The Shopping Lifestyle of a Pampered Pet

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Millennials have a projected income of $3.39 trillion this year and are now the primary pet owners at 35%. (Source)

Hi, my name is Janice Lai and I am a Millennial. The picture above is my adopted chihuahua, Prince Stitch Valentino Grimaldi, the First of His Name. Or “Stitch” for short.

At Behaviorally, we are not just researchers – but we are also your consumers. Therefore, to make sure I get the best products at the best value for him as a pet parent, the ideal shopping experience is through a series of omnichannel touchpoints which has me searching online and in-store.

When I shop for dog food or treats, I search vet reviews online and also certain key claims (Organic, Made in USA, etc.). At first, I bought the small bags of food in person to see if which was best for him (what he liked, what worked best for his coat, etc.). Now that he has a favorite, I have an online automatic replenishment delivery scheduled. Once in a while though, he may run out earlier than anticipated, requiring me to go to the local pet store to pick it up. But I will be looking for my brand, so the ability to find the product on shelf is key.

What does this mean for Brands?  They need to grab consumers like me when we’re in this early process through both online via advertising and social media influencers, and in-stores through the store employees giving recommendations, point-of-sale materials, promotions, and packaging claims. Once I settle on a food product for Stitch, that is the food of choice unless there is a recall or health issue over time.

Where brands can shine are treats. I have a few main treats that I like to give Stitch but when I’m in-store, I am constantly checking out what is new to give him something a little extra. Small trial packages, which are the equivalent of samples found at check-out, are great! I am able to be a bit more adventurous but I still look at the small portion samples to make sure that they will be good for him based on pack claims.

In addition, I will shop in my local grocery store so I can cook us a meal (yes, I even make him steak) or give him snacks that are considered “human food” (such as cheese). However, sometimes I will sometimes shop online and use a grocery delivery service to allow me more time to spend at home with Stitch either giving him a bath or a manicure.

With Stitch’s toys and clothing (yes, clothing), I shop or peruse what is available in-store. Due to his small stature, I have to check that the toys and clothes are the right sizes. It’s also easier to test if a toy’s squeak is too loud and obnoxious (I do need my beauty rest). If the store doesn’t have what I need, I’ll check their online shop to get it delivered instead.

For pet parents, our fur babies are family and they matter. Therefore, brands need to reassure consumers that they are giving us the best whether it is online or in stores. The pet parent is the epitome of an omnichannel shopper and brands need to reach them at multiple touchpoints of the shopper journey and experience.

Yes, he is just a dog but he is my dog. In the end, it was all for Prince Stitch Valentino Grimaldi, the First of His Name.

Janice Lai is the Marketing Director of Behaviorally (formerly PRS) and provided this blog post as the Global Senior Marketing Manager of PRS IN VIVO USA in March 2019.
She leads the company’s marketing efforts and has been with them since 2010 since escaping law school. Janice sits on the William Paterson University Dean’s Advisory Board where she studied political science, pre-law, and anthropology.
Ask her for recommendations on the best local restaurants or how she got her mortuary sciences degree.
Follow her on Twitter @iamJaniceLai or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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