As shown by a recent Packaged Facts report, the pet product customer is a tech market consumer
Digital media continues to command the attention of pet owners of all ages, especially in the case of Millennials. U.S. market analysts might debate just how much time consumers spend with digital media, whether use of digital media has already surpassed time spent in front of the TV, and whether mobile usage has overtaken desktop/laptop usage. But it’s clear that digital usage plays a major and destinedto- increase role in how consumers spend andnavigate through their day.
Packaged Facts research published in our Pet Product Marketing: Tech, Mobile, and Social Media (December 2015) report shows that U.S. pet owners are even more likely to be have recently used digital devices and technologies than their non-pet-owning counterparts. Compared with 64% of non-pet owning adults, for example, 74% of pet-owning adults have used a smartphone in the last seven days. Compared with 36% of non-pet owning adults, 48% of petowningadults have recently used a mobile app.
Pet products online
Pet owners’ propensity to use tech plays out, of course, specifically in the pet products market. For example, nearly half (46%) of pet owners have used
the internet in the last thirty days is to research pet products. While the largest percentage of pet owners (27%) did so via a personal computer or laptop, smartphones (19%) are also commonly used for this purpose. In the case of looking to social media for consumer reviews of pet products, in fact, smartphones are as commonly used as PCs/laptops (at 15% each).
As Americans continue to rely more heavily on digital media, retailers and marketers continue to follow suit. In the U.S. market, retailers from pet superstores PetSmart and Petco to general merchandiser Target Stores to Tractor Supply Co. (the leading agricultural/feed and seed chain in this specialized sector of the U.S. retail market) have all shifted to or increasingly emphasized marketing and selling in digital channels.
Customer loyalty programmes are a key component of this digital tech strategy. Emphasis on loyalty programmes is influenced by the growing realization that random, one-off coupons and discount deals trigger at best only a short-term spike in consumer interest and sales, but generally fail to build up a long-customer base (and may in fact be antithetical to doing so). Loyalty programmes, in contrast, made seamless and instantaneous by digital technology, are relationship builders. Data from Packaged Facts’ August 2015 Pet Owner Survey show that loyalty programmes are especially important to 23% of pet owners, when shopping for pet products.
Reaching consumers online
Email marketing, in addition, continues to ranks as one of the standard tactics in the digital marketing arsenal. This survey also showed that 18% of pet owners had, in the last thirty days, been influenced by an email from a retailer or marketer in their decision to buy a pet product, slightly higher than the case for a social media post by a store or brand. And as the digital landscape continues to evolve in the direction of mobile, pet industry marketers are keeping pace: 12% of pet owners had been influenced by a mobile app feature or message in their decision to buy a pet product, and text messaging had a similar sway.
There is no shortage of creative ways to reach pet market consumers, and the popularity of pet videos on the internet and over mobile underscores one of the best storytelling methods available to pet industry marketers – showing pets in action, and especially interacting with a product. Online videos allow marketers to capture and even captivate the attention of pet owners, whether through humor or heartwarming, through entertainment or instruction,in all combinations. Correspondingly, the videos themselves come in all shapes and sizes: short and long form, from six seconds to six minutes plus, user-generated or directed by YouTube sensations or Hollywood directors, and pre-recorded clips versus live streaming video.
Successful pet industry retailers and manufacturers will be on the cutting edge of using digital strategies to reach customers, leveraging everything from storytelling to loyalty programmes, from emojis to automatic subscriptions for home delivery of pet consumables and replenishables. From this Millennial generation forward, pet product marketing will be tech-driven marketing.
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