For small businesses looking to address the challenges of driving footfall, repeat visits, improving profitability and customer loyalty, the answer could be on four legs. According to new consumer research by Metro Bank, nearly half of UK adults (47%) admit they have specifically gone into a shop because of the friendly face and waggy tail welcome of a shop dog.
In fact, 50% have purposefully gone out of their way and completely changed their route just so they can visit their local shop dog. That’s why Metro Bank is now showcasing some of the nation’s favourite shop dogs and their stories, celebrating the doggies in the shop window and canines beside the counter.
Shop dogs can help foster new relationships and bring a sense of community so it’s no wonder just over four in five (81%) respondents have returned to a shop to see a dog again. Over half (53%) of those surveyed also said being able to bring their own dog into a shop on the high street impacts their decision to go in.
Dogs have always been considered “man’s best friend”, but that now seems to hold true for businesses too with just under four in five (79%) admitting to spending more money in a shop that has a shop dog than they would have done if there wasn’t a shop dog.
The research also reveals 80% of the public spend longer inside shops with a dog, meaning extended shopping time and also a chance to get to know their local shopkeepers. Having a pooch around also seems to be a great way of recruiting new customers, with 41% of shoppers likely to recommend a shop to a friend because of a dog.
Since the pandemic, community has never been so important and dogs have always helped bring people together. In fact, 56% think that shop dogs create a stronger sense of community and friendliness in shops, and 42% believe shops dogs are important to the local economy.
Jessica Myers, Brand and Marketing Director from Metro Bank adds: “After a difficult period for many retailers and small businesses, attracting customers back in-store is a huge challenge, but a shop dog could be the secret weapon to recovery. Dogs are proven to relieve stress, relax people and make a great talking point to break the ice with customers. For people who live alone or who are unable to keep a pet, or simply for the tens of millions of consumers who can’t resist an interaction with a friendly fluffy face, they bring a bit of joy to the daily routine.
“Moreover, millions of dog owners are more likely to visit a business that allows their four-legged friend inside, which is why we’ve always welcomed dogs into all of our Metro Bank stores across the UK, and why we offer free dog biscuits, branded bandannas and water bowls for our four-legged friends as well. It’s been lovely to hear stories from real life shop owners about how their dogs have made a real difference not just to their lives but to their businesses too.”
1Research conducted by Censuswide with 2000 UK adults in November 2021. Please note that by featuring these shops in the campaign, Metro Bank is not endorsing the businesses.
“He is certainly a conversation starter, and encourages customers to stay for longer just to have a chat about how awesome dogs are! A regular came in last week to meet him and spontaneously treated herself to a new pair of earrings that we had just put on display.”
Suzanne O’Leary, Owner / Director of Little Beach Boutique in Brighton on her dog Bertie, a 3 year old Chinese Crested Powder Puff.
“Cooper is an integral part of this business. People visit and spend more time here because of him, which brings in more money. I think he gives the place, along with the staff and other customers, a certain ambience. It makes the shop feel very welcoming and homely.”
James Patch, Co-Founder / Director of Coopers Roastery & Coffee Bar in Buckinghamshire on his dog Cooper, an 8 year old Black Labrador.
“Clients are always asking after her and I sometimes think they come in to see her as much as visiting for a trim! They can be quite disappointed if she isn’t in that day. Having a dog in the shop creates a lovely, homely atmosphere for the clients and us barbers – if we’re feeling stressed or a bit anxious, a bit of time with Harper can really calm the nerves.”
Micky Buccheri, Owner of Barbers of Benson in Oxfordshire on his dog Harper, a 2 year old Beagle.
“We have a client whose 12-year-old son comes in regularly. He and Blitz have this very intense connection. The first time they met, the little boy was much younger and he came in and sat next to Blitz and they literally stared at each other for a good 45 minutes. To this day they have an intense bond”.
Pamela and Nicholas Marshall, Cofounders of Mortar & Milk skin clinic in London on their dogs Blitz (a 7 year old Greyhound) and Ava (a 4 year old Galgo).