We’re a nation of pet lovers: According to a 2005-2006 study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet. Here’s how to take care of them (and their owners):
1. On the menu
If you allow dogs in your store or restaurant, why not take it a step further by putting something for them on the menu? Chef Eric May of Charcuterie — located in Sierra Madre, CA — created a special menu for the town’s second largest species of inhabitants: Dogs. In addition to the restaurant’s traditional lineup of sandwiches and pasta, they also offer special dishes and portion sizes for any pets that may be looking for a meal.
The Lesson: If you’re opening your doors to pets, why not offer them a few special dishes or products?
2. On loyalty
If you’d like pets (and their owners) to keep coming back, try extending your loyalty programs to your four-legged customers. Red Lion Hotels recently launched a special loyalty program that awards pets 500 points for each stay that can be redeemed for pets-only gifts. And while their rewards program is fairly high-tech and involves a point system, yours could be as simple as a punch card or a series of coupons that frequent visitors and their pets can use toward future visits.
The Lesson: Keep pet lovers coming back with special incentives and rewards for regular visits.
Learn More: Red Lion Hotels
3. On the outside
For some businesses, allowing pets on the premises is understandably not an option or isn’t applicable — but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer something special with pet owners in mind. Chicago’s Shirts On Sheffield, a designer clothing retailer, leaves a couple bowls of water and dog biscuits outside the store. Even though pet owners can’t bring animals inside, locals often make an effort to swing by the store during their walks. If a storefront isn’t applicable, other options include sending treats with mail orders (because even if they don’t own a pet, they’ll know someone who does), or equipping your service reps with a few pet toys for house calls.
The Lesson: Don’t let a “no pets” policy get in the way of doing something remarkable for the roughly two-thirds of your customers who own animals.
If you’re a pet lover that likes to travel with your animal, try TripsWithPets.com com to find pet-friendly lodging throughout the country. The site also offers insight into airline pet policies, as well as some tips on traveling with your animal.
Check it out: TripsWithPets.com
Considering there are over 40 million dog owners those are some great tips for business owners to keep in mind. Especially in today’s economy where being innovative can make the difference between closing shop or keeping your doors open.