redeem both online and in-store creates a smooth transaction that benefits the customer no matter how they choose to shop with you. Building a deeper bond. 

By nurturing loyalty, smaller pet stores can tap into this emotional bond and elevate their brand from being merely a retailer to a trusted partner in pet care. And they can do this in a personal way that the big box stores can’t compete with.

Understanding the Competition

This isn’t because big box stores don’t have loyalty programs. They have programs and they have set the level of customer expectation pretty high when it comes to pet store loyalty program offerings.

These retail giants have mastered the art of keeping customers coming back. Program features like personalized recommendations to seamless shopping experiences and rewards systems are working for them. Their websites and apps make it easy for customers to log in and see their shipping history and get what they ordered previously.

The challenge for smaller pet stores lies in matching and surpassing these offerings. The opportunity for these smaller businesses comes when you can tailor your offerings so they resonate with your unique customer base. In other words, you can appeal to your niche better than the mass market stores.

Building a Winning Pet Store Loyalty Program

The key to a successful loyalty program lies in its ability to deliver value, convenience, and personalized experiences to customers. Service with a smile and genuinely caring for your customers is a must. But technology can help you take it to the next level.

Personalized rewards can be a great motivator for your customers. 37% of loyalty program owners say they use some form of personalized rewards or offers. By utilizing personal data such as individual preferences, purchase history, and pet profiles you can offer rewards to your customers that you know with a fairly high degree of certainty will bring them back. These can be especially helpful in turning a new customer into a loyal customer by giving someone shopping at your store for the first time a good reason to return.

Your customers do not distinguish between your online presence and your brick-and-mortar store. They rightly see it as one business. So they expect what they buy online to count for their in-store credit and vice versa. The experience for your customers should be seamless, not requiring any effort for them. Make sure the loyalty program you choose does this for you, or you could be dealing with headaches from annoyed customers later.

Convenience is king. That’s true when signing up customers for your pet store loyalty program. You don’t want that to be a long drawn-out process. But your customers also don’t want to jump through hoops to redeem their loyalty rewards. Make it easy by offering multiple ways to earn and redeem rewards. Whether you choose to give out points, discounts, or freebies, simplicity is paramount. Don’t make your customers do high-level calculus to figure out what they need to do to get a reward. Instead, make them feel like they are winning fairly often. The main goal is to get your customers to engage with your business.

Everyone likes to feel heard and valued. Actively seek feedback from customers to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. But if you solicit input from your customers, make sure you listen to them and take their advice where appropriate. Your customer’s input can be invaluable if you use it to continuously refine and improve your pet store loyalty program.

Customer Loyalty is the Key to Competing with Big Box Stores

You can offer your customers something the big box stores can’t: a unique and memorable experience. Your niche, personality, and experience are all pieces of a winning puzzle. Great pet store loyalty programs will tie together all of the other pieces and allow you to systematize and standardize how your customers experience your store. This way every time they visit you, whether in person or online, they will have an excellent time.

Don’t let the big dogs steal your customers. You may have a smaller pet store, but you can level the playing field and carve out your niche. 

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