Why do we believe in thinking like a retailer? When it comes to saving the lives of homeless pets, we can accomplish many goals by increasing our market share. There are roughly two million healthy and treatable pets dying in our shelters each year, according to the ASPCA. And there are approximately two million puppies being churned out every year by puppy mills, according to Elizabeth Oreck of Best Friends Animal Society.
Since there are about 30 million people looking to add a pet to their families each year, according to the No Kill Advocacy Center, increasing our market share will result not only in finding a home for every healthy and treatable animal who enters our shelters, but we eliminate the market for puppy mills, forcing them out of business.
It’s easy to train yourself to begin thinking like a retailer. If you want to increase your market share, take a look at a simple resource like the Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies. It stresses that you need to accomplish three things in order to gain more market share:
1. Get to know your direct competition.
That work has already been done for us by PetSmart Charities. Their survey found that about one-fourth of adopters get their new pet from a friend or family member. Other sources are puppy mills, backyard breeders and even stray animals picked up off the street. In short, our share of the total market is just above 20%. There’s clearly room for improvement.
2. Find out why your customers buy from competing businesses over yours.
Once again, PetSmart Charities has done the analysis for us. According to their survey, people don’t adopt from shelters because they felt the shelter didn’t have the right type of animal (probably lousy marketing on the shelter’s part), “you never know what you’re going to get with a shelter animal” (lousy marketing again), the adoption process is overly difficult, shelters are depressing, inconvenient location, inconvenient opening hours, poor customer service, and on and on. Once again, there’s clearly room for improvement.
If you’ve ever seen one of our presentations at a local, regional or national conference, you’ve seen us share many ideas on increasing your market share. It’s not rocket science. Shelters must realize that they’re in a competitive market. By overcoming all the obstacles you’ve seen in the second section above, you’ll be on your way to adopting more pets, saving more lives, increasing your market share and shutting down puppy mills.
It all boils down to this: Do you or your shelter have the desire and the willingness to get it done? Start increasing your market share today!