Shampoos and conditioners form the foundation of the at-home grooming market. Despite the flood of products, a few key trends drive sales for this category: effectiveness, a unique selling point and an increased demand for natural and safe. Product efficacy is crucial. A customer won’t make a repeat purchase if a product doesn’t work.
“Consumers are looking for an effective and easy-to-use product line to groom their pet,” said Larry Cobb, CEO of the U.S. Division of The Company of Animals. “Not only does Pet Head clean well with our time-tested formulas, but the great scents we have will keep pets smelling great for longer. My dog, Sebo, and I like the fresh orange scent of our Dirty Talk Shampoo the best. He smells like a clean orange from a Florida grower, which is where our Pet Head offices are based.”
Livening up Shelves
The effectiveness of a specific product doesn’t necessarily spark the initial purchase, though. Instead, customers are attracted to eye-catching packaging.
“I feel that to ‘billboard’ the brand offers the best presentation,” Cobb explained. “To offer a full selection of Pet Head on the dealer’s shelf adds color and fun to the otherwise boring grooming category.”
At Glo-Marr, the brand has gone back to its roots: 1965 was when the original Pink Pup was born. The award-winning KENIC Retro line of pet shampoos added four “hip” formulas, including Pink Pup, the degreaser on which the company was built; Mellow Mutt and Meow, a calming aromatherapy option; Purple Pooch and Purr, the ultra-moisturizing product; and Blue Bow Wow, the whitening formula.
Staying true to the company’s history, the shampoos are detergent- and soap-free.
Among market segments with larger amounts of expendable income—millennials and baby boomers, typically—the demand for luxury drives product sales. Many of these consumers expect the same quality and sometimes even the same brands that they demand for themselves.
M. Boutique, the luxe natural home and personal care company, offers pet products that provide the same luxury that their human customers expect for themselves. The Pet Shampoo includes global ingredients like neroli, a high-end citrus oil that might help alleviate anxiety and hyperactivity, along with aloe, rosemary and avocado to sooth sensitive skin.
When it comes to M. Boutique’s Oatmeal and Honey Conditioner, the rich properties of colloidal oatmeal soothe and relieve dry, irritated and itchy skin while wild honey merges with Moroccan argan oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E to deliver deep conditioning and hydration.
The natural trend is fueling product sales in nearly every segment of the pet industry. Elizabeth Sanders of Horse ’O Peace founded her company to create goat milk soap and skin care products for people with sensitive skin. Many of her customers asked if they could use the products on their pets, so Sanders recently expanded into pet-specific products.
“When we started our pet line, Healthy Pets, we wanted products with the same kind of quality that we use in our skin care line for people but a different formulation,” Sanders said.
The products contain 100 percent raw goat’s milk along with plant-based, raw, whole ingredients, and no chemical fragrances or dyes. The initial launch featured two unscented products, including Purely Basic, which is base ingredients with nothing added for pets that are extremely sensitive. The Gentle Coat product utilizes calendula oil for an unscented but moisturizing soap.
“When we scent, we use 100 percent pure essential oils,” Sanders said.
Her best-selling scented product is Be Calm with lavender essential oil, for skin issues like eczema and dandruff, or for dogs who are excitable.
Ultimately, because there are so many brands and options for shampoos and conditioners, a strong product mix with variety is key to consumer appeal. While eye-catching packaging and clever names might spark the initial purchase, the product’s effectiveness is what ultimately will inspire return buyers.