Green Grooming

Creating a natural grooming section in a pet store can help the store’s reputation while boosting product sales.


Selling “green” grooming products is a great way to enhance a store’s natural product business and learn more about a trend that is sweeping the nation. Sustainability is the name of the game. Consumers are becoming more and more concerned about the effects that the products they use every day are having on the environment, and now the pet industry’s shampoo, conditioner and parasite-control product manufacturers are addressing these concerns. The following are some great ideas to get retailers started with green grooming products:

The Total Package
When it comes to building a selection of eco-friendly grooming products, the first thing that retailers should look at is packaging. If a product is packaged in plastic bottles, those bottles should be made from recycled materials, or at least be recyclable. Products that come in biodegradable packaging, such as hemp or bamboo, will also make a great addition to a pet store’s natural fare, as will concentrated products. Concentrated products are popular with environmentally conscious shoppers because concentration decreases the amount of packaging needed. And while the composition of a product’s packaging is an important factor to consider, retailers should also be sure to look for packaging that features an earthy, natural aesthetic.

Organic is Green
The standards of the National Organic Program dictate what can and cannot be labeled as an “organic” product. Among the requirements are: the ingredients must be safe for the earth and farm animals used in making the products must be kept in a humane fashion. It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all organic designation. Some products are 100-percent organic, while others will vary in the degree of organic ingredients.

Ingredient Mix

Most eco-minded pet owners will read the ingredients panel on products and stay away from items that include components with long chemical names. Ingredients like herbs and essential oils are generally more attractive to these consumers because they are regarded as earth friendly. Flea- and tick-control products represent one area in which this movement can be observed quite readily. Flea- and tick-control items that eschew chemicals in favor of natural ingredients are gaining sales because pet owners believe them to be safer for their pets and the environment.

Cause-Related Marketing
Products that are affiliated with some type of environmental cause are becoming more popular. Whether it is Earth Justice or save the whales, pet owners like to see that some of their money is going toward a good cause. When a company donates money to a cause, the pet owner believes that the company really cares. However, it is important that retailers do their homework and learn about any causes that are associated with products sold in the store, to be sure that they are reputable organizations.

Dry Grooming Goods
When it comes to grooming products, it’s not just the consumables that can be earth friendly. Brushes can have wood handles, rather than plastic, and should be part of a pet store’s natural grooming product mix, as should combs made from bamboo and bathing mitts made from natural fibers, such as cotton.

Differentiate the Store
The popularity of the eco-friendly movement is no secret; just about every retail segment has caught on to this trend, including grocery stores and mass merchandisers. Therefore, it is important that pet specialty retailers carry different green products than their competitors in order to differentiate themselves.

Green Advertising
Pet retailers will want to drive new customers into the store by aggressively advertising their selection of eco-friendly grooming products. Feature these items in any advertising the store does in the local paper or Pennysaver. Pet stores should also highlight their natural grooming selection in window signs and handouts.

The trend to go green has definitely gained traction, and green grooming items will increase the interest in the category and give retailers more grooming product sales.

Jane R. Bicks, DVM, is new product development director for Trilogy International’s Healthy PetNet division and a veterinarian with over 20 years in the pet industry.

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