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July 5, 2016

According to data from the American Kennel Club, nearly 70 percent of dog owners reported that they groom their pets themselves. Only about 26 percent of dog owners rely solely on professional groomers.

For the majority who groom at home and the smaller percentage of dog owners who alternate between professional grooming appointments and at-home care, the single biggest demand driving sales is ease-of-use. Safety is another driving factor, followed closely by price. Dog owners want to be sure that they can use the product safely and effectively, especially when it comes to nail clippers and electric trimmers.

Shampoos and conditioners meet the most basic needs of the at-home groomer. Some customers seek out the simplest, easiest-to-use product, which means a single step that lathers and rinses quickly. Other at-home groomers are doing baths at home out of necessity to treat a specific condition.

When it comes to choosing which bath products to stock, Bobbi Panter, founder of Bobbi Panter Pet Products, believes quality is key.

“Consumers are looking for quality products with quality ingredients that are easy to use at home and have a great result,” Panter said, pointing out that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the ingredients in bath products.

“All ingredients and their functions are listed clearly on the label so consumers know what’s in them and why,” Panter said. “Every one of my shampoos and conditioners are salt free, which makes them easy to rinse, quick to dry and easy on the hands and your pet’s skin and fur. Consumers see instant results and they smell amazing. Because my products are so easy to lather and rinse, smell great and relax the consumer and their pet, it makes the bonding experience really fun for everyone.”

Beyond bathing products, at-home groomers need a variety of tools that are both effective and available at an affordable price point. Required tools range from nail trimmers to clippers and trimmers for different types of coats. These can be a tougher sell because consumers often feel intimidated by professional-looking tools.

has found success in strong packaging with a clear message.

“In response to customer feedback, one of the things we’ve done this year is redesign our consumer packaging so that at-home groomers can make sure that they’re comparing apples to apples when selecting a clipper that works best for their pet,” said Karen Formico, Andis’ vice president of marketing.

“Historically, manufacturers haven’t always made it easy for consumers to understand what they’re buying, which does both the manufacturer and customer a disservice,” Formico said. “So, to make sure that customers are selecting the right clipper or trimmer for their pet, Andis has introduced a new rating scale that shows what tools work best for certain coat types and cutting techniques. For example, the clipper you use on a golden retriever is going to be considerably different than one you would use on a poodle, so our new packaging makes that easier for the consumer to understand.”

The brand’s packaging also includes grooming tips provided by the Andis Grooming Educators to help the customer understand how to use the product.

The brand’s line of at-home grooming products hit every major need.

“Our at-home grooming customers are looking for versatility and ease of use when it comes to Andis’ consumer grooming products,” Formico said. “At Andis, we’re meeting that demand with products like our Easyclip Cordless Li (available in August) which is a super versatile, adjustable blade cordless clipper that gives pet parents the ability to do everything from overall trims in-between visits to the groomer, to clipping around the ears, eyes and paws. We also have a line of excellent at-home grooming tools that includes nail clippers, a self-cleaning slicker brush, deshedding tools, pin brushes and steel combs. Those tools are great for daily use and maintenance.”

Bestsellers include the AGC clipper, EasyClip Grooming Kit, Deshedding Tool, Nail Clipper and Slicker brushes.

In the aisle, creative merchandising can increase sales with unexpected add-ons. At-home grooming provides an opportunity for crossovers with products like water-resistant harnesses for dogs who squirm or anti-anxiety products for owners whose dogs experience anxiety during grooming. Panter pointed out that grooming provides a bonding experience, too, and for dogs who may not love the process, unexpected goodies like treats with educational signage or even consultations with your staff groomers can increase sales.

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