pets place boerenbond

The transition of the Pets Place Boerenbond animal and garden shops of IJsvogel Retail is progressing at full speed. Existing outlets have been remodelled, 40 to 50 new locations are scheduled to open over the next three years. And sustainability is the key word in every renovation.

The changing needs of consumers call for changes in retail concept, says managing director of IJsvogel Holding, Ard Malenstein. “Our Boerenbond shops were traditionally always set up in urban areas. This requires a deeper range of products than the outlets in rural towns. At the same time, Pets Place shops needed more square metres. So we decided to merge the two concepts together. We now have 180 Pets Place shops, of which just under 70 have been combined with Boerenbond. The combination shops mainly have locations on the city outskirts that provide plenty of parking, while we are opting for Pets Place outlets in the city centres.”

remodelling & renovating


new concept

Sustainability & renovation

Sustainability at the heart of every renovation

Formula manager Patrick Nathoenie tells us that sustainability is at the heart of every renovation. “The greenhouses are being replaced by solid structures, increasing the insulation value. We are also installing LED lighting and we are preparing the roofs for the installation of solar panels. The ultimate goal is for all the shops to be as self-sufficient in energy use as possible.”

The ultimate goal is for all the shops to be as self-sufficient in energy use as possible

- Patrick Nathoenie, managing director of IJsvogel Holding

Sustainability & renovation

Sustainability is also the keyword for Pets Place Boerenbond’s product range. Malenstein: “We have stopped selling fireworks in our Boerenbond outlets. It is no longer in sync with our mission after merging with Pets Place, and fireworks aren’t good for the environment. We have also moved away from selling pesticides that harm the environment. Our garden department now focuses entirely on sustainable gardening. There are several ways to do this, for example by adding insect hotels and butterfly houses and by using organic instead of artificial fertilisers.”


Customers are also given advice on the best ways to consider global warming when landscaping their garden. “It used to be okay to seal off backyards completely with tiles and other hard materials. But the changing climate means we are experiencing extreme rainfall more frequently and the rainwater can’t drain away quickly enough. Good water management is therefore now more important than ever. This is advice we want to share with our customers. We also recommend ways to water your garden with rainwater. These are just a few sustainability solutions we are introducing at product level.”

changing customer needs

Nathoenie can see that the transition is catching on. “New customers are finding us, especially younger people and female customers. Our turnover has also increased.”

The transition to this new concept will continue in the coming years. “We are now almost finished with remodelling the existing branches,” Malenstein explains. “At the same time, we are opening new retail outlets that range in size from 500 to 3,000 square metres. Our plan is to expand by 40 to 50 shops over the next three years. To achieve this, we look at sites in catchment areas with more than 50,000 inhabitants. When opening retail shops outside city centres, you need plenty of parking space. In city centres, we focus on accessibility and proximity to a supermarket. These are all things we research beforehand. We look at which target groups shop at a particular retailer and whether they match our own target groups.”

Bulsink is in charge of remodelling the shops. “We first came into contact with this general contractor just over two years ago and worked together on a small project first, so that we could test whether the company’s DNA matched our own. For a transition project of this size, you need to be absolutely certain in our view. We look for the right partners to work with for the long term and build on our ambition together. Bulsink knows all the ins and outs of renovations, which lets us focus on our core business: retail. This line of business is challenging enough. The needs of customers change by the day.”

Malenstein and Nathoenie assert that Pets Place Boerenbond is an omnichannel company. “We’re in the midst of digitalising our business. Our customers no longer consciously think in terms of online or offline. To them, the lines between the channels have blurred. They deliberately choose Pets Place Boerenbond. One way we respond to this is through a loyalty programme. Customers who regularly buy in our shops earn extra discounts.”

Strong business formula

Offering added value is also very important, Nathoenie adds. “We do this on the one hand by ensuring our shops have a strong business formula and house style and, on the other, by providing a wide product range. We have our own distribution centre with more than 20,000 items in stock, which customers also have access to if they can’t find certain products in our retail outlets. This ensures we can offer optimal service, both online and offline.”

And that service is extended wherever possible. “Do people want the products delivered to their home address?  Or have it delivered to the shop for pick-up? Anything is possible. We can even ship products from shop to shop. It’s another way for us to keep our footprint as low as possible.”

Providing service through sharing knowledge and advice also plays a role. “Today’s consumers don’t simply want to buy a product, they want information on how to care for their animal or how to enjoy their garden sustainably. Or learn the best way to grow fruits and vegetables,” Malenstein knows. “This full-service approach helps to retain your customers for longer.”

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