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pet store

fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
edited August 2007 in Selecting a Business
does anyone have any advise on starting a pet store?
my focus will be fish (fresh and salt water) but i want to have the dog and cat part of it to. Also looking at opening it in a local mall or should i start online?
thank for your help 


  • olegoleg subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
    I hope that by the "dog and cat" part of it, you mean "dog and cat food/supplies", not "live dogs and cats"...
  • fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
     yes just the supplies but i was planning on working with a local shelter to have them come out on the weekends.
  • fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
    well the petcos and the petsmarts don`t offer saltwaterfish or a very large selection of saltwater supplies. and they dont offer the best customer service. i look at it like this you have the super stores that are so large you cant find anyone to help you and the small shops are always to small to even move around in. my store will be not to large but not to small. to help get more traffic in i will have a large ground level tank that will have sharks,rays and other saltwater fish that i will have daily feeding events . i want to make my store interactive and a learning experiance
  • fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for all your help, i think i am going to go with the online first and than move to a retail store.  Now for the online store do i have to store all the products at my home?  or do i have to sign up with an dropshipper if so how do i do that? or whats the best way do it?
  • ToddFToddF subscriber Posts: 3
    Well I`ve found that a lot of companies want you to sign up as a vendor, meaning you must buy x amount of products to start. This model can get very expensive when your talking about a pet store because of the amount of products.
    My personal suggestion is to offer sound advice on which product would be right for the consumer, kinda like a review, then offer the product. I say this because I`ve seen postive results from this. A site called Helmetharbor sells motorcycle helmets and gear. Now they only sold things that they`ve personally tested and sure they could have sold X brand but decided against it because of safety reasons in testing. Quite simply its proof that the product you offer is the best. Now this doesnt mean they`ll only buy from you but they will come back for advice and a possible sale later on.
    Most people looking for pet stuff are VERY tight budget minded when spending money, so that`s going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome becasue that will directly cut into your revenue. 
    I suggest finding a niche market and run with it. Find something PetCo simply can`t do and captialize on it!
    I believe another member on this board sells custom dog shirts, maybe you can team up with them and cross promote products.ToddF2007-7-31 11:48:45
  • fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
    wow i never thought about going in this direction! i like it thanks guys.
    how would i get them to advertise on my web site?
  • iouone2iouone2 subscriber Posts: 14
    There are hundreds of these "online stores" out there selling the exact same items you will likely be selling. You must identify your differentiator. Then you must understand that you will be competing with the big guys like PetCo whether you like it or not. That`s why your differentiator must be able to generate business.Here`s what I suggest. This came to my head a few days ago while buying a computer monitor for the office (it`s so nice to be on a 22" instead of a 12".)... Anyway...When buying this computer monitor the sales man said, "If you like that model, I`ll give you a little inside information. This model (Pointing at a very similar style, a few models down), is made by the same manufacturing line, and is essentially the same guts as the model you want. But in this situation the brand name is less recognized, so it will save you about $200."So how does this relate to the pet store? I am sure there are third party solutions to common problems. For example, I have algae in my tank and I plan to buy the TOPS brand because they are tops in correcting my problem. My lack of knowledge just tells me to rely on the industry best. You may know of another product of a lesser known brand that beats, compare to, or is only slightly less effective. The savings to me, may be a couple dollars.Also, as your store grows and you open a real facility, you can add the differentiator of public involvement. You could take a product and test it against another product. To inspire people to be involved, you could make a raffle, drawing, or some other game, resulting in a winner of the correct answer to the "stunt." Maybe the prize is a few gold fish or on big events as 10 gal tank set up. The walk through traffic might make the prize cost back. It all depends on your presentation and entertainment level. Maybe go to work that day in a clown suite?Anyway, back to the online part... It will be very difficult to beat the others on price. Beat them by creating a resource online which people will access for information, only to learn you have the products available at a reasonable price compared to all the other suppliers out there.No matter what. When starting an online business, the marketing and all that is more important than with a brick and mortar. With a brick and mortar, people driving by can see the business sign. Online, no one drives by unless you find a way to make a connection. So make one... Every day. Not just by way of the Internet. Talk to people. Tell them about why they will come to you instead of PetCo. It`s not because of your face. It`s because you offer something better. You save them money by not buying name brands. You inform them with your test and recommendations.
  • iouone2iouone2 subscriber Posts: 14

    ... great way to put it Craig. Now you know why I don`t generally do my own writing. I use a thousand words to convey a 10 word thought.  Thanks Craig. 
  • fishmanfishman subscriber Posts: 1
    this is great advise i cant wait to get started!!!
    thanks again and keep you all posted on how it goes
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