Pets may not walk into a store and ask about flooring, but they’re a huge influence on the way customers shop. U.S. pet owners spend about $66 billion on their furry friends. That’s a lot of money and a lot of pet owners.
However, not all people with pets are the same, and neither is how you discuss STAINMASTER® PetProtect™ flooring with them.
The first step toward understanding the flooring preferences of customers with pets is knowing whether you’re talking to a pet parent or pet owner. The characteristics listed below will help you distinguish pet owners from pet parents, who view pets as family members rather than property.
Tip: Begin by asking the customer a few general questions about his or her family and home. “A simple, ‘Can you tell me a bit about your household and what features are important to you for your floors?’ will open the door for them to tell me as much or as little as they are comfortable doing,” says Sunni Petty, owner of Petty Tile & Carpet in Round Rock, Texas. If the customer mentions the pets along with the rest of the family, that customer might be a pet parent.
“I never want to overwhelm a potential customer with questions, so I try to limit [them] to a couple [of] select, open-ended questions that will gain me the most insight,” says Petty. “Consumers love to feel heard, and the more I allow them to share their story with me, the more they tend to feel I am genuinely interested in what will be best for them.”
Tip: If the customer has pets, try to determine the place of pets in the family. Then, probe a bit more to learn the nuances of their concerns: Do they have dogs, cats, large breeds, small breeds? Are there health issues?
“I get a sense of how they view their pet, is the pet treated as a family member, and so on,” says Linda Mason, flooring specialist with O’Krent’s Abbey Flooring Center in San Antonio, Texas. “The information received tells me a lot about the priority of the customer. [For example,] do they want to make a flooring investment based on the fact they will always have animals at home, or is it a temporary situation?”
Tip: Both pet owners and pet parents are likely to put pet accidents at the top of their list of flooring concerns. “Protection from pet accidents would be the primary concern, followed by pet hair,” says Sandy Cheatham, interior designer with Atlas Floor Carpet One in San Antonio, Texas. “Then I talk to them about solution-dyed nylon and particularly STAINMASTER® PetProtect™ products.”
Tip: While pet owners may want pet-friendly carpet only in specific rooms, pet parents may want it throughout the home. Mason, who has STAINMASTER® PetProtect™ flooring in her home and gives her pets the run of the house, considers it to be a good choice whether it’s used throughout the house or just in a bedroom.
“There is nothing better than getting out of bed, and the first thing you feel is a luxurious carpet beneath your feet,” she says. “But … my bedroom and pretty much every room in my home is [also my pets’] bedroom. With PetProtect™, customers no longer have to be wary of spending their hard-earned money on a luxurious carpet because of their pets.”