Retail

Creating Pet-Perfect Retail With Customization

dog with man

Innovation in retail comes from many places, and that includes pets. People are willing to spend a lot of money on their pets — and that drives merchants and service providers to keep trying new things.

Take the example of doggie day care.

Finding a good dog sitter in a crowded urban metro area can be challenging — particularly if one is looking for an offering with flexibility. Such was the difficulty the founding team at Dogdrop, Shaina Denny and Greer Will, encountered as self-described “Los Angeleno dog lovers with variable schedules.”

Services like Wag and Rover, for example, have daycare services, but they geared toward customers who need all-day pet care — and their pricing reflects that, ranging from $46 per day (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) to $625 for a monthly pack.

Dogdrop is oriented a bit differently. The customer purchases a monthly membership with a certain amount of time associated with it. The least expensive option is $20 and buys three hours of daycare (and a 10 percent discount on specialty workshops offered) while at the upper end customers can purchase unlimited access to doggie daycare for $800 a month (which comes with a 20 percent discount on workshops).

“Dogdrop is for the modern dog parent who has high expectations of quality care and whose lifestyle demands convenience,” Denny said in a statement.

Subscription Commerce

Food matters as well when it comes to pets.

To provide customizable meal plans for dogs, eCommerce innovators are offering freshly cooked meals delivered to consumers through the subscription business model. Pet Plate, in one case, is a service based on the profile of each dog.

“We develop a meal plan that fits to that dog’s age, weight, breed, lifestyle,” Pet Plate CEO Gertrude Allen told PYMNTS in an interview. Based on whether the dog is active or sedentary as well as overweight or underweight, the company will adjust the number of calories that the dog will receive in every meal. In addition to meals, the company also offers a topper plan that lets owners mix the company’s products into the food that they already feed their pets.

Shipping frequency of the company’s meals varies, with the weight of the dog serving as the biggest driver of that determination. Small dogs might get a box every month, while larger dogs might receive a box every week. Varieties run the gamut from “chompin’ chicken” to “barkin’ beef.” “The product is fresh cooked but it’s flash frozen,” Allen said. The meals arrives at the doorstep frozen to stay preserved — and can be stored in a fridge for seven days or in the freezer for up to 18 months. To sign up for a plan, consumers visit the company’s website to learn about its products and services through the home page.

Consumers enter the company’s conversion funnel by clicking “start now” or “see plans or pricing.” From there, they are taken into a flow that asks various questions about their dog (such as breed or birthdate, according to the website).

Allen said there are “multiple factors” involved. Based on the information provided, the site will then find the appropriate number of calories for a dog through an algorithm on the back end, and will suggest a meal plan based on how much food a dog requires. While the offering is a subscription, Allen said consumers have “complete flexibility to skip, pause or cancel.” Customers pay by credit card, and Allen also pointed out that the company has a money-back guarantee if a dog isn’t satisfied with the food on the first try.

Consumers love their pets, and that means merchants must be on their top game when trying to win such business.

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