First I saw the new company PetFlow.com come onto the scene offering dog and cat food, treats and cat litter with free shipping to customers if they sign up for an auto ship program and purchase up to $69.00 worth of product (and $4.95 shipping if under $69.00). This was ground breaking and definitely a very attractive offer for some potential customers. No company that I am aware of had ever offered low cost or free shipping on high weight pet products on a regular basis.
Then came some of the larger big box stores, like Petco and Petsmart, matching PetFlow's offer of reduced cost shipping on higher weight products like dog and cat food. They, to my knowledge had never done this before, and clearly initiated these offers in response to the competitive market.
A few months ago I learned about Wag.com and it's plan to launch (which is today, by the way). Wag.com is being run by the same team behind Amazon.com, and the successful Diapers.com and Soap.com; both who have business models revolving around 1-2 day very low cost shipping and great prices. These online stores have upped the ante and base standard for online stores. Take for example Soap.com's one-up-manship of low cost 1-2 day shipping vs. Drugstore.com's low cost 10-12 day shipping cycle.
Just yesterday I received an email from PetFlow.com and their new offer for free shipping (not just for their auto ship program, but for one time orders, as well) on orders of $49.00 or more, trying to trump the new Wag.com and their launch offer today of 1-2 day shipping on orders of $49.00 or more.
Competition in the pet business world is really heating up!
What does this mean for pet businesses all over the country? You will have to be creative, be different, stand out from the pack and create a niche to remain competitive. You will need to create a good base of loyal customers that come back time and time again; and tell other potential customers just how great you are! You will have to offer promotions that are out-of-the-box of what you've been doing in the past.
It's not going to be easy...it never is, never has been and never will be. The big guys are working very hard to take away your customers by offering them something that's very intriguing...free shipping, quick delivery, and great prices.
You can be competitive...it will take ingenuity, but it can be done. Contact us today to learn how you can compete!