Pets are perceived as integral members of the family, with half the population owning one. With many pets fed more than once a day, retailers have the opportunity to drive sales in petcare by stocking a core range that meets customer demand. 

As well as stocking food, retailers can increase sales by stocking other pet-related products. If you are worried about space, you can make the most from the category by using clip strips to showcase a range of toys or collars.

Liz Wood, Purina market development organisation director, says it’s important to make sure the fixture is well laid out to drive purchases. 

“Making sure products are organised into wet and dry pet food, as well as pet snacks, will make shopping the category easier for consumers,” she says. 

Use your EPoS data to determine bestsellers, and place them at eye level to satisfy shoppers who value speed and convenience. Somerset retailer Ray Monelle knows his customers buy petcare products as a top-up item.

“As there’s a pet shop a short walk away from us, we only stock the necessary products bought on impulse – and offer an own-label option for customers on a budget,” he says. 

To drive sales further, consider stocking price-marked petcare products to show customers they are receiving the best value. 

Stocking multipacks of pouches, such as Felix, can drive sales and bring in new customers. Take retailer Kopi Kalanathan, of Costcutter in Kirk Sandall, South Yorkshire, who says stocking 20kg bags of pet food has helped his sales. “Petcare is a really important range in my store. Although the margins aren’t as good, the big 20kg bags of food sell really well, so retailers should definitely consider stocking these,” he says. 

Despite pouches seeing a rise in popularity over recent years, Kalanathan says tins are still more popular with his customers. “I own three stores, and tins are the most popular options for pet food. I stock my pet food in a separate area, so customers know where to find it – it also makes life easier for my staff,” he says. 

Trends

Healthy eating and premiumisation are on the rise, so it comes as little surprise these behaviours are mirrored in petcare. 

“The role of pets in our lives has evolved from animal to pet to family member, and pets are treated with the same expectations about the quality of food and services that pet owners would choose for themselves,” says Chris Rodi, marketing manager at Mars Petcare

“As such, consumers are placing high value on healthy, fresh food in both their own diets and their pets’, with more than 60% saying that the quality of their pets’ food is as important as their own.”

Shoppers are aiming for richer ingredients and a higher nutritional value, and are likely to pay that little extra to meet their needs. As shoppers switch to new habits, retailers should consider using PoS where possible to highlight healthy trends in the petcare category. 

Russell Goldman, Rayburn Trading’s buying director, says premium and natural products are in high demand. “A growing concern that could affect the pet market is the rise in obesity rates. To counter this, the humanisation of pet food products has been a focus of attention for many suppliers,” he says. 

Consider stocking alternative products, such as vegetable-flavoured dry foods, to maximise sales and meet shopper needs. 

With plastic a top subject of discussion in the UK at the moment, it’s no surprise that suppliers are redesigning their packaging in a bid to help the environment. 

Thomas Lee, Henry Bell’s managing director, says reducing plastic is at the forefront of businesses and consumers’ minds. 

“We want to inspire our customers and the growing number of ethical consumers to recycle where they can and cut down on the use of plastic,” Lee says. 

Edinburgh retailer Abdul Qadar says cutting down on plastic usage in products is a good thing. “With plastic a hot topic of discussion at the moment, it’s good to see most of my pet food products are plastic-free, which is great for the environment,” he adds.

Alternative products to drive sales 

Animal treatments
Although you may not beat multiples on price, you can beat convenience competitors by offering a selection of animal treatments, which will encourage additional purchases and drive sales from consumers making emergency purchases.

Pet toys
Pet toys don’t have to take up shelf space and are a simple way to boost sales. Invest in a clip strip and stock a couple of cat and dog toys by your petcare range – then analyse your sales data to monitor the effect. 

Collars
Last year, there was an increase in the population of dogs to approximately nine million. With the petcare market worth more than £3bn, retailers can increase sales by offering a range of collars to become a one-stop destination for dog owners.

Treats
Treats for pets are an important way to keep customers returning. If your store is in a residential area, stocking up on treats is a key way to increase petcare spend.

Vital additions to your petcare range 

Bakers dog pouch

A popular product with dog owners, Bakers dog pouch is aimed at retailers and shoppers transitioning from can to pouch. 

Sheba Fresh Choice

The Sheba Fresh Choice range is designed for smaller meals spread throughout the day. The 50g pouches equate to one meal, each designed so that cats can have a fresh meal from a new packet every time. Available with an RRP of £1.99, each pack contains six pouches in a variety of flavours.