What to Expect at SuperZoo 2019
Jacinthe Moreau, president of the World Pet Association, explains why this year’s SuperZoo is a must-attend event for retailers, pet care professionals and vendors alike.
Every year, SuperZoo sets a new record for number of exhibitors and buyers in attendance. Do you expect the same this year? To what do you attribute this growth?
We’re very optimistic about SuperZoo’s overall growth and projected attendance this year. As you know, the industry itself is on an upward growth trajectory with pet product sales estimated at over $86 billion in 2018. There is a profound connection between pet owners and their pets—so much so, that three out of four pet owners admit they enjoy buying products that pamper their pets.
Interestingly, according to a Statista study, there are now more pet-owning households than there are those with children—some 84.6 million, compared to 52.8 million with kids. Because more people have pets and enjoy purchasing products for them, every market segment in the pet product and pet care industry is experiencing tremendous growth.
SuperZoo’s more than 1,000 established and emerging exhibiting companies allow retailers to discover innovative products and ensure they are prepared to meet this increasing consumer demand with a product mix that will engage and delight their customers. Still, despite SuperZoo’s large footprint and size, the show preserves its intimate, welcoming and personal feeling.
This year’s demand from new exhibitors has been so strong, we had to add a New Exhibitor area. As you know, new product introductions are vital to our industry. Attendees will truly benefit from this added opportunity to discover new products. SuperZoo will also offer an expanded New Product Showcase, which will feature information-rich Investor Panels.
And, to ensure attendees have the tools and information they need to remain competitive, SuperZoo will offer a robust lineup of sessions that will provide insights on business management best practices, marketing trends, pet nutrition, and much more.
This year, SuperZoo will be held in August, which is later than it has taken place over the past couple of years. Is there a particular reason for this timing? Should we expect this timing for future editions of the show?
SuperZoo’s shift to August was based on significant research and evaluation of industry feedback. Our primary goal is to support the needs of the industry; therefore, it’s important that we listen and remain agile—being responsive is important to the success of our community. To ensure that SuperZoo maximizes holiday product launches and optimal seasonal buying cycles, it was necessary to move our dates to August.
Rather than focusing on a singular segment, SuperZoo provides the entire pet product community with a forum for discovering market-ready products, insights from industry-leading experts, and the largest network of peers for idea sharing. This date change will give retailers the opportunity to be the first to see, touch and buy emerging product trends. We also just announced our 2020 dates (Aug. 31-Sept. 3), which will allow us to stay in lockstep with the supply chain and continue to take advantage of this optimal timing.
Each edition of SuperZoo features a well-rounded educational program. What are some of the key features of this year’s program?
Forward-thinking, actionable education continues to be a flagship offering at SuperZoo. Retail Minded has noted that the No. 1 reason to attend trade shows is to gain knowledge and exposure to new trends, products and resources that are available for retail businesses. Trade shows are a great way to learn about what’s trending and what your company needs to implement right now—all in an efficient and affordable platform.
We are pleased to provide customized content that will help attendees from each industry segment gain new retail strategies. This year’s event will have sessions led by experts specializing in four content areas—Retail, Grooming, Service Industry and Animal Wellness.
Honestly, with more than 85 hours of education, it’s hard to highlight just a few sessions! They’ve all been designed to supply attendees with tools to refine their business acumen and learn new best practices, which will help them set themselves up for success in an ever-changing retail landscape. That said, with CBD product and food offerings building momentum, we have added sessions on the trade show floor and within our education line up. Attendees should plan on attending CBD For Our Pets: What You Need to Know and the Impact and Future of CBD in the Pet Industry.
What can professional groomers expect to find in the Groomer’s Court section of the show floor this year?
SuperZoo has become the industry’s biggest stage for pet groomers, with grooming professionals from all over the world coming to showcase their skills and compete for close to $50,000 in winnings. The talent and creativity is mind-blowing. If you haven’t visited this show floor destination, you are truly missing out!
SuperZoo also leads the industry in education and product discovery for grooming professionals. Attendees can find everything from clippers to shed-reducing shampoo to grooming technology innovations here. As Pet Business has often reported, adding grooming services to a pet retail business can increase customer traffic and open a significant revenue stream. SuperZoo offers many sessions to support retailers who manage their own grooming businesses and provides information on how to bring grooming services into an existing operation.
Last year, SuperZoo introduced the Pet Tech Center and Made in the USA Showcase. Can you tell us a bit about the concept behind these show floor “neighborhoods?” How were they received last year? Can we expect any changes this year?
As the premier industry event, it is our responsibility to identify and showcase emerging developments, as well as provide retailers with the resources they need to stay ahead of growing trends. The Pet Tech Center and the Made in the USA Showcase allowed buyers to identify ways to bring highly sought after technology and quality American-made products to their stores. These showcases were highly trafficked last year and brought greater attention to two trends—first, the need to highlight innovation, automation, artificial intelligence and products that appeal to today’s highly connected pet owners; and second, consumers’ increased desire to shop local.
At this year’s show, we are excited to unveil one large trend-focused hub, which will house both of these product discovery zones, as well as the New Product Showcase. This will make finding new products and trends even more convenient and efficient.
In addition to showcasing innovative new products, we’re also bringing relevant content and education sessions to the hub, which will provide retailers with the tools and confidence they need to capitalize on emerging trends. I’m also excited to allude to our new, curated investor content and meet-ups, which will appeal to product developers and provide additional value to this area. We’ll share more information soon, stay tuned!
Every year, SuperZoo features a live concert by a popular band or recording artist. What value does this bring to the show? Who will be this year’s headliner?
I recently read a blog article that reinforced what I have always believed about the importance of trade show networking. The article said that trade shows present a unique opportunity for professionals in similar arenas to gain in-person access to one another, make memorable and beneficial connections, have constructive conversations, exchange ideas and contact information and even form business partnerships. I truly believe that networking is one of the most undervalued aspects of attending a trade show. Where else can like-minded people from across the country (and often across the globe) engage in meaningful conversations about their experiences and gain insights from people who intrinsically understand their perspective? Let’s also not forget the added value of connecting and enjoying prime face time with existing vendors and clients.
The opportunity to network with the industry is one of my favorite aspects of SuperZoo and the annual concert is a perfect opportunity to connect in a fun and relaxed setting. We’re excited to have REO Speedwagon this year, who have earned numerous gold and platinum records over the course of their career. You will find me and the entire SuperZoo team at the concert singing along to “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
Will SuperZoo be debuting any new features this year? If so, please explain.
During SuperZoo, we will be rolling out an array of retail-focused tools to help retailers be more efficient, stay ahead of emerging consumer trends and streamline their businesses. These tools will add to the library of resources available to retailers produced by the World Pet Association (WPA) and will illustrate the annually produced, Retail Report’s recommendations in a tangible, understandable and immediately actionable way. These new offerings will provide an avenue for retailers to engage with consultants and get one-on-one support, as well as specialty reports that will allow retailers to use the data they already have to improve their product mix.
WPA is committed to supporting the industry year-round, and we are eager to unveil state-of-the-art programs and service offerings at this year’s SuperZoo and throughout the coming year. As the industry grows, so does our commitment to championing the needs of consumer-facing pet businesses.
Do you have any advice for buyers on how they can make the most of their time at SuperZoo?
Preparation is key! But even before you begin organizing meetings and coordinating an education schedule, you must register online. This will save you time standing in line onsite and save you money, since it’s free to register in advance. I also suggest booking travel and hotels early to ensure that you get reasonable rates and accommodations within the show block.
Once these things are taken care of, I suggest you visit SuperZoo.org to review the education sessions, exhibitor list and the floorplan. Sessions start on the Monday before the show floor opens, so everyone can take advantage of the pet industry’s top educational offerings. I recommend you sign up for sessions early to guarantee your spot. The exhibitor list includes contact information, so you can make appointments. And as I indicated before, networking is important to your overall show experience. Be sure to put the Networking Reception and the concert on your calendar and call your network of industry peers before the show to schedule some collaboration and information sharing time—maybe over coffee.
Of course, don’t forget to download the show app, which will help you stay on track and organized during the show as well as connected through the Chatbot feature.
Do you have any tips for how exhibitors can stand out and drive business at the show?
Thank you for asking—we’re so focused on ensuring that attendees have everything they need, we talk less often about what exhibitors need to enjoy a positive ROI on their show presence.
The SuperZoo website features a downloadable exhibitor marketing toolkit, which includes free marketing tools that can be customized to promote each exhibitor’s participation before, during and after the show. Spreading the word about their participation at SuperZoo is one of the simplest and most impactful things an exhibitor can do. The toolkit includes email templates, social media posts, PR tools and media best practices, marketing checklists and more. You will be happy you used them!
What does the future hold for SuperZoo?
SuperZoo is and will continue to be the gathering place for members of the pet product community. I intentionally use the word “community,” which by definition means “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” As a collective group working together to strengthen and grow the industry, we are a community—a welcoming, inclusive, community of hard-working, dedicated exhibitors, retailers and those that influence the industry by virtue of their role.
As my team and I plan for the future of SuperZoo, we will be mindful and vigilant about bringing emerging trends to life. The show will continue to provide an immersive and experiential opportunity to discover cutting-edge content presented by leading industry authorities and subject matter experts.
We’re excited by what the future looks like and steadfast in our goal of producing the most relevant platform for product discovery, collaboration, insights and networking.