December 1, 2015

Most salons and stores have their tried-and-true, go-to grooming brands. Customers’ favorites stay consistent from season to season, so it makes sense to keep those products lined up in key space. However, the spa niche of grooming products is a booming and growing market segment.

The big difference between traditional grooming products and those in the spa segment is that function isn’t the primary sales driver. With most grooming sales, customers are seeking a specific action: cleaning, deodorizing, moisturizing, soothing and so on. With spa grooming sales, customers are seeking luxury upgrades like scent or fancy packaging.

Humanizing Pet Grooming

It starts with a relationship to the human spa market. Many of the same ingredients and techniques have trickled into pet spa grooming. Clay, for example, is available in the Armonie Naturali line manufactured by Schaussi’s Alpen Schatz. Mineral-infused items, coconut oil and flower essences—all popular in human spa treatments—are cropping up in pet grooming products, which allows spa-going pet owners to feel like they’re able to extend the same pampering that they get to their pets.

Bubbles n’ Beads two-in-one shampoo and conditioner has a unique formula that includes microencapsulated beads that penetrate the coat and burst against the skin, releasing vitamins and conditioners right into the follicle. The formula, which is scented with lavender essential oil, sounds like a human hair care product: 11 amino acids like arginine, glycine and alanine; a gentle coconut based surfactant; Brazil nut oil; and an array of minerals, proteins and enzymes – it’s also free from sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Those familiar ingredients appeal to a spa consumer. The brand also includes spa essentials like eye pads and fur butter.

Consumers gravitate toward the familiar, and spa brands like Burt’s Bees and Kiehl’s have launched grooming products. Burt’s Bees offers a complete line, including convenient wipes, shampoos, ear cleaners and deodorizing sprays. Kiehl’s Cuddly-Coat Grooming Shampoo is a mild, soap-free option emblazoned with their recognizable brand name. Pet Head products evoke the familiar with the product names and packaging. Those brands that consumers know and love for themselves make an easy sale because trust and familiarity are already in place.

Going Natural

When it comes to trusting spa products, there’s an emphasis on naturally-derived ingredients. Organic is a big seller in the spa category. Small brands perform well in boutique settings. Mad About Organics offers a range of spa products from their Organic Healing Herbal Salve to Organic Oatmeal Shampoo and every category in between – from oral and ear care to healing ointments.

Small batch products have grown in popularity among spa consumers, though sourcing provides a challenge. Most small producers only sell in a particular region. For instance, Mad About Organics is primarily available along the West Coast.

Shampoochie, a 100 percent biodegradable and all-natural herbal shampoo soap, leverages both small-batch production and natural ingredients for a bottle-less shampoo. The brand’s herbal dog shampoo soap is a bar made from vegan ingredients, which include eight natural plant oils and five pure essential oils.

Odds and Ends

Within the spa segment, there’s also a slice of business dedicated to superfluous products like nail polish. Those smaller products work well as point-of-sale add-ons or on endcaps.

Just as those products are for good for show, the packaging of spa products is highly important. In fact, many consumers often choose products based on packaging alone, so a selection of attractive packages serves this category well. Gift sets, especially for holidays, also perform well.

Spa products aren’t only in dog form, either. Cat grooming is a growing market segment with spa a slice of that overall pie. Companies like Purrinlot offer cat-specific, high-end grooming products. Purrinlot has three types of cat shampoo: Healthy Coat pH Shampoo with Shea Butter; Healthy Coat, Face and Body pH Shampoo; and Honey, Almond, Oatmeal pH Shampoo. Those products offer the same level of sophistication as the dog spa products, but for a cat-loving consumer.

In the salon, spa products and services can be offered as an upgrade or premiere package. Regardless of the choice—polish, coat shine spray, deodorizer or shampoo—spa products are all about helping owners feel like they are pampering their pet. They want to feel like they’re spoiling their dog with luxury ingredients and fancy packaging, but still feel like they are making a healthy choice that takes care of their pet’s grooming needs.

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