Australians’ pet spending has soared over the last few years. But if your business doesn’t seem to be capitalising from pet owners’ pampering antics it may be time to take stock. Let’s look at how you can boost your pet retail sales.

According to the most recent ‘Pet Ownership in Australia’ report from Animal Medicines Australia, ‘there has been a marked change in the role dogs and cats play in the household since 2013. The relationship between humans and their pets has become much closer with a significant lift in the proportion of pet owners who see their pets as members of the family, rather than merely companions, or guard dogs.

Perhaps in part this shift has contributed to the rising amount of money that Aussie pet owners are spending on their furry friends.

The report also noted that pet parents are moving away from shopping for their pets at supermarkets and instead turning to more speciality pet stores.

This is good news for pet retailers. As is the revelation that the market for pet treats and pet health care is rising quickly, with a growing number of pet owners seeking out ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ ingredients and products.

What are pet owners spending big on?

If you’re looking to boost your pet sales, it pays to know what products and services pet owners are buying.

Let’s take a look at the top items and services pet owners are spending on.

  • Food

The growing tendency to ‘humanise’ pets has led to a shift away from budget low-cost pet food to more ‘premium’ products. It has also resulted in pet owners spending more on pet treats—particularly those that are ‘Australian-made’, natural and organic.

Desire for speciality and therapeutic foods is also on the rise with more owners choosing to give their pets gluten-free or vegan foods in line with their own diets.

  • Pet healthcare products

According to Euromonitor, the focus on health and wellness remains strong with pet owners placing similar emphasis on their pet’s health and wellbeing to their own.

As such, pet retailers that have a strong health positioning and stock the latest new ‘pet health and wellbeing’ products are tapping into this market.

  • Pet retail — products or accessories

Pet owners currently spend more than $1 billion on products and accessories for their fur pals. This includes items such as bowls, leads, collars, toys, clothing and pet beds.

According to Euromonitor insights, the rise in spending on pet accessories is related to the humanisation of pets and the fact that more pets are living indoors as opposed to outdoors. Pet owners feel the need to buy toys and accessories to reduce pet boredom.

  • Clipping / grooming

Pet owners spent an estimated $580 million on grooming services in 2016; with the amount spent on grooming dogs significantly higher than their feline friends.

Given what we already know about pet spending, we can presume that the growing tendency for pet owners to have their dogs professionally groomed is in part due to their humanisation and their living arrangements (indoors not outside).

5 hacks to boost pet store sales

Find out what’s trending—Tap into consumer pet trends and create clearly sign-posted displays that highlight these popular items. Share your offerings on social media to drive customers in store.

Get creative—Host a doggie fashion show to showcase the latest canine couture.

Offer expertise—Invite a nutritionist into your store to talk to customers about therapeutic pet health products and share their knowledge on topics such as pet allergies and pet food intolerances.

Entice and educate—Invite customers to come grab a free homemade natural dog biscuit and check out your natural or organic pet grooming range while they’re at it.

Tailor your offering—Collect data you can use such as email addresses, pet names and birth dates to enable you to send personalised communications to pet owners. For example, in the lead up to Fido’s birthday you might send a newsletter showcasing an array of fantastic birthday gift ideas plus a discount coupon.

Empower staff to grow pet retail sales

Pet speciality stores have a clear advantage over supermarkets and online retailers as they can offer intimate buying experiences.

In order to give customers what they want staff need to be educated on the latest healthcare queries (be it allergies, veganism or a particular ingredient), and up to date on the latest pet trends.

There are many ways storeowners can empower employees to boost pet retail sales.

  • Contact sales reps and manufactures and ask for some in-store education
  • Encourage staff to try new products on their own pets
  • Give employees the responsibility of researching and speaking about a key industry trend
  • Ask them how they would display and merchandise a certain category
  • Create incentives. For example, the employee who makes the most sales in a month gets a late start.

Ultimately, pet stores need to stay abreast of the latest trends, ensure staff are well educated be proactive in attracting customers.

Information sources:
  • Animal Medicines Australia Pet Ownership in Australia 2016. Accessed online.
  • Euromonitor. Pet Care in Australia, May 2018
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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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