In 2018, one location hosted nearly 1,200 exhibitors and over 3,500 booths, featured more than 3,000 new product launches and drew approximately 6,500 of the most qualified pet product buyers in the industry. There’s no question about Global Pet Expo’s impact on the pet industry, with retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers and other qualified professionals from all over the world amassing to learn about the latest and greatest pet products.
“Global Pet Expo is an extremely well-run and organized event allowing [attendees] to preview products, discuss programs and needs to ensure we are all successful in keeping the industry thriving for years to come,” said Jeff Fowler, director of sales for Pet Qwerks.
“No other industry event brings the variety of buyers to one place like Global,” added Ian Weiss, vice president of sales for Arlee Pet Products.
With a venue the size of 16 football fields, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of seemingly endless pet products. It’s crucial that each company, old and new, cuts through the noise, having their products and booth stand out in the crowd.
The goal? Heighten the senses and be the one that people remember and talk about well after the show is over. So how can this goal be achieved?
Nutrition products should reflect what pets need both internally and externally. Supreme Pet Foods makes one of the widest ranges of species-specific foods in the small pet category. Having a long history in this sector, Supreme knows what small pets need and prefer, from texture to taste.
“We believe that offering our foods underlines a retailer’s expert credentials in small pet feeding, and we work hard to support them with materials and tools they need to help them grow their business,” said Claire Hamblion, marketing manager for Supreme Pet Foods.
Global not only gives the company a chance to catch up with retailers to learn their wants and needs, it also gives the company a chance to share with them the latest nutritional knowledge that might affect their recommendations in the future. Supreme uses innovative and creative designs to stage its booth but also ensures that its products are clearly showcased for attendees to inspect properly in a space created to have conversations. Supreme plans to showcase its Selective brand in a free-standing display unit with samples and coupons. Alongside it, Supreme also plans to have its Selective Naturals treats range. This ‘holistic’ approach reflects Supreme’s business strategy and advice for attendees.
“Be organized and strategic. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all about bulk bag and volume sales when it comes to profit,” Hamblion explained. “Make a note of what you want to achieve, too—is it faster turnover and great margins, innovation or the ‘wow’ factor? Look at the products that will help you achieve this and that align with your own store ethos.”
Knowing brand ethos is the advice that West Paw also gives to its customers. Its line of toys are durable, safe and deepen the bond between humans and pets. This is how the company offers new innovations to its broad assortment of toys for dogs, from super strong chewers to those who snuggle their toys.
“We believe so much in the durability of our toys that we stand behind our products—toys, beds, leashes and collars—with a guarantee,” said Spencer Williams, CEO and president of West Paw.
The company plans to launch its new toy, Skamp, as well as host a dog behavior event with international dog behaviorist and West Paw export manager Rita Viel, who will bring her expertise to the U.S. for the first time with a presentation on how to use play and rewards as training tools for dogs. In addition, West Paw will have a special focus on its Jaunts and Strolls line of collars and leashes, which was introduced to help educate retailers, and will also offer free shipping at its booth on orders over $50.
“Trade shows can be overwhelming with people, manufacturers, meetings and noise. We think attendees should learn how to know what they’re after,” Williams explained. “When you’re able to narrow down what you want, you’ll have an easier time sorting through the clutter and a better chance at building your own brand.”
Building a brand is how Pet Qwerks provides toys and a full line of Made in the USA chews. With a mission to make products that are safe while enriching the lives of pets, the company works hard to exceed customer expectations with products that are unique, innovative and interactive.
“We are excited about every toy and chew we offer to our customers,” Fowler said. “Our original toy, the Babble Ball [for dogs and cats], continues to be a flagship product for our business today.”
At the event, Pet Qwerks enjoys the opportunity to share its great story and show its complete line of products. The team listens to the needs of customers to help create the new products it plans to introduce. By keeping things simple and delivering a consistent message, Pet Qwerks’ goal is to have the right booth presentation that creates excitement and aims to add value and deliver incremental sales revenue to every customer. Its newest items are always front and center both in the booth and in the new product area. This year, Pet Qwerks expanded its Made in the USA chew assortment, offering many new sizes and flavors. The company also plans to introduce its new toy, the FlipStick, which is designed to give dogs a safe and exciting workout.
“We encourage everyone attending to wear comfortable shoes since they will be walking for miles,” Fowler joked. “[But] attendees can get great ideas and learn from the many seminars conducted to help bring back both big and small ideas to their business.”
The idea of enriching the lives of pets led to Oxbow Animal Health’s new Enriched Life line. This collection puts the four key instinctual activities of small pets—exploring, playing, chewing and hiding—at the forefront of products that provide daily mental and physical activities for the happiest and healthiest lifestyles. Each product is made of safe, natural materials, including untreated wood, natural fibers and vegetable-based dyes.
“Through Enriched Life, we are excited to bring an added level of purpose to the hard goods aisle that will help pet parents meet the essential daily enrichment and care needs of their pets,” said Lucas Stock, communications manager for Oxbow Animal Health.
For Oxbow, Global has been a highlight for many years, continuing to be the show that the company looks forward to the most throughout the year. Oxbow plans to unveil an all-new booth, featuring a new design and layout from previous years. The company intends to showcase its Enriched Life line of natural chews, engaging activity centers, nature-inspired habitats and premium care items. It also plans to showcase its new additions to its Garden Select collection of fortified foods, including new young formulas and larger sizes.
“Global Pet Expo is a great opportunity to showcase new product innovations that make the pet parenting experience more enriching and fulfilling. [It] is large in scope, but it offers an ideal opportunity to connect one-on-one with existing and potential customers alike,” Stock explained. “Make sure to immerse yourself in all the innovations the pet industry has to offer.”
Immersing in innovations is how ThunderWorks has become one of the best-known brands in the industry. The company is all about bringing real innovation to calming and walking solutions for pet parents that prioritize ease of use and safety. This has allowed the company to expand its lineup of proven calming solutions from its more notable ThunderShirt, including supplements, essential oils and more.
“Our ThunderShirt product line created a whole new category that has been helping millions of dogs and cats for nearly 10 years,” said Phil Blizzard, CEO and founder of ThunderWorks. “We do a tremendous amount of consumer-facing marketing to educate pet owners about our solutions and drive them into stores across the country.”
This method also benefits the company at Global. For ThunderWorks, the event provides a great forum for introducing its new products, touching base with current customers and meeting and educating potential new customers. But having a well-known product in the industry means coming up with tactics to continue to draw in attention in a sea of new innovations. So the company focuses more on creative engagement than cute pet pictures for a booth that screams something different. Not only does it maintain ThunderShirt’s reputation, it also highlights any new products the company is bringing to the table.
“There is no better show to see what’s popular or new in the pet industry. We never stop innovating,” Blizzard emphasized. “If we are getting close to launching a new product, chances are you will see it first at Global.”
Because Global is one of the two main industry trade shows in the country, Pet Lifestyle and You (P.L.A.Y.) views it as one of the best avenues for it to showcase its new products, meet new leads and catch up with existing customers. P.L.A.Y.’s products, like its line of cat scratchers, feature a variety of configurations for different pet preferences and come in shapes, colors and stylish fabrics that integrate seamlessly into any home.
“We have some wonderful new [products] designed to get tails wagging and pet parents Instagramming,” said Sarah Johnson, sales coordinator at P.L.A.Y.
P.L.A.Y. enjoys creating unique or interactive aspects within its booth to showcase its products and draw people in, with its team ready to answer questions and guide attendees through its story and product assortment. Because P.L.A.Y. always takes part in the new product showcase, its debuts are scheduled a year ahead, with the products that premiere at the shows based on its data-driven decision-making process. This year, the company plans to showcase its expanded Scout & About Outdoor Collection, its whimsical Willow’s Mythical Plush Toy Collection and its Back to School Plush Toy Collection. P.L.A.Y. also plans to debut its new California Dreaming Memory Foam beds for the first time at Global.
“Global Pet Expo is a huge show with a lot of ground to cover, so definitely go in with a game plan,” Johnson advised. “And don’t forget your business cards!”
Similarly, Arlee Pet Products uses its learnings from the Home Fashions world to incorporate the latest trends in home décor and marry it with the needs of the pet specialty industry. Arlee fills the majority of its products in its own factory, guaranteeing that the retailer is able to offer a factory fresh-looking product all the time.
“We don’t want to offer the same things that our competitors do,” Weiss explained. “We want to always try to meet the needs of not only our retail partners but the needs of the pets and pet parents who shop at their stores.”
Arlee feels its products are the best advertisement. It is the company’s belief that nothing is as effective as the reaction its products get. So Arlee’s booth is not only visually pleasing, but its products call out to be touched. Arlee always has something in the booth that is comfortable and makes its presentation as welcoming as possible. This year, Arlee plans to showcase its new CatNapz and SleepyPet products as well as its new direct import products for international buyers. Arlee will also present its newly improved Bella Orthopedic Mattress Beds.
“There is no better time to network and trade ideas than when you are at a trade show or industry conference,” Weiss emphasized. “We are all in this together, so let us share in each other’s success.”
Success and safety go hand-in-hand. As pioneers of safe, non-toxic and effective pet products, Oxyfresh is all about helping pets have fresh, clean mouths, and healthy, soft skin while keeping homes odor-free. Thanks to its unique Oxygene ingredient, its formulas are crafted so that pet owners can always feel good about doing the best for their pets.
“It’s really about what is trending and how you fill that need,” said Melissa Gulbranson, vice president of marketing for Oxyfresh. “This is an incredible time for Oxyfresh and we’re excited to kick off the year at Global Pet Expo.”
Oxyfresh has been putting quite a bit of planning into its brand strategy for the event. From the details to standing out at the event to generating a buzz beforehand, Oxyfresh is all about making the most of the tools Global offers, including media kit promotions, email promos, etc. The company also believes another important aspect at the event is to have fun in the booth, as this will create more traffic. At Global, Oxyfresh plans to launch two new products: its Pet Dental Spray and its Pet Dental Teeth Cleaning Kit. These products highlight the importance of pet dental care, educating those the company makes connections with at the event.
“One of the best advantages of Global Pet are the relationships you establish,” Gulbranson stated. “It’s important to give yourself time to walk the show first [because] you’ll find at least an additional 20 new connections.”
Safety also means health benefits, which TropiClean keeps in mind with its products inspired by the tropics. Its main ingredient, coconut, has undeniable health benefits and is also gentle and effective in cleaning pets. Coconut’s proteins reduce dandruff and dry skin while maintaining the natural moisture balance of the pet’s skin and coat. This aspect of TropiClean’s brand is increased at events like Global.
“Global Pet Expo does a fantastic job of providing marketing tools to increase our brand and company exposure before and after the show through their exhibitor services,” said James Brandly, associate trade marketing manager for TropiClean.
TropiClean also works closely with its publication partners to provide press releases, article contributions and company news leading up to the event. At Global, the company showcases the majority of its products while also introducing new and upcoming products. This year, TropiClean plans to present its new Fresh Breath by TropiClean Dental Trial Kit as well as its new TropiClean Natural Flea & Tick Collars and Spot-On Treatment. TropiClean wants attendees to visit the booth and walk away feeling educated about its products.
“We’re attending the show to spend time with our connections and share with the industry what we have to offer,” Brandly explained. “Global Pet Expo is a fantastic event, and there’s much to gain from attending.”