How to Open a Pet Store (6 Tips to Grow Fast)

  • By Matthew Davis
  • Nov 21, 2023
  • Retail Tools

Wondering how to open a pet store? Read our guide for pet store marketing ideas and tips for growing your business.   

Opening a pet shop is a great business idea. People love to pamper their pets! That’s why pet care spending in the U.S. continues to grow.

In 2023, Americans spent more than $62 billion on pet food and treats. And spending for all pet products passed $143 billion. according to the Amercian Pet Products Association.

Although the market continues to grow, competition is an independent pet store owner’s biggest challenge.

You’ll be competing against major retail chains like PetSmart and Petco (which hold 50% of the U.S. retail pet market). Plus, ecommerce pet retailers like Chewy and one-stop shops like Walmart and Amazon have rapidly nabbed market share.

Here’s the good news: You can compete and build a loyal customer base (and it doesn’t have to break the bank). If you focus on branding, product mix, and customer experience, you will stand out and thrive.

Need some ideas for how to open a pet store for growth? Keep reading for tips and advice for standing out in the retail pet market and strategies for fast, sustainable growth.

Grow Your Shop! Our pet shop POS software includes every tool you need to scale. Request a demo today to learn more.

Top Tips to Open and Grow a Pet Store

If you want to learn how to start a pet store or improve an existing store, focus on these 6 areas to grow your business.

open a pet store - dog and cat grooming services

1. Provide Exceptional Pet Care

The better the care you provide, the more sales you can expect. Great service will turn new customers into loyal fans. And it will help you build strong relationships with your existing customers. These are keys to a thriving pet shop.

Some of the ways you can improve your pet care:

I. Offer More Services, Specialize

Find an area where you can outcompete Big Box stores. You might offer a service they don’t or specialize in a specific area. Here are some examples of services you can use to grow sales and differentiate:

  • Grooming
  • Dog walking, pet transportation or boarding
  • Training
  • Dietary guidance
  • Cater to specific types of pets

Don’t have the bandwidth to offer these services? Partner with licensed and reputable providers in your area. Then, ask for a share of revenue or finder’s fee for referrals.

II. Deliver the Best Care

Exceptional pet care goes beyond the basics. It’s about understanding each animal’s unique needs and exceeding expectations at every turn. You can do that by providing: 

  • Personalized attention: Recognize individual quirks, preferences, and potential anxieties to create a comfortable and stress-free environment.
  • Expertise: Train your team to build their understanding of animal behavior and best practices.
  • Compassion: Show gentleness, positive reinforcement, and genuine love for all creatures great and small. (This is easy for animal lovers.) 

III. Focus on Customer Satisfaction

Happy customers are loyal customers. And a wide base of loyal customers will help you grow your pet store business and increase revenue.

Use these customer service strategies to build trust:

  • Provide regular updates about the pet (for in-store services) and clear answers to questions
  • Tailor your services to each pet’s individual needs (e.g. a quiet entrance for grooming appointments with timid dogs)
  • Get to know your customers’ pets, their names, preferred treats and toys, and provide advice based on what you know  

How to Open a Pet Store Tip. Before you open your shop, design your customer experience. What will be different when potential customers walk in the door? How will your products and services differ?

2. Build a Strong Online Presence

If you want to grow a pet shop fast, go where your customers are. Most are online. Social media, your website, and local directories / map listings.

Your customers will likely find you online first. Wow them with a strong first impression!

Here’s how your pet shop can stand out with digital marketing:

Your Website

Think of this as your storefront, open 24/7. Your website should welcome and inspire confidence in your target audience. A few things you should focus on:

  • Provide product information (online ordering is even better, but an overview of brands and products will do)
  • Make information easy to find like your phone number, hours of operation, services
  • Showcase your brand and make it clear on your website why you’re different
  • Make it simple to get in touch and book services
  • Provide transparent pricing information for your services

Social Media   

Facebook and Instagram are must-use social media platforms, and TikTok and YouTube might be options too (if you want to try video). Create a social media marketing strategy that includes:

  • Playful posts
  • Contests (that drive action and grow your reach)
  • Informational tips and tricks
  • Showcasing your product / pet care expertise

Also, be active! Respond to comments and messages quickly, and post regularly. A dormant social media page is a turn-off for today’s customers (especially younger shoppers).

Online Reputation

Gathering positive reviews is a must-do for every local business. Positive reviews will help you appear in map listings. But also, most customers check these before they shop.

How to Open a Pet Store Tip. Develop a strategy to encourage feedback. For example, send an email after an in-store transaction. Ask for feedback, provide product recommendations, and make a pitch to review your business (with a link)

open a pet store tips - marketing menu on digital signage

3. Pet Product Marketing Strategies

Build pet store marketing campaigns that help you:

  • Attract new customers
  • Nurture existing customers

Some marketing ideas for pet stores include:

I. Attract More Customers

About 75% of your marketing plan should go to growing your reach and visibility. Some effective strategies for pet shops include:

  • Use local SEO to rank your site for results like “pet store near me” and within local map listings
  • Partner with local shelters and rescue organizations to build goodwill and increase brand awareness
  • Stay active on social media and keep your pages up to date
  • Use contests and events to drive action online and in-store
  • Incentivize referrals with discounts and coupons on future services or shopping tips

II. Keep Customers Coming Back

Even a slight increase in customer retention can grow your pet shop’s revenue by 25-100%. Therefore, make sure you’re focusing on retention as well:

  • Send targeted email campaigns with relevant product recommendations, birthday wishes, and exclusive deals
  • Use email for post-purchase engagement, provide tips and product recommendations based on previous purchases
  • Launch a loyalty program or collect customer info in your CRM, and engage drive repeat visits Use email and SMS to send appointment reminders and booking reminders

4. Enhanced Customer Service

When your competition is giant pet retailers, customer service is a simple, low-cost way to stand out.

The biggest thing here: Focus on communication. Make it easy to get in touch, respond promptly to customer inquiries, and provide expertise. A few tips include:

  • Build your staff’s expertise. Provide regular training sessions on new products, breed-specific needs, and seasonal offerings.
  • Answer inquiries promptly, whether in-person, on the phone, or online.
  • Have a plan in place to respond to negative feedback with empathy.

How to Open a Pet Store Tip. Be available on social media. This is often the first point of contact for today’s shoppers. Put someone in charge of answering social media inquiries.

5. Diversify Your Revenue Streams

Become a one-stop shop for pets and pet owners. Stay up on trends and offer solutions relevant to your local audience.

For example, gourmet pet food is a fast-growing trend. Be the local source for “human-grade dog food” or baked-to-order dog treats. You might also offer unique pet fashion items (another pet retail trend). Find unique or hand-made collars, leashes and bandanas to offer.

Partnerships are another good way to diversify. For example, you could partner with a local veterinarian to offer in-house consultations and preventative care. Or you host pet adoption events with a local shelter.

Finally, consider education. Both online and in-store classes can be powerful revenue-generating tools for pet shops.

Bonus Tip. Consider offering subscription boxes curated for specific pet needs, breeds, or holidays. This creates recurring revenue, strengthens customer loyalty, and provides a personalized option for pet owners.

6. Expanding Your Pet Business (Open New Pet Stores)

If you’ve hit a revenue plateau, consider expanding beyond your store’s walls or examining your existing operations processes.

In terms of retail operations, explore inventory management options to improve inventory efficiency. This will help you examine wholesale costs. And you can use this to negotiate better pricing or determine if a different supplier can help you reduce costs.

If want to expand beyond your walls, you have these options:

  • New Locations: Consider opening new stores in strategic locations within your region. Analyze demographics, competitor presence, and foot traffic to choose the best spots.
  • Franchise Your Brand: Explore franchising to capitalize on your brand and operational expertise. Find passionate franchisees who share your vision and support for their success.
  • Ecommerce Expansion: Build a user-friendly online store with secure payment, fast shipping, and excellent customer service. You can be the go-to source for your local or regional area.

open a pet store tips - POS advertisement

7. Leveraging Technology in Your Pet Business (Bonus Tip)

Pet store software will accelerate your growth. That’s true for any small business. The right technology can help you be more efficient, identify opportunities faster, and deliver better marketing.

The first tool you should consider when you open a pet store: A pet store POS system.

Your POS is your store’s digital brain. It handles all your essential operations:

  • Speedy Sales: Ring up purchases lightning-fast and keep queues wagging, not waiting.
  • Inventory Intel: Track stock levels in real-time, avoid empty shelves, and make informed reordering decisions.
  • Customer Connection: Build customer profiles, tailor recommendations, and reward loyal pet lovers with exciting loyalty programs.
  • Analytics: Generate reports on sales, product trends, and customer preferences to make data-driven decisions for your business.

Another tool to consider: Digital signage. Digital signs are a powerful tool for engaging customers and boosting sales. You can use high-def images to educate customers, introduce new products, or promote sales.

Grow Your Pet Shop with FTx POS

Your POS system is one of the useful tools for growing your pet business. It will help you stay organized and identify inefficiencies. Your POS also helps you organize customer data to deliver personalized marketing.

But remember, technology is a partner in progress. Many pet shop growth strategies don’t require technology – just execution and hustle. The most important, though, is customer service (for your humans and their pets).

If you deliver a more welcoming, more informative, and more unique shopping experience you can open a pet shop and outcompete Big Box stores. And your business will become a local fixture.

Get a quote. Switch to a POS software for pet shops that allows you to customize to your business’s needs. Contact FTx POS today for pricing or to schedule a demo.


First, create a business plan. This will define your targeted market, identity market gaps you will fill, and will outline your financials.

Next, create a cost estimate and secure funding. You might consider a bank loan, personal financing, or crowd funding. The next steps are:

  • Find a location
  • Secure licensing and your business name
  • Build out your store
  • Purchase inventory
  • Develop and launch a marketing plan

This is a basic overview. There are more steps. However, this will provide you with an idea of what you will need to do.

First, choose the right location. A high-traffic area will help your business get seen. But then, you have to look at marketing and customer experience:

  • SEO to make your website easier to find
  • Social media marketing to increase awareness
  • Getting reviews to build reputation
  • Advertising to build brand awareness and drive in-store visits

Customer feedback is a goldmine for improvement. Analyze reviews and survey your customers regularly. This data will help you:

  • Tweak product selection
  • Tailor your services
  • Fine-tune pricing
  • Enhance customer experiences

Be sure you’re responding to negative feedback too. Try to remedy the situation and identify the breakdowns that led to the bad experience.

The biggest costs will be rent / build-out, inventory and equipment (if you’ll be offering services). According to Bizfluent, the costs range from $90,000 to $315,000. New inventory costs typically range from $30,000 to $70,000, while a build-out can cost up to $100,000 or more (depending on your store’s size and location).

When considering opening a shop, you’ll also want to consider holding costs, this is the cost to store inventory. Because you’ll likely carry a lot of larger products, holding costs can be expensive. Therefore, it’s a good idea to focus on inventory efficiency.

You should 100% think about what makes you different. Some options include:

  • Specialty services (like boarding, sitting, grooming)
  • Unique product offerings like gourmet foods or hard-to-find brands
  • Make your eco-friendliness a selling point
  • Allow pets in your store or create a play area for pets
  • Become a source of education and expertise for your community
Bottom line, you have to learn how to market pet products to succeed. One tip: Tie your offer or promotion to the emotional connection pet parents have with their pets. Images, video and testimonials help!

Absolutely! New diets, tech gadgets, sustainable options – pet owner preferences constantly change. A few trends you might consider right now include:

  • Gourmet pet foods
  • Pet fashion
  • Subscription boxes
  • Curbside pickup and delivery
  • Mobile grooming services
  • Pet supplements, probiotics

Follow these four principles:

  • Be searchable
  • Be active on social media (and answer questions promptly)
  • Create a strong email marketing strategy
  • Make your site mobile-friendly and easy to use

The majority of your marketing budget should go to growing your audience. And there’s a few ways you can do it:

  • Social media promotions and contests
  • Hosting events (training classes, talks, etc) that drive foot traffic
  • Investing in a strong website and using ads to promote it
  • Partnering with local animal shelters to host fundraising and adoption events
  • Incentivize word-of-mouth referrals with a loyalty program

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Business Experts & Contributors

A New Solution Coming To FasTrax

Danielle is a content writer at FTx POS. She specializes in writing about all-in-one, cutting-edge POS and business solutions that can help companies stand out. In addition to her passions for reading and writing, she also enjoys crafts and watching documentaries.

Danielle Dixon

Content Writer
A New Solution Coming To FasTrax

Matthew Davis is a content marketing specialist for FTx POS. With experience in marketing, brick-and-mortar retail, and ecommerce, Matthew enjoys writing about strategies and technology retailers can use to grow. Previously, he managed retail operations for a sports/entertainment facility and worked in marketing consulting.

Matthew Davis

SEO Specialist/Content Writer

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