Setting up to sell

by Natalie Tan

When Darryl and Danielle Halse, owners of DogPlay wanted to augment their dog daycare services with retail offerings, they instinctively knew there had to be a way of ensuring that their retail component was effective. They already had a thriving service business, in fact, winning the 2016 Best of the City award. With this, they wanted to utilize selling opportunities as they already had a captive audience as their clients dropped off and picked up their beloved dogs.

The product mix will primarily be premium food and snack items, followed by accessories such as beds, leashes and toys. Their higher margins belong to the food and bed categories. With this in mind, a review of how these products are presented was undertaken. Premium products need the support not only of the shop environs but also the fixtures they are presented in. Just like going shopping at Holt Renfrew versus Old Navy, customers have expectations of the look and feel of how products are offered. DogPlay caters to a select clientele who want the best for their much-loved dogs. The products deserve to be presented in an environment that supports this.


The original fixture, while functional, evoked more of a warehouse feel than one that promoted premium products. With a tight budget, they changed the cold metal shelving unit into warm wood finishes. Ready-made fixtures were utilized and product presentation strategy was changed.


Besides changing the presentation platform, the food items were better categorized. Impulse items like snacks were presented on shopper friendly tables that encouraged customers to pick them up. Overall, the change in presentation style and platform made the food category DogPlay’s fastest mover.

Beds, one of the highest margin products are also one of DogPlay’s movers. The new bed display, while still merchandised on the floor due to their size, added an element of fun and thus, created a better emotional connection with shoppers.


To finish the presentation off, a sign hierarchy was implemented that further promoted the brand and strengthened the emotional appeal of products.


Natalie Tan from Retail Excellence has over 25 years in specialty retailing, offering her expertise to malls, retail shops and airport operators. She teaches Merchandising and Display Strategies at the BCIT School of Business and has served as a member of Retail BC's Board of Directors, as well as on the board of the BC Shopping Centres Association.

She is the author of "Ready, Set, Sell", an easy-to-implement guide to small business owners and a book currently used by her students. Natalie has been featured in several publications and is often called by the CBC for her expert perspective on current retail issues.

Effective Retail Strategies Designed to Move Your Merchandise
In this regular column, we explore retail strategies that are not only easy to implement but also aim to sell the merchandise. This will provide you with opportunities to view your own store in a different light and discover new ways to present your merchandise. Ultimately, our goal is to increase your sales. So let us know when you have applied one of the strategies featured here and yielded desirable results in your store — we’d love to hear success stories.