The Fanatic Lifestyle

Licensed products can open up a world of opportunities for pet retailers.




While different from lifestyle brands, in which the whole company is centered around a certain interest or set of values, licensed products present another avenue for retailers to connect with their customers on things they’re passionate about. Whether it’s in the world of entertainment, sports or otherwise, there are plenty of options on the market that allow pet owners to include their furry friends in their interests.


According to Chris Wilson, executive vice president for new product development at Petmate, the key is finding areas where pet ownership and a particular fan base have significant overlap. Petmate has seen significant success with its licensed line of WWE merchandise, as well as its Miranda Lambert MuttNation collection, both of which come with very large and passionate fan bases.


“For WWE, their fans are nothing short of rabid for their Superstars and iconic symbols like the Championship belts,” Wilson says. “They actively search out WWE merchandise and will visit a pet specialty retailer carrying the line.


“With MuttNation, it goes beyond just fan appreciation to the good works that Miranda and her Foundation do for homeless pets around the country,” he adds. ”The licenses make sense and work because they are relevant and are related to this part of the pet parent’s life.”


Neil Martin, vice president of sales and marketing for Rico Industries, says dedicated sports fans also present a huge opportunity for pet specialty retailers. Rico offers licensed products for a wide range of sports, including NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and college teams.



“Pet owners are passionate individuals, and pet owners that are sports fans are off the charts with passion for their favorite teams,” Martin says. “Licensed sport pet product creates new opportunities for revenue growth in an eye-catching way.”


To succeed with these kinds of licensed products, it’s essential that retailers make them highly visible in the store, such as near the register or on a dedicated endcap. Customers may not have come to the store on the hunt for a collar with their favorite sports team logo on it, for example, but finding one can spark delight and a quick impulse purchase.


“Successful licensed sport pet sales are impulse purchases made due to the colorful visibility of the product, as customers are not going to the pet shop looking for licensed pet accessories and clothing,” Martin says. “Rather, it needs to grab their attention in an aggressive fashion in the front of the store.”


Wilson agrees, advising retailers to embrace the WWE or Miranda Lambert brand image in creating a vibrant display.


“For both licenses, the more you can create a brand block, such as an endcap, that celebrates the brand, the message and the mission, the better it will do at retail,” he says.


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