The Internet has not only helped the pet industry grow online among consumers looking for pet-related news and entertainment, but also has provided new marketing channels for petfood and pet product retailers.
A recent article, "[Four] Ways the Pet Industry has Gone Digitial," says one way the pet industry has been following digital trends is in it its adoption of subscription models. Similar to Netflix, the pet industry has services like Petflow, which ships petfood and pet products, and BarkBox, which was launched in November 2011 and donates a portion of its petfood and treat sales to rescues or shelters, according to co-founder Carly Strife.
Pet brands are also engaging in ecommerce via social media. Sites like online pet supply retailer Wag.com encourage consumers to enter contests, respond to polls, post photos and other pet content to its Facebook page. Petfood brand GranataPet Food engaged consumers through Foursquare API with 10 billboards in Munich and Berlin, Germany, that "dispensed" dog food into a bowl on the ground each time a user "checked in." Pedigree hosted its "Every Dog Deserves..." campaign through social media as well, in which the brand donated a pound of dog food to a shelter for every "Like," post or tweet about the campaign.
New pet-related smartphone applications are catching on, too, including DoggyDatez, a location-based application for finding both human and dog friends; Petcentric, an application from petfood brand Purina that lets users locate pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and parks; Rate My Puppy, which allows users to upload and rate dog photos; and MyPedED that allows users to carry their pet's medical records, which are also following the digital trend as veterinarians move to computerized medical charts and digital pet X-rays.