Delivering Value with Private Label

A balance of quality and affordability has made Pet Supplies Plus' selection of private-label products quite popular with shoppers over the years.


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While Pet Supplies Plus offers its customers a wide variety of the top pet care brands, the company has also built a robust mix of private-label alternatives in a number of product categories, from house-training pads and rawhide chews to aquarium décor and bird food. It is a well-crafted and curated selection that Derek Panfil, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing, describes as being squarely focused on delivering the high quality that pet owners are looking for, without high prices. 

“We believe that private label has the ability to give value to our neighbors, relative to national brands, but still have the same or better quality than a national brand,” he explains. “We are pet people, and we use the products day in and day out. If we feel like we can make a better product at a cheaper price, we’re going to do that.”

Not surprisingly, this balance of quality and affordability has made the chain’s proprietary PS+ brand quite popular with shoppers over the years. However, the newest private-label venture from Pet Supplies Plus—Redford Naturals dog foods—promises to be a real game changer for the chain. 

Named after Redford, Mich., the town where the first Pet Supplies Plus store opened its doors, the 10-SKU line, which was introduced earlier this year, includes five premium dry food recipes, including three that are grain free. The Grain-Free Chicken & Potato, Grain-Free Duck & Potato, Grain-Free Salmon & Potato, Natural Lamb & Potato and Chicken & Brown Rice recipes all use real meat or fish as the first ingredient and contain no soy, corn or wheat fillers. 

The grain-free varieties are available in four- and 24-lb. bags, with the other two recipes available in four and 28-lb. bags. All of the diets in the line are made in the USA and serve as excellent sources of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

“[Pet owners] are looking for a value in a natural food that doesn’t break the bank, and that’s where we started with Redford Naturals,” says Panfil, describing the impetus behind creating the line. 

Of course, the Redford Naturals line offers pricing that is significantly lower than many of the other premium pet foods on the market, as one would expect from a private-label offering; however, the diets have a look and—more importantly—composition that stands up against even the most widely respected brands in the pet specialty channel.

“When you’re feeding a food, you don’t necessarily want to feel like it’s a private-branded product,” explains Panfil. “You want to feel like the quality is going to be as good or better than any of the national brands out there.”

According to Panfil, Pet Supplies Plus pulled out all the stops to promote the rollout of the Redford Naturals brand, including setting up point-of-sale displays, offering introductory discounts and directly communicating the attributes of the new foods to the chain’s loyal customers. However, the most important factor in the initial success of the line, he says, was getting the company’s in-store employees educated and excited about the brand. 

“We’ve gotten our team members behind it by giving them some great [incentive] to participate in the brand,” he says. “We’ve had some fun with a ‘Go Wild’ contest for team members, who got to write about an adventure they would like to go on with their pet, and then we actually sent some of them on those adventures with some Go-Pro cameras.”

Now, with a successful rollout out of the way, Pet Supplies Plus can get started on the next phase of development for its Redford Naturals brand, which has a lot of obvious potential for the chain moving forward. 

“We have pretty big plans for it over the next couple of years,” says Panfil.

 

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