No two shops are ever the same – even when they are cookie-cutter, mass merchant stores simply due to their unique location, local demographics and real-time level of inventory and merchandising. Keeping this in mind, it’s important for tourist focused retailers to also reflect on how their store is different – helping them to position their unique store for their unique customers to enjoy. Zoo gift shops, in particular, can benefit from this perspective, aiming to engage consumers and capture sales through the inventory they choose to sell. And with over 600 million zoo visitors a year, it’s important for zoo stores to leverage the opportunities they have to connect with these customers. Part of this connection will come from the inventory you choose… so make sure you’re prepared to offer an assortment they’ll want to shop from. To help, consider the below tips.


Tip #1: Source Inventory That Lends Itself to Your Zoo Experience

Is your zoo known for a specific animal or does it offer a one-of-a-kind experience that zoo guests come specifically to enjoy? Leverage the details of your zoo by offering items sold in your store that speak to these experiences. Specialty items that may include name-drop merchandise such as t-shirts, plush animals, holiday ornaments, Frisbees and more are all great items to consider for your tourist based business.


Tip #2: Think Outside the Box When It Comes to Your Inventory Assortment

Customers expect sweatshirts and postcards from zoo shops and other tourist destinations, but what else can you offer them that provides them more interesting products to choose from? It’s important to step outside your comfort zone – even if your comfort zone has strong selling items – to also consider how other inventory can strengthen your sales, as well. From snow globes to coasters to wine-stoppers and more, there are endless items to consider for your zoo shop that can help increase sales. To further enhance your selling opportunities, be sure to customize these items so that they become a memorable souvenir for your guests to enjoy. Discover items you’ll be surprised by and appreciate for your retail store at IGES this upcoming November in Tennessee. Learn more here.


Tip #3: Introduce Trend Items into Zoo Shop Inventory

Let’s face it – consumers love a good trend. Whether it’s a fidget-spinner that has your zoo logo on it or the latest, must-have novelty item embroidered with your zoo’s most popular animal, offering items that speak to current consumer trends is a great way to enhance your store sales. The catch? You do not want to overbuy on this inventory but instead, prepare for quick sell-thru and re-orders that can be sold just as easily. Unlike your staple items – such as t-shirts and postcards – you don’t want to over-invest in trend items just in case they stop selling… since, after all, they are in fact just a trend.


Finally, zoo retailers should always consider offering a variety of price points into their inventory assortment to assure that they are providing something all their customers can afford and appreciate. From $1 postcards to $100 plus items, provide a range of price points and items in your assortment for maximum selling opportunities. Discover inventory for your zoo shop at the upcoming IGES in Tennessee. Click here to learn more.

Author: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded

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