Pet shop closed ? Does your local pet shop close over the holiday period? Many small independent pet shop businesses close over Christmas and new year, just at the time when their customers need them most.
We are closed for Christmas day and most of Boxing day and most of New Years day (see my blog for exceptions). I work seven days a week and these are my only three days off a year. However I make sure that we are available through our online pet shop during these periods and that we are open on every other day of the holidays.
A lot of small pet shop owners complain about the challenges facing their business in the modern world then refuse to take the steps necessary to protect their pet shop from those challenges. They complain about big chains being open longer but won’t open seven days a week or on bank holidays or over the Christmas period. They complain about online pet supermarkets; faceless, uncaring giants that do not know anything about their products (all valid commentary) but then fail to invest in an online pet shop presence to compete with them(and in fact compete very well as they would be able to offer the help, advice, additional services and customer service the big pet shop companies and warehouses cannot).
Well we are a different sort of independant pet shop. We open when we are needed, we have an excellent online pet shop, we have an active Facebook page to interact with customers that can’t make it into the shop and we deliver free to our local community, offer nail clipping for small animals for only £1 with a free health check, free water testing (by someone who lectured on water quality on a diploma course not some little Saturday person who doesn’t know one piece of very soft anatomy from a bonier bit), offer micro chipping and lots of free advice. We support our local community with school talks and community events, charity prizes and free advertising of charity events.
Over the past few years (we have been open over 4 years now and we opened in the very depths of the recession too) we have seen independent pet shops close all over the country in the face of growing competition from pet superstores etc. (you know the ones) that should not be able to hold a candle to the small independent pet shop (and in reality everyone knows they can’t), and online warehouses. In all case, including that of friends of ours, none of them have taken up the challenge and put things in place to protect their business.
How many had an active Facebook page (so often, when I’ve talked to business owners they said things like “I don’t see the point” or have bothered to find out how to use it properly)? How many had an online pet shop or anything more than just a one page site with the business name and address on it. I was going to say better than nothing but not really. If it is not an actively updated page it may as well not exist, it won’t come up in any searches (unless someone was searching for that specific business name). How many still didn’t open on Sundays and bank holidays? How many closed at 5pm so anyone on their way home from work couldn’t just pop in and get their supplies? How many didn’t do free deliveries from their pet shop to their local community and so missed out on all those customers that just couldn’t make it in when the shop was open or found the shop just that little too far to travel?
Again our pet shop is different. That is why, to use terms you hear on the business slot on breakfast TV every day, our total sales and market share have continued to grow ever since we opened and with the launch of our online store, backed up with the knowledge of our staff on the products we sell, continues to grow almost daily.
So thank you to our regular pet shop customers who remain incredibly loyal, welcome to our new customers, online, on Facebook, on the telephone or on foot and we look forward to seeing you all in the new year if we don’t see you in our open pet shop between now and then. We have ordered in extra stock of all the best selling products to cope with the normal rush from customers who usually go elsewhere but can’t because they are closed or have run out.
Have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year everyone.
The Angell Pets Team