Products for Dogs of All Ages
Manufacturers understand that engaging with pet parents who are loyal to their local retailers creates opportunities to forge relationships that will last throughout all life stages.
Keeping pets healthy and happy throughout their lives requires consumers to make wise purchasing decisions regarding the products that will optimize the well being of their animals. Pet-goods manufacturers known for their quality products are able to earn the trust of consumers and, eventually, will see first-time customers turn into long-term clients across every life stage of their animals.
Connecting with pet-parent communities at the local retail level is important for manufacturers, as today’s consumer relies on trusted sources for pet products. With this trust, customers develop a relationship with these retailers, yielding repeat business throughout the life of their pets.
“There’s an intimate buying experience that comes with shopping at neighborhood pet stores, and many of our retailers have their own long-standing relationships with customers,” says Bryan Nieman, brand director of Mequon, Wis.-based Fromm Family Foods, maker of Four-Star Nutritionals. “They build up a level of trust and understand what they sell, so when they make recommendations their customers often take that to heart.”
While pet parents will place greater trust in the opinions of the familiar staff that they know from their trusted local retailers, manufacturers must work hard to retain these consumers and cultivate relationships. As these pet product producers seek ways to attract consumers, and retailers consider the best products to stock on their shelves, they must provide customers with an authentic experience to believe in and trust.
“‘All life stages’ is a claim widely used but rarely verified,” reveals Matt Koss, founder and president of Primal Pet Foods, located in Fairfield, Calif., which makes raw and freeze-dried feline and canine formulas for all life stages. “Primal’s hope for the industry in 2019 is that consumers become more diligent about demanding verification of such claims from the companies they purchase foods from for their companion animals.”
Though retailers can recommend products to their clients, manufacturers must provide clear and honest information to these customers. Pet product manufacturers provide an array of options for customers to choose for their pets as they age, but helping pet parents recognize the ways in which these products will aid animals as they become older is also important.
“Educating pet owners about the health changes of the aging/geriatric pet can be a challenge. Many are not aware that pet’s oral health needs are different from a younger pet,” says Dan Archetti, national sales director at Pet King Brands, Inc. The Westmont, Ill.-based company manufactures Oratene Brushless Oral Care.
When manufacturers want to forge meaningful, long-term relationships with pet parents to help care for animals from their early stages into their senior years, they create resources for their customers.
“The customer service department also seeks to help answer most any questions pet owners have regarding the products and how to achieve optimal results,” explains Archetti.
As a manufacturer of washable pet diapers and urine pads, Pet Parents’ communications and accounts coordinator Klare Price recognizes the importance of creating products that are needed over the course of an animal’s life. By encouraging pet parents to examine how certain goods or product lines will benefit their pets, manufacturers and retailers will help consumers learn about how to keep animals comfortable and healthy.
“One key thing that should be considered is versatility. Is the product going to be just as useful and efficient from when their pet is only a baby to all the way down the road when it hits its golden years?” asks Price, who works at the company’s headquarters in Ankeny, Iowa.
By interacting with and listening to their clients, producers of pet products are able to show that their interest is in providing the most effective solutions for pets. In the interest of remaining consistently reliable as a resource to pet parents and retailers, some manufacturers, such as Pet Parents, advise keeping their service mission clear, regardless of the type of customer they are serving.
“We establish trust with our customers and with our retailers in the same way: we don’t just hear what they are telling us, we actually listen to their questions, comments, concerns, wants and needs, and then we react,” says Price.
Straight From the Source
Sharing the experiences of loyal customers through social media can help elevate a brand to a level of trustworthiness that establishes its products as integral to the life of a healthy pet. When consumers see other pet parents entrusting a brand with their pets’ health from the earliest stages through adulthood, they will be more likely to try these products.
“Our posts focus on education, brand engagement and advocacy among other things,” says Kyle Frautnick, marketing director for Primal Pet Foods. “We utilize user-generated content when possible, which helps showcase our passionate fan base and encourages the creation of more user-generated content.”
In addition to using consumer-generated content as a marketing tool that promotes authentic customer experiences, Frautnick also says the company aids retail partners by linking social content to its store locator, which allows its audience to easily find a local shop to purchase its goods.
Manufacturers are using social media not only to market their products, but also to create a space for their clients to learn from and educate each other. Going beyond the marketing potential of social media, manufacturers can strengthen consumer confidence in their brands simply by remaining accessible for their customers.
“Social media is an excellent tool to engage and interact with our fans, and, along with our customer service lines, continues to be a forum for education to answer questions and help continue to solidify the trust we’ve worked for five generations to earn,” explains Nieman.
Within every neighborhood, pet supply shops bring together neighbors who share a common interest—caring for their animals. Through sharing in the experiences of their customers, while supporting the work of retail partners at a local level, manufacturers can effectively gain the trust of pet parents who want to create the best lives for their pets. PB