With 85 million American families owning a pet, it’s not difficult to see why the pet care industry is booming. Many new entrepreneurs in a variety of shapes, sizes, and ages, have found that their interest in caring for animals and their desire to fill a need can lead to a lucrative business for the long haul. Starting and maintaining a pet business means deciding what your service or product will be, building a brand, marketing it well through social media and other outlets, and effectively handling the other day-to-day business operations effectively.
The Journey to Success in building a successful business and making your mark in the pet care and pet product industry begins with some simple steps.
- Conduct background research. Initial market research is important because it helps you understand where your product or service “fits” within the larger picture of your industry. It also gives you a sense of who your potential customers will be, where they are, and what type of marketing tools will be most effective with them. It helps you understand who your competitors are, what they are offering, and where they are successful in their marketing strategies.
- Find a “gap” that will become your niche. Understanding what your competitors are doing well or poorly also allows you to understand the gaps in your industry. Many business ideas, especially in the pet product industry, are not brand new, but simply tweak previously offered products or services to make them better or more accessible. Building a loyal consumer base means giving customers what they want, and even standard pet services such as pet boarding or dog walking can be modified to target an unmet demand.
- Reach your target audience for your startup. A strong brand is key to making it in any business, especially one that may be highly competitive, depending on the service or product you are offering. Remember that your brand is your promise to your consumers that you provide the best in quality and service. Another important aspect of marketing your brand is creating and maintaining a positive social media presence. The initial marketing research you conducted should help you know whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other platform is best for promoting your business to your target audience.
While these basics are the foundation, the pet product industry can show us some other important aspects of building and growing a business.
- Focusing on the importance of up-sales. No matter what pet service or pet product you sell, parents of fur babies will always go looking for something new or something better. Upselling allows you to encourage your loyal consumers to upgrade to more expensive items. Obviously, this works best when your product and customer service have met or exceeded their expectations. If you have sold your consumer a well-designed cat bed and they have had a successful run and now need an orthopedic cat bed for their aging feline, you will have garnered a repeat sale on a more expensive product. Understanding the most effective strategies in upselling will help you grow your business.
- Don’t forget cross-sales. Cross-selling involves offering related products. If, for example, you offer training services for unruly pets, you may also choose to sell an ultrasonic dog control device in your ecommerce store that will assist your customers in practicing the skills you offer in your one-on-one training sessions. An effective marketing strategy may be to discount a product if purchased alongside another or to use suggested sales at the time of checkout, but you may want to master the art of cross-sales using these tips.
- Keep abreast of your industry and stay informed about new advancements in other industries. As a business owner, it’s important to stay current in your industry and in business overall. Sometimes the products being developed in another industry can provide opportunities for your own business. Recently, CBD has hit the mainstream market in a variety of industries. Because the cultivation processes and of CBD are not widely known, understanding it may offer opportunities for pet product brands. While much of the hype might involve how humans may use CBD, the products extracted from hemp, including oils, tinctures, salves, and gummies may be natural alternatives to many pharmaceutical drugs used to assist pets. This type of knowledge may help expand your business by opening new markets and targeting a different consumer demographic.
What are some strategies for scalability that you have found effective in your industry? Feel free to share your ideas below.