Covid Response Centre

Pet Supply Retailers & Navigating the Pet Adoption Boom

As the general population continues to quarantine for the greater good, many yearn for companionship outside of Zoom. In fact, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement have reported a surge in animal fostering and adoptions, which has led to a boom for the pet supply and service industry.

With everyone at home scrolling through their phones now more than ever, pet-related brands, like many others, are looking to digital marketing as a critical tool to connect with new customers. Of course, amid COVID-19, brands are forced to rethink their messaging and strategy to connect with their consumers with a brand purpose. How can these brands showcase brand purpose to new customers in a fully digital format?


Join The Cause

While it may be challenging to do quick studies on the target audience set of new pet parents cropping up, one thing is for sure - they see their decision to adopt a pet as part of their contribution to the COVID-19 relief effort. To show heart and compassion and appeal to this new customer mindset, many brands are donating supplies and funds to charities. For example, Petco established the Petco Partner Assistance Fund with $2 million from Petco and more from sponsors and executive leadership to directly aid Petco partners who have been impacted by the pandemic. Allowing customers a chance to give back with every purchase made for their pets is a perfect message for social media. 

When it comes to driving charitable donations, influencers are a perfect tool to spread awareness and provide a call-to-action to massive audiences. Whether a company is able to create a charity of its own or partner with one that already exists, purpose-led strategies serve as a model for humanity right now. Using pet-friendly influencers to showcase their purchasing needs and why they stand behind certain brands for their four-legged loved ones, highlights a brand as not only relevant and responsible but authentic as well. 


Provide Education & Distraction

While larger brands and corporations are able to create charities and make donations, smaller business owners have to take a different approach to reach consumers. For example, Barkbox Inc., is now hosting virtual “speakeasy” events focused on comedy, magic and party tricks for dogs. These types of events build brand awareness by providing something consumers are craving most right now - a sense of community and a distraction that helps them bond with their pet. 

More and more, influencers are hosting IG Live events to allow for a more personal, real-time connection with their followers during COVID. For brands, partnering with influencers on this type of content can up-level their ability to build a sense of relevance and community among a new customer base. Leveraging influencers as hosts or co-hosts with actual pet experts to give advice on how to train, manage, or feed pets will be a welcome resource to new pet parents amid COVID-19. Education, humor and motivation through real-time events or Q&A sessions have staying power beyond coronavirus.  


Make Pet Product Supply A Non-Issue

Gathering the right supplies for new pet-friends is an ideal time to capture the heart and attention of new customers who will become loyalists down the line. That said, exponential pet adoption rates are sure to create pet product supply issues. Leveraging resources like mobile wallet technology will ensure you’re able to communicate clearly with existing and potential new customers. Be it about replenishing your supply chain and where to purchase products when they’ve been exhausted at one retailer or offering new pet discounts, direct-to-consumer dialogue during COVID-19 will be critical to building customer retention. 

Even after signs of normalcy return, the lasting effects on marketing will be significant with a demand for brands to contribute to the public good. Interested in brainstorming ways we can help you launch an effective, relevant pet-focused program? Email me at vicki@thecirqle.com!


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