If you’ve had pets yourself – or know people who have – you understand just how much people enjoy and appreciate their animals.
With that enjoyment comes the fact pet owners are happy to spend copious amounts of money making sure their pets are well looked after, happy and healthy.
This is brilliant news for those operating eCommerce stores in the pet niche.
You might be running a pet eCommerce store because you love animals just as much as others do, or perhaps you just know it’s a lucrative industry to be in.
But how well your store performs depends largely on how well you’re able to market it.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at a number of different marketing tips and techniques you can implement to ensure pet owners choose your store to buy their pet-related products from!
Ready, set, fetch!
What’s most important to your customers?
Before you begin to sell anything, you need to understand exactly who you’re selling to. In the case of running an eCommerce store for animals, you’re not just selling to the owners, but you’re selling to the pets as well. Granted, the pets have less of a say in terms of what they buy, but their opinions are important.
If you sell “healthy” dog treats” and someone’s dog throws up every time it eats one, you’re unlikely to have a repeat or even happy customer.
In these situations, you should be looking out for what your potential customers want the most. If you’ve already sold products, look through your own data to see which products are most popular and have the least amount of returns or complaints.
If you’re yet to sell products, conduct keyword research to find out what people really care about.
You can use software like Ahrefs or SEMrush to conduct your keyword research, or you can conduct it manually, for free, using just Google.
You’ll see in the screenshot above Google has finished my searches based on what other users search for. You can do the same for other animals to see what people are actively looking for.
What you’re looking for here are trends for what customers are looking to learn/buy/acquire. When you have this knowledge, you can use it to better serve them.
Another great (free) tool is Answer the public. All you have to do is enter a keyword you want to track. In this example, we’ve used the keyword dogs.
We’re presented with a number of different questions that people have searched for in the past on various search engines.
Once you have a clearer idea of what your potential customers want or desire, you can better craft your marketing towards them.
Don’t forget about social media
When it comes to animals – social media is a great asset. In fact, there are multiple animals who have millions of followers.
This cat has over 2.5million followers and even has its own book deal.
This dog is regularly seen hanging out with celebrities and has over 8.9million followers. If it wasn’t obvious before – people love their pets.
If you want to market your products, using social media can offer you a great advantage. The added benefit of social media is the number of people you’re able to reach. It gives you an opportunity to connect with potential pet owners beyond transactional conversations.
- Upload a photo and give pet owners the opportunity to talk about their pets
- Hold a competition where people can win specific products from your online store in exchange for liking your photos and tagging their friends.
- Offer your social media followers special deals to thank them for keeping up with your social channels
- Ask people to caption your humorous photos with the chance to win exciting prizes.
You can also participate in hashtag events on social media. For example, there are over 5 million posts on Instagram by users who have used #pug.
To find lucrative hashtags, use the app to search for specific terms within your own industry and use them on relevant pictures. You could try searching for #siamese if you sell products for Siamese cats.
Social media is a great way to market your store because it provides you with an opportunity to connect with your audience in an organic way.
Some eCommerce vendors simply use their Instagram to promote their newest products and others use it to curate funny animal posts their audience might be interested in. This second approach is effective as it helps vendors increase the number of people their posts are visible too.
Loyalty is key
The benefit of selling products in the pet industry is in most cases, owners make repeat purchases. A dog might destroy a ball and need a new one. A cat might run out of its litter and need a new bag.
Because of the repeatable nature of pet-related products, there is a unique opportunity to entice customers to your store through the use of loyalty programs.
Pets at home, a UK-based pet retailer has a VIP loyalty membership for shoppers to use. After their first purchase, shoppers will receive a 10% off voucher for online purchases as well as a 10% off voucher for purchases made in-store too.
Bark Shop also provides pets with their own loyalty scheme called the Destroyers Club. This initiative encourages pet owners to allow their pets to destroy their toys and document the process in order to win points and rewards.
This is an effective marketing tactic as it adds a sense of gamification to the entire process. There is even a leaderboard for pets who have amassed a significant number of points.
It’s no secret that people love taking photos of their pets – the Instagram accounts we highlighted earlier in this articles are the testament to that.
So if you do enroll a loyalty program onto your eCommerce store, think about ways you can incorporate pet owner’s desires to take photos of their pets by showcasing these pets either on your website or within your own social media accounts.
Loyalty programs are super effective because it shows shoppers that you’re keen to give back. They are also much more likely to continue shopping with you if they know that their purchases lead to rewards or points for them to use.
Visual elements will be crucial for your marketing
At the end of the day, most people who sell products in the pet industry are selling similar things. So how does a buyer differentiate say, one dog brush from another?
Through visual imagery and videos. Images and videos are a great way to showcase your product in a real-life case and help shoppers understand how it works, why it’s better than your competitors or what makes it good value for money.
Let’s look at two examples to illustrate this point. Suppose if you wanted to buy a new brush to help groom your dog.
You do a simple Google search of “Dog grooming glove” and see the following two options:
The first has a number of different images to show not only the glove in action but how much hair the glove is able to remove. I.e. after looking at these photos the potential customer has a clear idea of the kind of results they can expect.
Compare that, then, to the second image.
The only image this listing shows is what the glove looks like on a hand. It doesn’t show how much hair it can remove. It doesn’t show any images of happy dogs and cats using the product.
So if you were on the fence regarding which glove you should buy – or even if you should buy a glove in the first place, you’re much more likely to choose the first option, given the fact you can see the entire use-case of the glove through the photos provided by the seller.
Pet e-commerce marketing – final thoughts
Pet owners are happy and willing to spend money on their pets, giving you a brilliant opportunity to market your pet-related store in such a way that attracts people to your store, generates new sales and keeps them coming back again and again for more.
In this blog post, we’ve looked at why you need to understand your pet owners and think about the types of things they care about; why you should make extra effort to go above and beyond on social media through interaction with your current and potential customers; how encouraging loyalty will also increase your profits and sales and why you should think carefully about the number of images and videos you use to help describe your products.
Making small changes in line with the strategies we’ve listed above will go a long way to the increased success of your eCommerce pet store.
What are you waiting for? What marketing strategies have you used for your pet store?