The pet grooming sector is one that is constantly evolving. As grooming styles change, brands are developing products to enable groomers and consumers to keep up with today’s trends. The pet care market is home to a wide variety of products that are being designed for various tasks, including shampoos, conditioners, brushes and trimmers for home and professional grooming. Pet Age contacted Dawn Leoso Duncan, vice president of Glo-Marr, for her views on grooming products and what retailers should know about educating consumers on their role in a pet’s healthy lifestyle.
What is a common misconception regarding grooming products?
I think a common misconception of products is the tendency to misunderstand ingredients and their benefits. Products that smell great and retain the smell for a long time may not be a good thing because often times heavily scented products can be harsh. For example, shampoos can be full of detergents that will dry out the skin and coat. I think retailers are important because their clients trust them and heed what they say about grooming products. Consumers can also be distracted by flashy packaging. It is important to sell brands that have history in the pet industry and stood the test of time. Since there are many products out there, it’s important to sell your customers products that come from good manufacturers with a good, long reputation in this industry. Nowadays anyone can come up with a shampoo or a spray, print a cute label and make it smell good. Make sure the brands you are selling are from companies that have been around for a while and aren’t just a fly-by-night company.
What forms of grooming products are currently in demand and why?
On-the-go sprays and shampoos are in great demand, as well as wipes. Pets are going more places with their families and on-the-go products are perfect for the pets that are socializing. I also think user-friendly grooming products are in demand. The spike in these items can be attributed to the fact that people are at home with their pets more than ever because of the current state of the world. As long as people continue to have pets the need for grooming products will always be there That is why it is so important to find a brand that you are willing to educate yourself on.
How do you recommend retailers promote spritzers and sprays to their customers?
Spritzers and sprays are products that have to be picked up and put in the customer’s hand. Retailers need to be sure to explain how sprays can provide their pet instant relief and how it is so much easier to spray problem spots than put the pet in the bath. A lot of pet owners go straight to the shampoo shelf when shopping at their favorite retail store. Shampoos and sprays need to be placed on shelf together. When the retailer sells a bottle of shampoo, it would be wise to also sell a spray with that purchase. It is a no brainer. A spray equals instant relief, and it can be done multiple times a day. Sprays should be used in between baths to keep their pet in good shape. It is much easier to use a spray than it is to bathe a pet.
Why should retailers carry solution-based grooming products?
Solution-based products are a necessity. Retailers need to sell solutions for not only the pet but also for their family. Pets with chronic skin problems are uncomfortable and likely unhappy. Scratching, licking, foul odors and ear problems are issues that make for an unhappy home for pets and their owners. Pet products shouldn’t just be a cover up for a problem. They should be a solution. The products should have a skin benefit, whether it is moisturizing, soothing or medicated. Pet owners want products that will be easy to use, but that also provide a benefit. When buying grooming products they need to think about their pet and what areas of concern they may have. Buy a product that is going to help resolve the issues and not just cover it up.
How can brands and retailers educate consumers to the importance of grooming being a part of a pet’s well-being?
Retailers need to be assertive about promoting grooming products. Find a product line that you understand and know how to educate your customer on. Education is key. There are so many products to choose from so it can be overwhelming. Retailers need to remind customers that keeping their pets well-groomed will keep skin issues, smells, coat problems from starting up. Their pet cannot clean themselves, so it is up to the pet owner to make sure their pet is in good shape. Retailers also need to know that they can reach out to the manufacturer for education too. Product knowledge starts with the manufacturer and there needs to be are relationship between manufacturers and retailers. They are partners. A retailer should feel comfortable in telling their customer “we should call and talk to the manufacturer and see what they recommend.”
Emails are great, but talking to the customer is so much better. I encourage both retailers and consumers to call the manufacturer with any questions they might have. A manufacturer that you can call and get immediate answers from is a good partner to have.