Traditional pet stores aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but more and more retailers are recognizing the benefits of e-commerce and trying to increase their sales online.
The emphasis on e-commerce makes sense. According to an October 2016 report from IBISWorld, Online Pet Food & Pet Supply Sales market research report, the revenue from the online purchase of pet food and supplies has increased over the past five years. years prior to 2016 at an annualized rate of 8.9%. Online sales revenue now stands at $ 4.9 billion as the industry as a whole continues to grow year on year.
So why is e-commerce becoming such a popular option? Online shopping offers convenience and choice, and can be a great way to provide customers with detailed product information. These days, customers like to research their purchases online; and a strong and effective web presence can drive traffic to a physical location.
The influence of millennial pet owners on online sales is also significant. Millennial households in the United States spent a total of $ 10.6 billion on their pets in 2014, according to Packaged Facts’ Millennials as Pet Market Consumers report from February 2016. According to a UPS white paper by June 2016, UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, in 2016, US shoppers aged 18-34 made 54% of their purchases online, which means offering e-commerce is essential to capture sales of Generation Y.
With that in mind, Pet Product News spoke to three companies in the industry to learn more about how they go about creating online income streams, as well as the challenges and successes they have. encountered while implementing ecommerce ramifications in their businesses.
Chuck & Don’s
Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies is a chain of pet stores offering branded, specialty, and hard-to-find foods and supplies. It has 36 sites – 25 in Minnesota, 10 in Colorado, and one in Wisconsin.
The business is booming and was on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the United States in 2016. Chuck & Don’s recently moved into the ecommerce arena after acquiring Fetch, a retailer in the United States. Minneapolis-based pet food and supply line earlier this year.
The company places the customer experience at the heart of its efforts to repeat the success of its stores in the competitive online space.
“Because there are so many online retailers, we need to make sure that the Chuck & Don’s experience is consistent across all online and physical options,” said CEO Thomas Murphy.
The recent acquisition of Fetch is part of the company’s ongoing plans to become the leading supplier of pets to the region. Chuck & Don’s recognizes the potential of e-commerce to strengthen physical sales and provide more choice and convenience to its customers.
Dog.Dog.Cat. is a retailer in South Lake Tahoe, California. The company has a loyal following in the region and is exploring options to expand its business with e-commerce.
“We maintain our website so that customers can find and learn about our business with the intention of capturing them as physical customers,” said co-owner George Richter. “It is often the tendency of customers to consult online retailers before they come to make a purchase. I’m concerned that without a decent website customers will assume we have a bad selection in store or can’t find us at all. ”
For now, Dog.Dog.Cat. offers products on Amazon using the Fulfillment by Amazon service. This allows the company to take advantage of benefits such as low shipping and advertising costs, and to reach a wider audience for its products. However, with most sales currently being generated from the physical location of the business, this remains the focus of the business.
Looking to the future, Richter said the company plans to explore new ways to identify niches and strategies to build a profitable online business. Recent developments include improved online product selection, locally targeted SEO, and an update of the site to a newer platform.
Oscar Newman & CocoTherapy
Illinois-based business partners Charisa Antigua and Carmina O’Connor sell luxury pet clothing and accessories under their Oscar Newman brand. They also offer organic coconut oil based treats and supplements under the CocoTherapy brand.
While the company generates most of its revenue from wholesale direct to stores, it also sells to a growing population of consumers who often prefer to shop online. After listening to customer feedback, Antigua and O’Connor found that people had difficulty finding the products they wanted to buy due to the limited stock that distributors could carry and the lack of stores near them. many customers of the company. Determined to change that, they decided to develop an e-commerce platform in order to offer their entire product line to loyal customers across the country.
In the future, the company sees e-commerce playing an increasingly important role. Antigua attributes this in part to the purchasing power of millennials.
“Millennials are generally marked by increased use and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies,” she said. “They tend to shop online and listen to referrals or reviews from their peers through social media.”
The company faced several challenges related to the e-commerce offering. In the beginning, it was difficult to market your sites, drive traffic, and convert visitors into buyers. The challenge today is more in the continued effort to retain customers and manage customer service, inquiries and feedback in a timely manner.
After investing time and resources in e-commerce, there have been a number of tangible benefits, including the ability to quickly and easily reach target consumers when launching new products, and the ability to effectively test new promotions and special offers.