Sure, dogs have always been considered man’s best friend, but does that hold true for businesses? An increasing number of companies are allowing dogs to join their owners in the office because it can improve morale and the overall workplace culture. As a retailer, should you consider opening your doors to four-legged friends?
Should you take the leap?
The Huffington Post reported on a survey conducted by eBay Local about the ways shoppers respond to dog-friendly stores. The results showed that both sales and customer loyalty are boosted when patrons are able to bring dogs into businesses, because the policy implies a comfortable vibe and a dedication to providing customers with value. More than half of the people who responded said they favored stores that allowed dogs. Additionally, it was revealed that people will tell friends about dog-friendly stores, spend more time in those spaces since they don’t have to leave their dogs outside and plan a return trip to the store.
It’s often easier to implement policies relating to pets in a small, local business in comparison to a corporation or chain store. There are less hoops to jump through because the management team is likely more connected than the c-suite of a large company. With fewer employees, clients and corporate rules to enforce, these small businesses can have a more intimate discussion about dog-friendly practices and enforce guidelines with more control.
What needs to be decided?
First, consider how the addition of pets could affect your employees. Is there anyone with a severe allergy or fear? Make sure you listen to everyone’s concerns, even if you don’t agree with their points. The next step is envisioning how a pet-friendly policy would influence the placement of store fixtures and the merchandise itself. Do you sell anything that dogs would try to eat? Are there areas where products are too fragile for dogs, or too valuable to risk exposing to slobber? The overall space will need to be puppy-proofed, which can range from widening the aisles between shelves to rearranging how items are stocked in each section. If there are dog-free zones, they should be clearly marked. This might include the restroom and break areas where employees have food.
If you’re wondering how allowing dogs in your store can change your business itself, there are mostly benefits to reap. Dogs make people happy, encourage collaboration and inspire teamwork. Start by letting your staff bring their dogs in for a week and observe how the overall morale improves with the addition of pups.
How will customers know about the change?
One of the best ways to inform your current and potential patrons that their pets are now welcome in the store is through social media. You’ll be able to reach a large group of people who can easily share that information with their own followers. You can also use a message board outside of your store to draw in people who walk by the store. Place a dog bowl full of water and a dog waste collection station outside, as well as a bowl of complementary treats near the cash register.
Consider making a list of your basic dog policies that customers can easily see when they enter the store. You don’t need to prepare a rule book for everyone to read, but a few clear guidelines can go a long way when it comes to patrons managing their pets’ behavior.
Once all of your dog-friendly objectives have been met, you should mention puppies when you promote open positions. This way, you’ll be sure to attract employees who share the store’s mentality toward animals and start the job with an enthusiastic attitude.