Perfecting the pet aisle

Here’s how to persuade pet parents to buy supplies at your store

petsPet care is big business. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, more than 510,000 tonnes of pet food is sold in Canada annually. And in 2017, Canadian sales of pet food are projected to reach $2.14 billion. The current trend of the humanization of pets (we’re looking at you, pet parents) and the subsequent premiumization of pet food means grocers have to work that much harder to keep sales up in the category. Why? Competition from pet-care retailers is fierce: not only do they welcome pets and their owners into stores for an interactive and social shopping experience, but their offerings are diverse and vast. Here’s how to entice customers to shop the pet aisle at the grocery store.

Euromonitor’s 2017 report, Pet Care in Canada, contends that health and wellness continues to be one of the most important trends in pet care. Essentially, the human trends in this space are mirrored in the pet-care category. That means pet parents are looking for all the bells and whistles in pet foods that they seek in their own diets: natural, organic, gluten free—you name it. A potential area of growth? Pet food meal kits. Online U.S. company PetPlate already offers organic pet food meal kits for delivery.

Retailers that offer both top quality products and convenience will see good growth opportunities in pet care, according to the Euromonitor report. “Consumers seek better value for money and they’re trying to purchase the best products,” says Paula Flores, head of pet care research at Euromonitor.

“Customer service is really key,” says Flores. “Pet parents are increasingly demanding and knowledgeable, so sales staff need to be well trained.” Along with offering excellent service, stock specialty foods such as diabetic, high-fibre foods and those with glucosamine for Fido’s aging joints. And how about gourmet treats, pet toys and pet apparel? More visibility (think visual displays and promotions) and a more diverse assortment could entice more shoppers.