Since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world just two years ago, no topic has captured more public interest than health care. As health care has suddenly become front and center in every decision, whether it’s venturing to the grocery store or hugging loved ones, this hyper-awareness has translated from humans to their pets. of company.
Of course, the pandemic was not the only factor influencing awareness; Pet health issues have been on the rise for quite some time now. When pet owners realized the benefits of supplements and other remedies on their own lives, they applied these same principles to the care of their pets. For retailers, this means there is a huge opportunity to generate new business by offering all the health products that pet owners need, as long as they are well educated.
“Healthcare, if properly understood and used as a service and with sales, can contribute greatly to the success of a retail store,” says Susan Goldstein, co-founder of terrestrial animal and Retail Store Manager of Earth Animal. “The knowledge necessary for the correct sale of health products, based on the individual needs of the animals, is the strongest point of differentiation. Health care is a recurring activity, as food and supplements have become part of a dog’s or cat’s daily routine. They pave the way for additional purchases in other categories, such as supplies.
Healthcare products are good for business, pet, and pet parent, and provide a variety of upsell, cross-sell, and add-on opportunities. With pet parents wanting their pets to be healthy in ALL aspects of their lives, retail healthcare will become commonplace in stores across the country.
“The impact of the pandemic on pet owners’ demand for proven at-home, non-drug wellness products will continue to have a lasting effect and become the new normal,” says Debra Decker, Director marketing for Pet King Brands. “This is due to the added value placed on pets and their companionship that they have provided to us during very difficult and isolating times, coupled with limited access and rising costs for veterinary services.”
External trends influencing health care
However, this focus on companion animal health care did not come out of nowhere with the pandemic. The increased humanization of pets is perhaps the biggest trend that reinforces the goal of pet healthcare. With pets dubbed the new kids of Millennials and Gen Z, according to findings from the American Pet Products Association, this trend continues to grow.
“Pet parents are concerned about the health, well-being, and comfort of their pets,” says Decker. “This philosophy has grown over the years due to the humanization of pets and the idea that pets are part of the family, increased access to health information through the internet, and ‘increased awareness of their own health resulting in increased awareness of their pets’. All the pandemic has done is amplify those worries and awareness.
It is not just humanization that puts health care first; an additional trend is the advances made by manufacturers in product formulation. Since the infamous 2007 pet food recall, pet consumable suppliers have refined and improved their formulas to provide additional benefits to create a more holistic product.
“Retail trends can certainly influence healthcare, especially when it comes to food and supplement innovation,” Goldstein says. “CBD is the perfect example of this, as it has paved the way for a whole new level of interest in healthcare. We believe that the success of CBD has opened the door to general supplements and specific supplements for certain terms.
Of course, health is not a simple subject. If the legislature and the confusion surrounding CBD has taught the industry anything, it’s that education is the essential foundation for organizing any kind of retail selection.
“Education is key when it comes to health care,” says Goldstein. “The goal of healthcare is to provide products, education and services that enable pet owners to achieve their goals of providing quality of life and increased longevity, where possible. . This requires continuous education and study.
Choose manufacturers that put health first
Based on education, it is important to understand the ins and outs of a chosen manufacturer’s products, which includes everything from sourcing to packaging. For most reputable health product suppliers, veterinarians provide the formulation of all consumables to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness. The education doesn’t stop there, however, as retailers need to go further and understand the qualifications and expertise of the veterinarian behind the brand.
Fortunately, “Earth Animal has the advantage of having Dr. Bob Goldstein leading product development,” says Goldstein. “Dr. Bob has over 40 years of clinical experience treating dogs and cats using nutrition (foods and supplements as a modality). He took many of his protocols and remedies, which worked especially on patients cancer patients and reformulated them to address the most common conditions that pet parents face daily with their dogs and cats.
Additionally, retailers should seek to partner with companies that are transparent with their offerings and solutions. Better yet, partner with a manufacturer that creates condition-specific solutions that reflect some of the biggest and most recurring challenges pet parents face. Plus, partnering with manufacturers who offer proven solutions helps accelerate sales.
“For example, the top reasons for a vet visit for dogs and cats are ear infections, itchy allergic skin, and dental issues,” says Decker. “Pet King Brands’ veterinarian-recommended remedy products, ZYMOX Enzymatic Dermatology and Oratene Brushless Oral Care, are products for the prevention and resolution of these often recurring conditions for so many pets. Providing products such as ZYMOX and Oratene helps build retailer loyalty while helping dogs and cats find relief from common health issues.
Health care in retail stores
After curating a collection of reputable health products, it’s time to market and market health products. The secret to offering health products is positioning it as a “one-stop shop” for consumers, Decker explains.
“Consumables, such as diets and candies, have historically accounted for most of the retailer’s recurring business,” she continued. “Health care products that address issues that commonly affect dogs and cats are in high demand and provide an additional revenue stream that can also translate into repeat business.”
For Goldstein, an effective strategy she uses to attract customers to the store is to hold health events that focus on specific products. Event-like in-store experiences help build product awareness and, predictably, draw people into the store.
“Aligning national and local calendar events with products and seminars is a powerful way to bring healthcare into your store,” says Goldstein. “Inviting local vets to speak or voice their concerns is also a great way to promote health care, such as how to administer first aid. In-store demonstrations providing a visual and tactile experience of foods and supplements work effectively. »
However, as diligent as retailers are in their education and research, some pet owners still fear taking advice from someone who is not their veterinarian. For this, it is beneficial for retailers to build relationships with area veterinarians, and they may even be asked to help on the event side.
“It is possible to partner with local veterinarians,” says Goldstein. “Earth Animal lists and refers to vets in the community who align with its ethos. It always provides a platform for local vets to go public with information. We also offer an ‘Ask Our Vet’ live stream with Dr. Kris Hansen on Facebook, which is an ongoing educational service, covering all aspects of healthcare.”
Clearly there is a strong market for retailers to expand their offerings to incorporate modern trends, especially healthcare. Through education, product awareness, and strong partnerships, retailers can thrive with in-store healthcare offerings. BP