A Refresher Course
Retailers have a lot to gain by offering a comprehensive assortment of between-bath sprays and wipes, and marketing their many uses and benefits.
Winter is the time of year when mud, rain, snow and cold make it difficult to keep pets clean, tidy and sweet smelling. Luckily, between-bath sprays and wipes can make it a whole lot simpler.
These handy products can keep a pet looking and smelling good for extended periods of time without a messy bath at home or a time-consuming trip to the groomer. Wipes, sprays, colognes, and waterless and rinse-free cleaners can all be good sellers at any time of year—but especially now.
What is the best way to optimize sales of this category of useful products? Trina Bicknell, vice president of sales for PetEdge, a major manufacturer/distributor of pet products, says, “If your store offers grooming, keep sprays and wipes on display in the grooming area, especially unique bottles and colors that pass the ‘blink test’—something that makes a customer take a second look. The next step after that pause may be a purchase.”
Bicknell also suggests using clip strips to display wipes throughout the store, as well as posting point-of-sale displays that get people thinking. For example, retailers can post signage that poses actionable questions, such as “Have you cleaned your dog’s ears lately?” or “Do you wipe road salt from your dog’s paws?”
It is important, she adds, to appeal to customers’ senses, as well. “Offer seasonal scents—such as pumpkin and sugar cookie during the fall and the winter holidays—and have tester bottles for customers to try, just like the perfume counter in a department store,” says Bicknell.
Crystalyn Guzman, CEO of Aroma Paws, says that coat sprays are a great way to keep pets smelling fresh while also conditioning their coats in between visits to the groomer. “Retailers can increase sales in the clean-up category by offering grooming solutions that the pet owner can use at home,” says Guzman. “Aroma Paws Deodorizing & Conditioning Coat Sprays can be used daily just before brushing to condition and freshen a dog’s coat. The essential oils leave a clean, not-overpowering fragrance that your dog will appreciate too.”
Nature’s Miracle offers a Freshening Spray for dogs in three scents designed to keep pets fresh and clean in between grooming or bathing, as it neutralizes a wide variety of odors. The company also has several wipes for cats and dogs available to appeal to every consumer.
When a pet needs more than a quick wipe, waterless shampoos, which don’t require rinsing, can be an ideal solution. Bio-Groom’s Waterless Bath, which is tearless and alcohol free, is designed to be sprayed on and wiped or toweled off. Bio-Groom also offers shampoos, such as its Groom ’N Fresh shampoo, in retail sizes for use at home. The shampoos can also be paired with a companion spray to use in between baths. The company offers great counter displays designed to increase impulse sales.
Bio-Groom is also introducing a new product this month that is a good fit for the category—Indulge Brushing Aid with Argan Oil. It can be used on a daily basis to keep coat and skin nourished and fresh.
Four Paws is another manufacturer that has waterless shampoo and between-bath sprays, but it also offers solutions for pets that cannot tolerate being wet, such as elderly dogs or a pet that has just had surgery. Magic Coat Instant Dry Shampoo & Deodorant and Magic Coat Dry Shampoo Powder for Dogs and Cats are ideal for freshening up pets, while keeping them dry.
Heidi Neal, co-owner of the Loyal Biscuit Co., an independent retailer with four locations in Maine, uses a hands-on approach to marketing this type of item. “One thing that has helped increase sales of between-bath products is putting some of them in our self-serve dog-wash area so people can use and smell [the product] and see that it could be useful,” says Neal.
It has been documented that people are more likely to purchase an item they have touched. Neal suggests putting samples out on the counter where clients can see and smell them. She also gives products to employees, so they can use them and talk about them with customers.
Sometimes, retailers are too busy to talk to customers one on one to educate them about the value of these products. However, Joe Fucini, spokesperson for Cardinal Pet Care, says effective marketing and merchandising can help sell products even when there are no available representatives on the floor to interface with customers.
“Fortunately, between-bath sprays and wipes are very effective impulse products,” Fucini says, adding that retailers that merchandise them as impulse-buys are “likely to wind up increasing the size of their average sale.
“Viva la Dog Spa wipes accentuate the impulse appeal with Parisian-spa inspired packaging. We have attractive countertop displays, which capture the customer’s attention, so when they’re put out by registers, they’re likely to stimulate impulse sales.”
Fucini recommends stocking sprays and wipes in different areas of the store, not just the grooming section. For example, since customers who purchase these products often own small-breed dogs, why not put a display next to the small-breed toys? This emphasizes the fun aspect of these products.
Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Formerly a pet product expert for PetEdge, she and her husband Glenn now own Two Canines Pet Services in Montville, Maine, which provides grooming, boarding, training and day care services to Waldo County.