Retailers to Promote Pet Products by Humanizing Pets

BY Rachel Cagle
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"Pet is now more than a category, reports Drug Store News. It’s a topic that connects to consumers so viscerally that its power has gone well beyond the pet aisle. It holds the key to customer engagement across the store."

"U.S. consumers spent $72.6 billion on pets last year, an increase of more than 4%, according to the American Pet Products Association. The spending included food (the largest segment), supplies/​OTC meds, veterinary care, live animal purchases, and other services."

"What’s driving the surge in pet momentum? For the first time consumers want everything for their pets that they have themselves, including specialized diets and premium foods."

Pet Owners set some pretty high standards for themselves. For example, according to AudienceSCAN, 47% are willing to pay more for higher quality products and 27.3% are willing to pay more for healthy and organic products. Additionally, 50% would like to exercise more and 47.8% want to eat healthier. When researching how to achieve those goals for their furry friends, 52.8% turned to search engines within the last month. About 88% of Pet Owners prefer searching via Google, but only 18.4% will go past the first page of search results.

"However, pet is a topic that defies the rules because it’s real impact goes beyond products and sales. For pets, you also need to examine softer measurements of success with customers. These include good will, community building, customer engagement, traffic boosting, viral social posts, and more."

"After all, today nearly 70% of all U.S. households own a pet, with dogs by far the most popular, according to a Forbes piece citing APPA data. Connecting with pet-​loving consumers and households is an enormous opportunity. Retailers need to understand the importance of connecting with pet-​owning families in new and deeper ways."

"Pet owners especially relay their passion during a holiday like Halloween. People dress their pets in costumes, often ones that match their own. Last fall a National Retail Federation survey about Halloween found 'nearly 20% of celebrants planning to dress their pets in costumes,' up from 16% the year before. What kind of costumes were being planned? The top dog and cat outfits were pumpkins, hot dogs, and bumble bees."

"Retailers should take note of all this pet passion to figure out how they will engage. Even retailers that don’t plan to become major destinations for pet products can attract positive tail wags every so often from pet-​loving customers."

Traditional ads are a great way to get Pet Owners' attention. These shoppers get most of their local news from the TV (48.2%), newspapers (17.9%), radio (8.4%) and magazines (2.6%). Last year, these consumers took action after seeing TV commercials (61.5%), reading both print and digital newspaper ads (45.6%), hearing both digital and over-​the-​air radio ads (42%) and seeing ads in both print and digital magazines (43.3%). Don't skimp on digital ad components, though. Pet Owners are 14% more likely than other shoppers to find advertising on their mobile apps useful, 13% more likely to find social media ads useful and 3% more likely to click on text link ads on websites.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.