Top 5 Ways to Turn First-Time Shoppers Into Lifelong Customers

  • 4 Min Read
There’s no question that lifelong customers provide the most long-term value to your store, but how exactly can you measure that value? Pet owners tend to spend about $1000 per pet every year, meaning that if you become their preferred pet retailer, you can make $10,000+ over a pet’s lifespan. When customers consistently choose your store, that can add up to a lot of money over the years.
  This is why it’s so worth it to go all out when trying to win over first-time customers—you aren’t just making a great first sale, but rather getting the customer to come back again and again. Considering a pet’s lifetime value helps motivate you to put your best foot forward and serve your customers and their pets in the best way you possibly can.   Continue reading to get some insight into how to wow your first-time shoppers and get them to choose you for all of their pet supply needs.  

#1 Show Genuine Interest

Show Genuine InterestPeople are so used to hearing the questions “how are you doing today?” and “can I help you find anything?” that they’re essentially rhetorical at this point. As a pet store, you luckily have the perfect ice breaker that everyone loves talking about—pets! Simply asking about a pet’ s name, what their favorite treats are, or what kind of toys they like will make the customer feel more welcomed and show them you really care about their pet’s wellbeing instead of just making a profit.   This is also a great time to demonstrate your knowledge about pet care and high-quality products. During your interaction with shoppers, you can ask them if they have any questions about proper pet nutrition, special diets, or keeping their pets healthy and happy in other ways. Remember, you aren’t just another pet superstore, you’re there to help customers give their pets the best lives possible.   When you display genuine interest in a customer’s pet and show that you understand how special they are to their owners, people notice.  

#2 Make It Fun

Make it FunGood times make memories, so it will benefit you to make it fun for people to visit your store. At the register, you can hand out small goodie bags to first-time customers, give treats to their dogs (after asking, of course), and create an overall great experience for them right before they make their purchase and walk out the door.   The world is your oyster when it comes to making your store fun. For example, you could invite first-timers to enter in a raffle for a free toy or bag of treats, or set up a backdrop or photo booth for customers to snap some shots with their pets. In addition to being fun, these kinds of experiences are great at encouraging customers to engage with your store again online and through social media.  

#3 Kindly Challenge Misconceptions

Challenge MisconceptionsOftentimes, pet owners may shy away from smaller local pet stores despite the higher-quality products because they think they can’t afford them, but this isn’t really true. Thanks to the loyalty programs and exclusive deals that you can offer your customers, they can feed their pets a super healthy and delicious diet with premium brands at a price that can’t be beaten.   Use Astro Loyalty’s Free Merchandising Kit to showcase your special loyalty programs in-store.  

#4 Talk Up Your App for Offers and Rewards

Talk Up Your AppHaving an app that allows customers to see the offers you provide and details of your rewards programs makes shopping and saving money much easier for them. Convenience is an important part of seeming appealing to shoppers, so if you have an app, make sure they know about it and how to download it.  
All your customer needs to access your free mobile app is an email address on their Pet Owner Account at your store.
  Your free Astro Offer Shelf Talkers all contain a QR code containing links to download the free app. The Free Astro Merchandising Kit also contains the same QR code. Your included My Astro Webpage also includes links to download the mobile app! Astro Marketing Suite subscribers can also use one of our Featured Astro Templates and send a campaign to all of your customers with email addresses so they can download and get started on the App right away.   If you’re an Astro Loyalty retailer who wants to learn more about your free mobile app, check out this webinar recording on the topic. All Astro Retailers have the ability to customize their mobile app, Astro Marketing Suite subscribers can both customize their app and send App Notifications to those customers who download the App.  

#5 Dominate the New Adoption Shopping Space

Dominate New Adoptions-1There’s no better time to impress a pet parent than right after they adopt! If you’re a part of Astro’s Sharing the Love program, then you’re all set up to pamper customers and their new pets when they come into your store. This is an amazing chance to show a new shopper all that you have to offer by giving them tons of free (brand-funded) products and showing them what your store is all about.   You can use this opportunity to talk to them about the free goodies they’re getting, pet nutrition, fun events your store runs, why you’re so passionate about pets, and all the tips and tricks a new pet owner might need to create a safe, engaging, and healthy environment at home. You are welcome to customize this New Pet Owner Checklist to help your first-time dog and cat adoption customers collect all the essentials while they pick out their Adoption Bundle. Check out a recording of a webinar on the topic, plus an instructional video on how to edit your checklist.   Make sure you are documenting these special visits and posting them to your social media, especially Instagram! Tag the new pet owner so they’ll always remember their pet’s first visit to their new favorite pet shop! Tag @astroloyalty and the brands chosen in the bundle so they can share in the memory as well!  #AstroSharingTheLove  If you haven’t signed up for our free Sharing the Love program yet, both you and your customers are missing out! Enroll today to start supplying new pet parents with top-notch pet supplies and food (at no cost to you!) and potentially create a lifelong customer in the process.  
  When you wow your first-time shoppers and give them an amazing experience they can’t forget, they’ll keep coming back. Do this by showing genuine interest in the people and pets that come into your store, providing them with fun experiences, and making sure they know just how much you have to offer.

About The Author

Katherine Carbonaro Kat lives in a spooky house surrounded by farmland in Hillsborough, NC, and couldn't be happier! Her two beloved cats, MeNow and Mr. Bumbles were both bottle-fed and raised by her. Huxley, her faithful companion, is estimated to be around 16 years old but still enjoys his daily mile-long walks and occasional hikes, a testament to the power of proper nutrition. Long live Neighborhood Pet!