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eCommerce Trends: Four Tips To Optimize Pet Care Product Content

January 19, 2016
Keith Anderson
Written By
Keith Anderson

Over the past year, the pet supplies/pet care market in the U.S. has increased from $58 billion to $60 billion, and $3.7 billion of those sales came through the eCommerce channel (an increase of 76% in online sales since 2010).

In a sense, the pet supplies industry and eCommerce were made for each other. 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members, a humanizing tendency that prompts pet owners to seek out health-oriented products and services for their animal companions. And when there are health matters on the table, pet owners want to be able to research and read about the pet foods, medicines, treatments and every other purchase they’re considering for their pets.

That, of course, is where the eCommerce product page comes in. Given the level of detail it can deliver (far more than a brick-and-mortar environment), it’s well-suited to the info-focused nature of making a healthy purchase for one’s pet.

In particular, natural/organic foods lend themselves to the online product page, since they often feature holistic claims and product benefits that need to be spelled out for the consumer. Likewise, social media, blogs, emails and chat groups provide an excellent venue for touting brand benefits and product information.

Four tips for optimizing pet care product content

The good news for brands is that many of them have already invested in having enhanced product content on their own sites and on e-retail sites such as Amazon. A competitive content survey by content26 revealed that 47% of pet food, pet toy, and grooming supply brands have enhanced content on their pages, not a high figure in terms of absolute percentages, but very impressive when compared to other industries. The survey covered more than 7,000 Amazon SKUs across 65 companies and 128 brands.

Additionally, the more a pet product is reviewed, the greater its chances of success—provided the reviews give a generally favorable assessment by the consumer. Pet parents are attuned to the experiences of other pet parents, and reviews are one more form of content that can prove essential to the purchasing decision.

So how do the key players optimize their content? Consider these four basic pointers:

  1. Focus on search performance. First, understand the keywords shoppers are using when searching for products like yours. Then be sure your product titles, bullet content and long descriptions include these keywords as part of naturally-flowing copy. Selling a health-oriented wet cat food? Use keywords that communicate the product attributes and benefit in the most persuasive way possible.
  2. Optimize product titles and primary product images. These are the only items the shopper will see on result and category pages, so you’ll want to be sure to make them stand out.
  3. The product titles should clearly identify the brand, variant, pack size and pack type, and include any relevant keywords. Premium-quality dog treats? Six bags in a pack? Say it!
  4. Primary product images should be high-resolution images of the front of the physical package on a white background. You’re looking for clarity, recognizability and visual product appeal. Keep in mind how important it is to have good-looking packaging, not only to the naked eye, but through a photographic image on the web as well.

The road to online success also leads you to offline sales

Your online performance goes beyond the pet eCommerce channel. As we’re seeing, online activity is also influencing a growing percentage of offline transactions, prompting brands that want to protect their fair share to strive for superior position in the online channel.

For example, newer brands have a major opportunity to establish themselves on a national scale by investing in eCommerce. The landscape is much more fragmented online than in-store, and emerging brands that “go on offense” online have proven they can build awareness and loyalty with online shoppers that they can leverage with offline retailers to gain wider distribution.

Therefore, everything you do to optimize your web presence—from optimizing SEO to updating every nitty-gritty detail of each description of the nutritious ingredients you put into your premium, super-healthy dog food—is critical to your success.

The latest online trends for best-selling pet products

A Profitero analysis of the 100 best-selling Pet Supplies products on Amazon in October, 2015 (from our Amazon FastMover reports) revealed the following:

  • Pet Supply best sellers were relatively stable. The average Pet Supplies FastMover stayed on the list for 28 days, the highest of the industries we monitor. In addition, these products had the lowest price variance compared to other top-level categories, with just three average price changes in October, compared to five for Grocery & Gourmet, and seven for Toys & Games7.
  • Pet Supplies best sellers are heavily reviewed. In Pet Supplies, the top-level categories for Dog Food, Dog Treats, Cat Food and Cat Treats had an average of 2,113 reviews, which ranked the category #4 of the 10 top-level categories studied. Two statistics: Greenies, the #1 ranked brand in Dog Treats, had an average of 5.336 reviews, compared to 1,543 for the average Dog Treats brand. The top 10 Dog Food Fast Movers had 1,363 reviews, twice as many as the average for the remaining 90.
  • The average Pet Supplies FastMover had 5 product images.
  • “Natural” and “Grain Free” are popular pet food characteristics. Among the 100 FastMovers, “Natural” was referenced in product titles 26 times in Dog Food, 20 times in dog treats, 17 times in Cat Food and 13 times in Cat Treats. Similarly, “Grain Free” (or “Grain-Free”) was referenced in the product title 16 times in Dog Food, 10 times in Cat Treats, nine times in Cat Treats and twice in Dog Treats.

One more point about Amazon: While Prime’s free delivery has removed the friction of per-order shipping fees, and therefore been a driver in the growth of online pet products sales, the same cannot yet be said of Prime Pantry. It has yet to prove itself as an accelerant, due in large part, to the limits it places on orders on the basis of weight and cube. The logistics and economics of bulkier pet consumables do not lend themselves to Prime as readily as other CPG products, as evidenced by the fact that only one of the FastMover 100 for Dog Treats participates in Pantry, and only three for Cat Food.

You may also be interested in reading: eCommerce Trends: Buying Pet Products Online, or visiting our microsite for additional eCommerce insights on the Pet Care category. 

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