Online pet retailers are more sophisticated in their web design and e-commerce, reaching their target audience via website usability, SEO, paid search and word of mouth via blogging and discussion boards.
When asked to give buzzwords to describe trends in the petfood and treat market, many people—regardless if they are industry experts or pet parents—would answer with words found on many petfood packages: natural, organic, corn-free and human-grade. But perhaps the biggest trend is not what list of ingredients pets are getting from their owners, but where those pet owners are getting those popular niche food and treats. Much like consumers are going online to find electronics, books and jewelry, passionate pet owners are finding online retailers to be far more accommodating than the local pet store, often offering a much wider selection of high quality items than smaller, mom-and-pop retailers provide.
Although the sluggish economy has been a mitigating short-term factor, relative to in-store retail sales, Internet sales have been doing well, including in the case of pet supplies, according to the Packaged Facts' report Pet Food in the US, 9th Edition. According to Forrester Research, online retail sales of pet supplies are expected to grow 76% from 2010 to 2014, from US$2.1 billion to US$3.7 billion, posting steady double-digit annual increases and significantly outpacing almost all other Internet categories. Helping to drive sales on the pet market side is the trend whereby more smaller marketers and retailers are turning to the Internet as a sales medium, as well as the above average (and still increasing) likelihood of pet owners to shop via Internet and rely on it for information, says Packaged Facts.
The Internet is especially well-suited as a sales venue for “info-centric” health products like natural/organic and health-related products. This includes petfoods with holistic claims, due to the medium's ability to communicate product benefits and detailed product information, both through product and e-tailer websites and via chat groups, blogs, email and social media. Rather than offering direct sales online, most petfood marketers still find that selling through a third-party website is a more convenient and cost-effective option. The two largest petfood and supplies e-tailers are Petsmart.com and Petco.com, with other leading pet-specific e-tailers including PetFlow.com; PetFoodDirect.com, PetFoodExpress.com, PetSupermarket.com, PetlandDiscounts.com and PetsnMore.com. There are also many third-party e-tailers specializing in natural, organic and holistic petfood products, including EarthlyPets.com, AllAmericanPet.net, PremierPetFoods.com and SitStay.com.
Trailblazers like Smartpak Canine, an animal health focused catalog and web retailer, launched the Proportions Whole Food Nutrition Program in 2010. The program allows dog owners to create a customized meal online and have the food delivered right to their door on a monthly basis. Another sophisticated direct marketer is Drs. Foster & Smith, whose many high-quality private-label products are sold alongside premium brands from other marketers on the company’s website as well as via catalog. Ranking 100 on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 list, the marketer redesigned its website in 2009 to focus on the “Doctor” aspect of Drs. Foster & Smith, highlighting the fact that co-CEOs Race Foster and Marty Smith are both veterinarians. The site also includes a link to Drs. Foster & Smith’s new pet blog and The Doctors’ Information Center, which lists pet care videos, articles and other related information. In addition, following in the path of human catalog marketers, in 2008 Drs. Foster & Smith teamed up with Target to offer its products via a bricks-and-mortar retail channel for the first time, according to Packaged Facts.
Overall, these online pet retailers are more sophisticated in their web design and ecommerce, reaching their target audience via website usability, SEO, paid search and word of mouth via blogging and discussion boards. These websites are still in the minority of a largely fragmented pet marketplace even in 2011, but this gives a savvy pet marketer an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
Video: Starting an online pet business
Watch video of Packaged Facts' senior market analyst, David Lummis at the Petailing Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, describing his thoughts about starting an ecommerce pet business in a down economy.
Learn about more companies and how they are lending a helping paw and claw to their own cause campaigns
The company builds on its boutique business with three new lines for pet stores, including baked dog food and treats
Petfood companies who promote their support of causes in their marketing campaigns are staying innovative in these uncertain times
US trade data show petfood faring relatively
See the full results of the survey sent to the Petfood Industry audience on sustainability.
Paperboard packaging, natural colors, cartoon graphics reflect the petfood line, Kaytee says
Internationally the small animal and bird market is teeming with innovative, healthy and marketable products that deserve a spotlight
Aunt Jeni's Home Made promotes the health and longevity of pets with their natural and raw lines of products
Are key drivers of new product development for petfood and pet treats changing?
The latest data from Packaged Facts on hot trends and what the future holds for the US natural and organic pet market
Find the sources behind the research on geriatric pets presented in Dr. Karen Wedekind's article on ideal levels of protein
Read more of Dr. Mukund Parthasarathy's insights on the changing petfood retail market and how it affects petfood manufacturers large and small
There's a disconnect between consumers' confidence in petfoods and their knowledge of what makes the foods nutritious
Now is the time for packagers, producers, marketers and manufacturers to capitalize on the traveling with pets trend
I feel this is one of the such a lot significant information for me. And i'm glad reading your article. However want to remark on few common things, The site taste is ideal, the articles is actually nice : D. Good process, http://voicesofamericatah.org/ cheers
Hey I was wondering about this just yesterday. I have two dogs and there is one site from which I buy everything I need. The site in question is www.atozvetsupply.com. I agree with the fact that online retailers are far more accommodative than the mom and pop retailers. People today want the best for their pets and these are the places where they get it.
--- Thank you for your patience ----
If you have any issues logging in or any other need feel free to contact us.