Winning eCommerce Strategies for Pet Brands
You got into this because you love your dog, cat, horse, or other family member with four legs or feathers. Now, you find yourself in a HIGHLY competitive market where product saturation is an issue for almost every product that you can think to sell. What do you do now?
Editor’s note: As a dog owner, I’m going to speak mostly from that perspective. We’ve also done more work with dog-centered brands than feline-centric ones. To my cat-loving friends, I’m sorry in advance.
Succeed in eCommerce as a Pet Brand
When it comes to creating a strategy for pet brands, some of the core eCommerce principles still run true. We have a number of great eCommerce marketing tips that we’ve gone through before but, there are certainly some tactics that have unique facets for pet brands.
We’ve worked with a number of pet brands over the years and have seen a lot of success using these tactics. We’ll tell you about all of them but NDAs are even more important in such a saturated market.
Cultivate Breed Ambassadors
When it comes to any eCommerce brand, we suggest looking at creating a group of ambassadors. These are different than affiliates as ambassadors’ main focus isn’t selling more of your product. Their focus is on showcasing your products in the best light and informing others about their experience. They also have a high focus on creating content.
When it comes to speaking to pet owners, diversity has a different look. If you’re a dog brand, focus on curating a roster of ambassadors that represent different sizes and temperaments, depending on which is more relevant to your product.
If you’re looking for a brand that does this well, check out the Stella & Chewy’s Instagram feed.
Run Segmented Advertising
Once you have some ambassadors that represent your core groups of pets that you want to market to, it’s time to segment out those ads to speak to those audiences. Don’t target people that love Chewy. You’re looking for smaller targeting around products and brands that are also marketed specifically to the pet owners that you’re looking to reach.
If people love Doug the Pug and the Pugdashians, you can bet that creative that features a pug is going to resonate well with them. There’s a higher likelihook that they’ve chosen the #PugLife. If you serve them up ads with a majestic Greyhound or a German Shepherd, they probably won’t feel like this brand is for them.
Similar to human-based campaigns, pet owners want to see themselves and their pets in the marketing.
Focus on Long Tail Searches
Whether you’re working on your Search Engine Optimization or Paid Search Marketing, don’t try to rank for ‘best dog toys’ because Chewy, Bark Box, and a slew of non-specific blogs are going to dominate that space. You’ll waste a lot of time and effort trying to rank for those terms.
Instead, focus on long-tail searches that your products are THE BEST answer. Rather than ‘best chew toy’, think about creating pages and Google search ads where you are served up for ‘best vet approved chew toy for large dogs’. In the first instance, we don’t know anything about the person searching. In the second, we know that they care about the chew being healthy, large enough for a large breed, and possibly into something that they can digest easily. You have a whole list of points to focus on.
Partner with Retailers
People forget to reach out to the retail stores that sell their products. In many cases, these retailers are doing their own marketing and would LOVE to feature your products if you reached out to them for a co-marketing campaign.
If you’re willing to split an ad spend, you could use your local retailers to push your products out to their customer base. This is especially handy if you sell into companies like Pet Supplies Plus that have dedicated local traffic.
Pro tip: If your product is sold on Chewy, they’ll do the remarketing for you. Their automated retargeting campaigns will serve up any product that users visit to try to convert them. If you sell your products there, you can take advantage of this automation.
Reputation matters. Pets are members of the family and I’m not going to let them put anything in their mouth that doesn’t have a sterling reputation. For that reason, it’s important to constantly work on getting new reviews and user-generated content of pets happily using your products.
In order to garner reviews, you can use a platform like SocialJuice to run contests and review acquisition campaigns. We run giveaways as well as surprise-and-delight campaigns on SocialJuice for many of our clients and it is a highly effective tactic for review and UGC acquisition.
Don’t Be Afraid to Compare
If you have a product that is better than your competitors or has features that they don’t, let the people know. When in doubt, don’t mention them by name. You can create charts where people can figure out to whom you’re referring.
This is a saturated market. If your product has some true Unique Selling Points, don’t shy away from them. Pet owners are comparison shopping all of the time and they need to know which product might be the best decision for them.
In the pet space, pricing can be deceptive as well. If you’re providing more for less, showcase it. If you’re at a premium price, justify it.