By Jono Rees, Marketing Manager
I’d like to start this article with a question to get you thinking: Can you recall how the seed of fish keeping was planted into your mind? Personally, I remember it quite well, back when I was a young child, being dragged to a garden centre with my parents. The reward was that I would be allowed to take a walk around the aquatic department and admire all of the exotic species of fish they had in stock. I am sure this is something we can all relate to. Some retailers may feel like they are a ‘free zoo’ sometimes, but it is this experience that gets a lot of people interested in this hobby, and for that we owe a lot our local aquatic retailers. It is because of their passion for all things fish that our industry continues to inspire new generations of fish keepers.
Aquatic retailers are essential to this industry; their advice, expertise and livestock help to make us all better fish keepers. Without them, we would struggle to get livestock for our aquariums and ponds, and we would all be forced to find advice online, and we’re all too familiar with the terrible consequences of ‘googling’ symptoms…
The rise of online retail is convenient. As an individual who’s grown up with modern tech, it is a tool that I am far too disorganised to survive without. Many of our authorised retailers operate very successful e-commerce sites. However, in order for a retailer to become authorised to sell our products, they need to meet some criteria including owning a physical shop, holding a valid pet shop license and stocking the all-important fish. Unfortunately, a lot of our competitors are not as ‘fussy’ as we are when selecting retailers. We strongly believe authorised retailers with livestock are key to the success of our industry.
Therefore, we do not directly supply online-only marketplaces or discount retail chains. The reason behind this is simple; if you want to buy an NT Labs product you have to buy it from an authorised retailer who has livestock and in turn has the fish husbandry knowledge to offer the consumer sound first-hand advice.
As an authorised retailer, you can buy NT Labs products from a network of specialist wholesalers, each one with a VMD-approved distribution centre, and from there, they deliver stock to a network of authorised aquatic retailers each week.
Even with the growth of discount stores, and quick and convenient e-commerce stores, independent aquatic retailers are in a unique position by offering quality livestock. It is essential that we all continue to support them so that they can continue to inspire the next generation of fish keepers who are being dragged around their local garden centre.
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