What Retail Buyers Want: Pet  3/26/2017

As part of their preparation for ECRM’s 60+ EPPS meetings, retail buyers complete a form on the EPPS prep site, indicating the subcategories they are buying for, and on what areas they are focusing their buying efforts.

Based on this information, collected from pet buyers and category managers of more than 100 retail chains, here are a few key areas in which they are focusing for their upcoming category planning efforts.

Natural/Organic & Wellness: Just as the health and wellness trend has taken off among consumers, they are searching for products that met the wellness needs of their pets as well, and buyers and focusing heavily in this area for their pet assortments. These include products made from natural and organic ingredients, grain-free products, and vitamins and supplements to complement this healthier food and provide preventative health.

Impulse Items: People like to surprise their pets with new and unique toys and treats, and to capitalize on this many retailers indicated that they are interested in a variety of one-off items that can be regularly rotated to maintain interest and boost trips to the aisle, particularly with toys and treats that can be easily set up via shippers, clip-strips and POS displays. Seasonal items are also in demand from buyers, as many consumers provide holiday gifts for their pets, or costumes for Halloween. Pet birthday items are also becoming more popular.

Premium/Ultra-Premium: Pet owners increasingly spoil their dogs and cats with the occasional premium item, whether it be a super high-quality rawhide or treats of food made from high-quality ingredients, or that fashionable collar or leash.

Value: The increased interest in premium products doesn’t mean that value items are not part of these buyers’ plans – far from it. While some of the buyers are dollar stores or discounters looking for EDLP items, many are always on the lookout for occasional deals on big name brands, and on some regular value items they can add to their mix to drive regular traffic.

Store Brands: Many of the buyers attending the Pet EPPS noted that they are looking for products to incorporate into their store brand programs – in all of the areas noted above – as a way of providing offerings that are unique for their retail locations.

Other items some buyers mentioned they are on the lookout for are drop-ship capabilities, items that could be included in gift baskets, groupon collaboration, and pet gadgets, such as auto-feeders, toys that can be controlled by mobile apps, and pet cams for monitoring their pets while away.


Joseph Tarnowski

VP Content


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