November 3, 2016

Dog owners who groom at home range from the basic bath-and-nail-trim groomers to the owners who clip, trim and shape their dog at home. The typical shopper in that latter vertical falls into one of two categories: the first are the at-home groomers who take care of all their dogs’ grooming themselves; the second are people who have their dogs professionally groomed on a regular basis but perform small maintenance tasks at home between appointments.

Those two types of at-home groomers seek similar types of products, and both consumers benefit from in-store education to choose the right products.

“Consumers are looking for tools and products that are easy to use, work effectively with their dog’s coat, and will keep their dog looking great in between visits to the groomer,” said Karen Formico, vice president of marketing at Andis Company. “This year, we’ve made a big push to meet the growing trend of more at-home pet parents demanding grooming tools that pack that professional performance, but are still easy to use.”

“The first product we’ve released to meet those needs is our Cordless Easyclip Li adjustable blade clipper,” she continued. “The Cordless EasyClip Li brings clipping versatility that works with a variety of coat types and dog breeds. Additionally, our lithium ion battery technology runs for two hours on just a 90-minute charge. More and more consumers and professionals are demanding corded performance out of cordless products, and the Cordless EasyClip Li is another great example of how Andis is delivering for our customers.”

According to Formico, cordless is the biggest demand from at-home groomers right now. It makes sense: Not all dog owners have the space or a professional table for grooming sessions at home. Products with versatility, ranging from the bathroom to the kitchen sink, appeal to a broader customer base.

One popular cordless item is the Sunbeam Dog Turbo Cordless Clipper. The same brand also offers a Quiet Dog Clipper Kit that, while a corded product, sells well among pet owners who have an anxiety-prone dog.

Additional bestsellers include complete kits that contain the various pieces an at-home groomer might want. The Wahl Pet Clipper Kit provides everything a dog owner might need in a convenient carrying case. Another bestseller is the Oster Complete Performance Clipper Kit, which offers a whisper quiet mode for sound-sensitive animals and a compact design that enables a user to groom those hard-to-reach areas.

Along with ease-of-use and safety, consumers are looking for stylish grooming tools. Brands like Andis, Wahl and Conair offer a range of clippers in colors like bright pink. Some specialty tools even come in patterns and prints, like leopard. While colors and designs aren’t necessities for these tools to function, fun options may help consumers make a final purchasing decision if they’re wavering between two brands.

But, as all these manufacturers attest, making the sale of any grooming product comes down to two things: first, teaching the consumers what they need for their dogs’ coat; and second, how to use the tools.

“The biggest challenge we have in the retail space is education,” Formico said. “As a grooming brand, it’s critical that Andis tools are being used appropriately, with the right breeds, with the right coat type. Not every tool works the same way with different coat types. So, what we’ve done is redesign our packaging to take the confusion out of the purchasing process for consumers.”

Beyond the packaging, though, retailers should be well-versed in the grooming tools on the shelf and for which dogs they are most appropriate.

“We’ve developed new scales, icons and comparison charts that help consumers understand which clippers, shears and grooming tools are going to work best with their dog,” Formico said. “Andis is also testing some exciting kiosk concepts with retail partners that we’re very excited about. One thing we hear a lot from both our professional groomers and consumers is they want to hold and feel the clipper, trimmer, brush or comb before making that purchasing decision, so the kiosk actually gives them the opportunity to do that with a wide variety of our products.”

While signage and displays go a long way in helping to educate the consumer, conversation can help make the sale. In-store demonstrations or one-on-one consultations can help consumers make informed decisions.

In the short term, this is a greater investment in time and staff energy. And, in the long term, closing the gap on that education piece will help at-home groomers select the right clippers and shears, which will result in a happy customer.

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