Pet Product Merchants Differentiate Themselves to Succeed

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Pet products merchants Ruffwear, Dog is Good, Pet Lifestyle And You and Pup-Pee Solutions have found ways to differentiate themselves and succeed in business. While each of pet product merchants is distinctly different, they each use the NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform.

According to the American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $55.53 billion on their pets in 2013. Here’s what these four merchants are doing to differentiate themselves in the crowded pet products category.

Ruffwear, an Oregon-based manufacturer and merchant of dog performance gear,  has focused on building great products, which has led to their success.

“Our position in the marketplace is getting out and doing things with your dogs. It’s really about the product that will facilitate those types of adventures with your dog,” said Will Blount,  president of Ruffwear.

Ruffwear sells to both B2B and B2C customers and sells through various channels including distributors internationally and 2,100 retailers  in the U.S. and 15% of their business is consumers via the phone, web, ecommerce and phone-in orders.

Ruffwear promotes its products through brick-and-mortar retailers on their websites along with their own website.  Ruffwear has partnered with major retailers like REI and Eastern Mountain Sports.  Ruffwear also sells through independent specialty shops as well as Amazon.

Dog is Good,  a California-based merchant selling canine-themed gift items for dog lovers considers itself to be one of a kind in the pet industry.

“We are about building a brand, the brand message is about the dog-human relationship and how great you feel with your dog,” said Jon Kurtz, co-owner of Dog is Good.

Dog is Good has implemented a drop ship arrangement with one of its suppliers.  Kurtz said this will allow for the reduction in shipping costs for clients if it does not need to come to their warehouse first.

Pet Lifestyle and You (P.L.A.Y.)  a California-based maker of high-quality dog beds,  toys and accessories is able to grow revenue, improve products and build strong relationships as both a B2B and B2C merchant. The company launched its first ecommerce site in 2011.

The company expanded its business globally in May 2012 in Germany and Japan.

According to William Chen, founder of P.L.A.Y., they differ in the pet supply industry with the product they make. Chen said P.L.A.Y has embraced the digital age by spending a lot of time promoting its product on social media,  building their website and making it consumer-friendly.

According to a press release, P.L.A.Y. has grown to 500 retail store partners in North America, and a dozen international distributor partnerships across Europe, Asia and Canada.

In the U.S., the company sells its product to retailers directly, it does not use a distributor.  Internationally, the company works with distributors or importers.  For B2C, it is only delivered in North America.

Pup-Pee Solutions, an Australian-based company is a provider of pet waste management products with its Pet Loo brand.   It is a paper-free company and are responsible for all facets of the customer experience.

“We are able to process orders, fetch goods, arrange shipping, said Tobi Skovon,  Pup-Pee Solutions founder.

The company has two 3PL centers in the U.S. strategically placed.  Pup-Pee Solutions are able to drop-ship orders to retailers directly.  The company sells directly to major big box retailers such as Pet Smart and Petco.

“Our website is not to compete with our retail partners, it was to sell to the consumer when we didn’t have a partner in place,” said Skovon.  “We clearly make more money selling directly to the consumer.”