How to Start a Pet Store

We all know how fond pet owners are of their furry, feathery, and finny friends. Spoiling them and ensuring their safety and comfort is of paramount importance to them. Given this scenario, pet product stores have greatly grown in importance and number in recent decades, providing pet owners with the requisite pet-care paraphernalia including clothing, accessories, and health & safety products among others. Though subject to the inevitable highs and lows of any industry, a pet supply store can be counted on to work fairly well all round the year. Additionally, if you are an animal or pet lover with rudimentary knowledge of pet needs, starting a pet supply business is an excellent idea. However, setting up a successful business, even with the best of knowledge and ideas, isn’t always as easy as pie. Here’s a simple and effective guide to setting up your own pet supply store:

Make a Business Plan

Envisioning a concrete and cogent business plan is crucial for an entrepreneur. You need to sit down and carefully consider several topics including a catchy name for your business, the costs – one-time as well as ongoing expenses – involved in opening the store, your target customers, and how to make your business more profitable over time. Additionally, you need to make sure your business is properly registered and legally compliant, and accordingly contact a professional who is acquainted with pet-related retail businesses.

Choose a Location

To run a pet supply shop out of a bricks-and-mortar store, make sure the location is easily accessible from main roads and offers plenty of customer parking. Large delivery trucks should easily be able to reach your store. Engage a professional signboard-making company to create colorful pet-related graphics that aptly describe your pet supply business. You could rent, lease, or even purchase a location if you can afford it. Alternately, you could set up an online store by building an ecommerce website.

Get Branding & Packaging

It is important to have a strong brand definition in order to stand out from competitors and create the right public perception. While there’s plenty of scope for unique branding, a lot of it will depend on what kind of products you wish to stock – food, toys, self-care and healthcare items, grooming products and so on – and for whom – which breed of dog or cat, what age and size, etc. Find a good wholesale manufacturer and supplier that offers drop-shipping services and sells the products you want for your pet supply business. Make sure to choose a manufacturer that gives you the lowest unit cost on products. Play up the visual aspect of your brand by asking the pet product wholesale manufacturer to emboss your brand or store name logo graphics on packaging.

Do Research, Seek Help

It is imperative for first-time entrepreneurs to invest time on research. Prepare a list of well-known pet supply stores in your city and nearby towns and visit each store to take a look at the shop’s product line, layout and staff interactions with customers. Subsequently curate a pet product line based on available shelf space and on selection of items unavailable at competitor stores. Consult a veterinarian to recommend specialty foods for various medical conditions in pets. You could also seek the help of a professional breeder to help you decide what specific food supplies to stock for small, medium, and large breeds.

Market Your Store

Once you’ve set up your store, you must know how to promote and market it. Partner with local businesses to get local ads printed and offer deals on social media – Facebook groups and local online communities – to attract pet owners to come to your store. Deals on pet foods typically tend to work so make sure you have a reasonably-priced, high-quality pet food and emergency care stock. You could also work with influencers to promote your products. If you’ve hit upon a niche market or specialize in a particular type of product, it’s easier promoting your store as the go-to place for your target customers.

Starting an Online Store

Starting an online or virtual pet store isn’t vastly different from setting up a physical store. While initial steps like creating a business plan, finding reliable manufacturers and suppliers, market analysis & research, and figuring out the finances are pretty much the same, there are certain specific and additional steps you may need to take. These are:

  • If you are selling a particular type of product, consider starting with eCommerce websites like Amazon or Etsy. While Amazon requires you to pay fees only when you actually make a sale, Etsy is essentially for people who make handmade, niche items.


  • It is essential to create a well-designed fully functional website. Unless you are super tech-savvy yourself, it’s a good idea to hire a pro for designing your online pet store.


  • A lot of people nowadays use their smart phones to shop for their pets. Avoid losing out on these potential customers by setting up a mobile app.


  • Next, you need to look for a good web host. This is a paid server that hosts your site on the World Wide Web, so it instantly shows up if a user enters your website on a search engine.


  • You need to set up a reliable payment gateway to get paid for the supplies you sell online. You could integrate PayPal, a well-known payment gateway trusted the world over.


  • There is a gamut of readily available tools to help you market your online store. You could participate in online discussions, join local online communities, engage in email marketing, rely on blogs, forums, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach out to potential customers. Note that user-generated content is especially good for pet businesses.


  • You will have to choose a trustworthy shipping partner to deliver your products safely & securely to consumers. Make sure you have all the requisite licenses and state tax permits before you begin delivering the products.

A Burgeoning Industry

Operating a pet store business – offline or online – is lucrative because people of every age, race, and colour love to indulge their pets. In fact research has shown that the pet industry has exponentially expanded in the last few years, and will see greater growth in the years to come.

The aforementioned points will prove immensely helpful if you are planning to launch a pet store in the near future. Established and operated right, a pet supply business is viable and can be highly profitable.