The future of pet product retailing—and all of retail, for that matter—heavily relies on the ability to successfully adapt to the growing demand for online shopping opportunities. While this category seems to be dominated by internet-only outlets, Pet Pros is working on making its own mark.
"To say e-commerce can be tricky for the small, independent pet retailer is an understatement, especially when competing against big players with seemingly unlimited resources," says Pet Pros’ general manager, Georgann McConn.
So, how does Pet Pros make it work?
Well, at first, it didn’t. The company started a small e-commerce site a few years ago, but quickly realized the pitfalls: price cutting, outrageous shipping costs and maintaining the content for the website, which turned out to be the biggest issue.
"It was extraordinarily difficult to get descriptions, images, ingredients and guaranteed analysis," explains McConn. Pet Pros went to its distributors first for that data, but the formats that the information came in was virtually useless, if it came in at all. After struggling with content and getting push-back from its stores, the company ultimately shut down its original site in 2014.
Never one to give up, the team attended the Pet Food Experts local trade show in 2018 and was introduced to Berenice Giannini and her e-commerce platform, etailpet.
"We saw the potential right away: Bere and her team maintain the complete content on all the products we carry, descriptions, images, ingredients and guaranteed analysis," says McConn. With a platform that was structured for individual stores to process orders, thus recognizing online sales specific to each store, the company finally found its e-commerce footing.
Another added bonus of etailpet? The company developed its own point-of-sale system that’s able to deliver a seamless, omni-channel experience for guests and employees through an intuitive and easy-to-use system, which includes comprehensive inventory management, "smart-order" purchasing and a seamless in-store and online experience for guests.
"Pet Pros remains committed to the neighborhood shopping experience," McConn explains. "With etailpet, we are able to extend our ‘neighborhood’ to e-commerce."
And the rest, as they say, is history.