Recruitment specialist Lynda Ward, owner of Pet Trade Solutions, says that a fresh approach for supporting traditional retailers is needed...
Lynda, who utilises her 30 years’ experience in the trade for dedicated recruitment and marketing solutions, says: “Feedback from ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers is that the trade organisations do a great job but manufacturers need to do more to help them to survive in the ever-increasing battle for custom with purely online suppliers.
"The general feeling emanating from many retailers is that they are too often used as an information hub by consumers who then turn tail and buy the goods online.
"The more pro-active retailers – especially those whose space allows – are fighting the fight in a number of ways to make the whole ‘pet shop experience’ more attractive than simply clicking a button, but feel that the owners of the brands they carry could and should help.”
Lynda goes on: “My own view is that over recent years manufacturers have been having a particularly tough time and cannot be blamed for expanding (or even just holding sales level) by exploring all distribution avenues, and each avenue definitely does have its place, however some companies could be more vigilant in keeping a fair and level playing field - particularly on price.
"Additionally traditional pet shops are the heartbeat of the pet trade and without them the manufacturers would be putting themselves at risk of a self-destructive spiral of depleting their customer base and so exposing themselves to excessive price demands.”
So what is the answer?
Lynda says: “First listen to the retailers, ask them what they feel would increase footfall (and spend!) in their own particular shop and then work with them towards a goal. Ask the staff as well as the owner – they are sometimes bursting with good ideas but afraid to voice an opinion. Review regularly and if some things don’t work, try others.
The brand owners who genuinely try to help their customers are the ones who will gain loyalty and increased revenue and by helping those retailers to survive the brands become stronger and retain a good spread of custom instead of promoting a shrinking customer base.”
Lynda is always happy to personally advise on any aspects of recruitment and marketing strategy and can be contacted on 07946 743784 or at email@example.com