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Selling in the pet industry

Selling products and services in the pet industry has seen a huge boom in recent years. Owners are reporting that they see their pet as a member of the family and their shopping habits have changed to match that. Health and welfare often out competing price when it comes to selecting products for pets. When you break it down to the important factors for a customer or client, then you start to see why recent surveys have seen larger corporations slip with their brand dominance in the industry.

Selling to pet owners is emotive and innovation is driven by those looking to get the latest behavioural toy, best nutrition or new gadgets. The consumer has become savvy and can now research brands online which the latest evidence suggests is starting to favour small business. We know that they are loved for bringing jobs and revenue to the local economy and are often perceived for bringing a high level of service to the consumer. Now we are seeing some phenomenal growth from small start-ups.

I have seen thousands of customers feedback surveys across many pet-related subjects and have always found most value in what customers take the time to write on their likes and dislikes. Let’s take a look at just four factors important to your customers when they consider purchasing products or services in the pet industry.

Friendly – People buy from people

Pet people are not always people people! First and foremost, the most positive experiences that result in high brand loyalty and larger basket spend are those who feel that the person they spoke too was friendly. Equally on the flipside of this, a reason for no purchase or abandoning a brand all together is quite often directed towards disinterested, rude or arrogant staff or owners.

Treat their pet as if it were my own

Whether you are treating a pet, greeting one as a visitor in your store, completing a telephone consultation or packaging a gift to send. The pet is king. It’s all about that wonderful caring attitude to your customers pet.

Ex-PET-ise

If you have a product with a specific job then the chances are that you will need people who understand those USP. Often the pet industry needs a tell not sell philosophy when approaching a sale. It is far easier for a local company who have produced their own treat or product to give that expert view as to the products benefits. When dealing with a corporation, with many staff you will find that products get lost if not actively used by that person so opportunities can slip away.

Ease of purchase

Have you made your website really easy to navigate? Do you have an offer available? Have you organised your day well to maximise appointment availability? Whatever your business, set up for success when it comes to making it easy for your clients to book or buy from you. Certainly, a home-grown business, created for the good of the pet by passionate and friendly people tick all of those boxes. Is this why we are seeing an emergence of public favour towards some smaller independent companies? I think there is one final important factor that has driven this increase.

Social media

The huge rise in this platform has seen an opportunity for companies to, very cheaply, get direct access to consumers who will buy their product. All you need is to develop your brand, some imagination and start sharing your story. There are some amazing successes with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter followers in the tens of thousands. More and more company mascot pets are now driving visitors to their online stores. Birds, cats and ambassador dogs have taken to the social media platforms in droves to raise awareness and gather that all-important following. I met Milo, a Border Collie, with his own Instagram account at Dogfest last weekend [Milo the Leucillin spokesdog] He attends trade shows up and down the country for his brand Leucillin. Milo gets recognised, pictured with celebrities and helps spread the skincare word. There are many more either updating their followers or are the story behind the product. Without doubt, an official spokes pet for your brand both online and in person can really help to bring more revenue into your company.

When you are marketing your product, remember the factors that make a difference to your potential customers becoming brand loyal followers.


Nicola has spent the last 13 years working in the pet retail industry and is the founder of Ravensford Consultancy Ltd, a company dedicated to helping business in the pet trade.

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