Pets provide companionship, comfort, and numerous other benefits, so it makes sense that their owners want to provide them with the best care possible. As an online pet store owner, you have the opportunity to help them do so, but running your own business can be complicated. Fortunately, there are several elements that will help your business flourish. The following are seven things that every online pet shop needs for success.
Table of Contents
1. The Right Paperwork
The paperwork you need to complete depends on the specifics of your business. If you are breeding animals, you will need a license to do so. Regardless of whether you sell live animals, you will need a sales tax permit to make sales of any kind in most states. Check with your local and state government to determine if you need to complete any other paperwork. The paperwork can be complex, so you may wish to hire a lawyer or other specialist to help you with it.
2. A Niche
The world of online pet stores is competitive, so it’s best to cater to a specific market. Finding your niche can help you stand out and succeed. What are you passionate about? Do market research to determine if there is enough demand to build a business around that passion. You may have to narrow or broaden your scope based on what your research reveals. After you have chosen a niche, do plenty of additional research to make sure you are well-versed in the area. If your customers reach out to you with a question, you want to instill confidence in them by providing them with accurate information.
3. Point-of-Sale Software
Investing in a pet store POS platform will help your business run more smoothly. A POS system designed specifically for pet shops will have pet-store specific products built-in, so you don’t have to manually add them. A good POS system will not only track sales, but also update inventory and provide you with accurate information about what is selling well so that you know what to keep in stock. A fully integrated customer loyalty program helps you compete with bigger retailers and maintain your customer base.
4. A Budget
The overwhelming majority of small business failures are caused by cash flow problems. A realistic budget is necessary for success. Start by making a detailed list of recurring and fixed expenses. If you have historical sales, use those to create a sales forecast. If you are a new business, look at similar companies’ sales reports to get an idea of what you can expect. It’s a good idea to be fairly conservative when projecting sales. Compare your projected income and expenses to see if you need to cut back on expenses, ramp up sales, or hold steady.
5. Reliable Delivery
As an online business, one of your major concerns will be getting items (or in some cases, live animals) to your customers. A reliable delivery method is key. Look at reviews and carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract with a delivery service before signing. If you deal with live animals, be sure to research the relevant laws and devise strategies to keep the animals safe, healthy, and calm.
6. A User-Friendly Website
Your website is likely to be the aspect of your business that customers interact with most. As such, it should be easy to use. Make sure it’s functional for shoppers on mobile devices as well as traditional computers. The available items should be organized and easily searchable. Make sure product images are clear and that descriptions are accurate. Put your contact information in an easily visible place so that customers can reach out to you if they need assistance.
7. A Marketing Strategy
No matter how great your service and products are, your business can’t succeed if potential patrons don’t know about it. Determine the best way to spread the word. As an online business, social media is likely to play a large role in your marketing strategy. Conduct market research to determine which platforms are most popular with your target audience. Decide what type of content you will post and how often.
Entrepreneurship is complicated, and online pet stores have unique needs. Fortunately, with thorough planning and the right tools, you can increase your chances of success in this competitive market.