Marketing for eCommerce Pet Stores and Online Pet Supplies Retailers

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marketing for pet ecommerce stores

At HM, we love working with eCommerce pet stores and online pet supplies retailers – and not only because so many of us are pet parents ourselves. 

These brands are exciting for another reason: pet care eCommerce is seeing explosive growth, and it won’t slow down any time soon. By 2027, the pet care and supplies market will be worth $87.433 billion, growing at a healthy 12% CAGR.

Pet food, toys, accessories – even clothing & furniture: people are spending more than ever on their animal companions, especially millennials. We’re invested in the success of our pet supplies clients, and we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.

Keep reading to learn more about:

  • The biggest challenges in pet eCommerce (and how to deal with them)
  • A winning email marketing strategy for pet brands
  • How to take your eCommerce pet store multi-channel 

Why is Online Pet Supplies Such a Tough Market?

Let’s begin with the main challenges every eCommerce pet store has to contend with:

One Pet Supplies is an Intensely Competitive Niche

Online pet supplies are big business – and that’s a double-edged sword. More opportunity means more competition, and the pet niche is one of the most competitive. It’s estimated that 1.2% of all online stores cater to the pet niche. That is a staggering number of stores, and it continues to grow. Stores that succeed tend to be the ones who focus on specific product lines and work hard to elbow out their nearest competitors. But whatever strategy you choose, this is a crowded space.

eCommerce Pet Stores Have 2 Audiences

If you’re selling pet care products, you have 2 audiences to appeal to: the buyer (usually human) and the end user (usually not human). Your marketing efforts need to address both. This means showing your audience that:

  • Your products are great for their pet’s wellbeing (this often means longer form, informational content)
  • Your customer experience is great for the human who has to make the purchase

Melding these two into a coherent message is far from easy. This is why monitoring customer reviews is so crucial for pet stores. That’s where you will get the information you need to tailor your offers and improve your products. Recent research into the relationship between customer reviews and positive post-purchase experience revealed just how complex this can be.

The study focused on food and identified the product attributes that most often came up in positive reviews. Among these were: taste, price and appearance. Obviously, the first one (taste) is up to the pet. But the other 2 are judged by humans. Finding the right balance here takes constant testing and eliciting feedback from customers (more on this later).

Pet Owners Have High Expectations 

Related to the 2 audience problem, it’s important to remember that pet owners tend to take these purchasing decisions very seriously. They want to know that you have their pet’s interests at heart, and they expect responsive, efficient customer service. They’re also likely to care about product safety. So, compliance with relevant standards and regulations can be a powerful differentiator that you should include in your marketing outreach.

Over 35% of the People Buying Pet Supplies Online are Millennial 

Millennial audiences continue to show a definite preference for communicating with businesses via email. But they are also increasingly using social media platforms to compare brands. They love Facebook and Instagram, and they use these platforms to guide their buying decisions. For online pet supplies stores, this underscores the need to go multi-channel, especially through UGC ads and other forms of paid media.

Email Marketing Strategies for eCommerce Pet Stores: 3-Point Plan

Before you can leverage social media marketing, it’s crucial to get your email channel performing to its full potential. Here is a 3-point strategy that we have used to kickstart our clients’ email marketing.

Step 1: Create a pre-order option to create hype

This helps to get your audience excited about your product before it lands. You can also use these campaigns to create a sense of scarcity and the “fear of missing out” (FOMO). These emails can be a great place to share information and photos of your production facilities, or your team. All of this helps to ensure a warm welcome for an upcoming product launch.

Step 2: Offer giveaway entries in exchange for customer feedback

As we saw earlier, customer feedback is essential for product optimization for eCommerce pet stores. Giving engaged customers the chance to participate in a giveaway is an effective way to get authentic insights and feedback from people who already know your brand and your products well. In the process, you can boost brand loyalty and gain invaluable data to help your product team.

Step 3: share real-life stories from other pet owners

Everybody loves a personal experience – and most pet parents love talking about their fur babies. User Generated Content (UGC) is one of the bets ways to convert new customers. People trust people more than they trust brands, and content that feels like a personal recommendation from a friend is more powerful than almost any other kind.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Last but definitely not least: create content that focuses on the experiences that pet owners share with their pets. Whether it’s pet food, clothing, or pet care supplies, you want to offer your readers a story. Save detailed product specs for landing pages and post-purchase flows. Most of your content should be about experience – and don’t be shy to get cute!

Here is one of our all-time favorite pet store emails:

online pet supplies email

Make Your Mark with a Full-Service Marketing Agency That Truly Gets Your Niche

As a vibrant, global team of retention marketing experts (many of us with fur babies of our own), pet care eCommerce is one of our favorite verticals. We’re obsessive about helping our clients scale up their retention revenue through our fully managed email, SMS and UGC marketing services.

Hustler Marketing is ready to help you capture more attention and drive more sales through innovative multichannel marketing. Get in touch to talk with our team about your brand, your goals, and how Hustler Marketing can get you there.


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