Avoid being overwhelmed by what to stock in the farm, pet and ranch category—which can be broad—by catering to the specific needs of your local community and forging partnerships with other area retailers like owner Patrick Ansel does at his operation. The son of a Nebraskan rancher who became a feed store owner, Ansel spent 16 years working for a chain of farm stores before opening his first Family Farm Stores location in Dumas, Texas, in October 1998. Ansel shared his insights with Hardware Retailing on how to create a successful farm, pet and ranch department in your own operation.
3 Selling Tips for the Farm, Pet and Ranch Category to Apply to Your Operation
- Partner Up
High-volume demand for specific products initiated a system where Family Farm Stores purchases particular products from other independent stores that they sell in large volumes and vice versa, Ansel says. Family Farm Stores provides products like southern cedar and steel posts to operations in the area and purchases high volumes of feed from other close independent stores.
- Consider the Customer
The majority of customers who visit Family Farm Stores’ are highly experienced and want specific products, like special fencing materials or tools, and adjusting the store’s product mix to fit the customer base has been a key aspect of growth, Ansel says.“We can have the best price and the best service, but if we don’t have the right product, we won’t get the sale,” Ansel says.
- Drive-Thru Success
A U-shaped driveway behind the store allows customers to pull in and have their feed loaded directly into their vehicles, Ansel says. It also allows feed to be kept off the salesfloor, freeing up retail space inside. This service simplifies the customer experience, increasing sales and customer loyalty.
3 Best Practices to Apply to Live Animal Sales in Your Business
Family Farm Stores has live chicks, ducks, geese and turkeys available for purchase daily and hosts free puppy and kitten adoptions on Saturdays. While the margins are low and the upkeep is extensive, Ansel says the business makes money through add-on sales. Plus, the presence of the animals makes adult customers feel nostalgic and brings excitement to the young ones, he says.
- Keep it clean.
Develop a strict schedule for staff to replace all food, water and shavings daily. Customers are less likely to purchase animals if their living conditions are poor and animals will stay healthier in a clean environment.
- Deals are necessary.
Moving live inventory out of your operation at a fast pace is imperative. As animals age and younger batches are ready for sale, offer deals to customers to move out the old and replace with the new.
- Advertise add-ons.
Live animal sales have low margins, but trigger add-on sales like feed. Merchandise add-on products close to the live animals and make sure your customers see you have everything they need to care for their new animals.
Gain more insights into successfully selling the farm, pet and ranch category here.