Would you take your dog to a store

The British homeware retailer Wilko has announced that their customers can now shop in 248 of its stores with their pet companions. The stores allow pets in every area except the food aisles. This is a reasonable compromise.

Wilko is barking up the incorrect tree. Some shoppers are unhappy with the idea of bringing their pets to stores. They have expressed concerns over hygiene, phobias, and poorly-behaved animals. These are valid concerns, but they are outweighed the emotional, commercial and experiential benefits that can be gained by allowing shoppers to bring their dogs along.

Struggling to save money for a house while trying to make a positive impact on the world. You’re trying to maintain a sustainable lifestyle while coping with mental health problems. These are problems that we face every day as people in their twenties or thirties. This article is a part of Quarter Life – a series which explores these issues and offers solutions.

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Research shows that social benefit is often identified as a key motivation of retail shopping. Its importance can be explained with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs , a theory from psychology that explains the connection between human needs and desires. Social shopping may fulfil some people’s need for love and belonging, or for esteem (for example, by being seen as part of the in-crowd at popular stores or high-end retailers like Harrods). Our research shows that the social experience of shopping through entertainment activities is correlated with spending more time and money in shopping malls.

But academic researchers have focused on socializing primarily with humans, i.e., friends, family members, and store staff. As new interactions emerge in the retail industry, such as between human beings and robots, this definition becomes increasingly limited.

According to reports, young people prefer online shopping because it is convenient, easy, and cost-effective. Online shopping is not as socially beneficial as in-person shopping. This is especially true when you consider four-legged companions. Recognizing social shopping as a new way to attract people to the high street may be a good idea.

Read more: COVID-19 is giving us a new appreciation for physical shops.

Dogs are our family.

In many countries, the definition of “family” includes not only humans but also pets. Is it fair to exclude dogs from family events like shopping when this is the case?

According to a new study, human-pet relations are just as intense and intimate as human-human ones. Pet-friendly stores or hours that allow pets could alleviate the anxiety and guilt of having to leave behind our four-legged families while shopping.

Preventing people from shopping with pets is likely contributing to vulnerability. This term is used to describe any situation where a person cannot engage in a market effectively.

When negative emotions influence them, shoppers do not spend time browsing and exploring in stores. When a shopper is in a rush to return to their pet or cat, they may not take the time to browse and explore. They might also make purchases without thinking and then later ask for a credit.

Why not bring our pets along when you shop in person? Konstantin Aksenov / Shutterstock

Retail stores that welcome pets

Brands could reap additional economic benefits by allowing dogs and cats in stores. Owners of pets may spend more on accessories for their animals (a lucrative business) or at dog-friendly restaurants. Imagine the joy of walking through a shop with your furry friend, interacting with animals, and enjoying a meal.

Retailers can also use this opportunity to test pet-friendly products or to host special events in order to attract more shoppers. According to research, events are a great way for shoppers to have fun and encourage them to explore and socialize in the store. The result is that shoppers spend more time with retailers and more money.

Retailers could easily mitigate the concerns of customers about cleanliness, fear, and dirty pets. The retailers could set up pet-friendly hours and create creative signs that would help shoppers understand what to expect: “When you pooch messes, please clean it up,” for instance.

Retailers would do well to embrace pets as more people bring them into their homes. This could open up new business opportunities and encourage people to walk their dogs on the high streets.

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