Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Possess Advantages Over Online Competitors – Pet Age

Over the course of 2020, demand for pet adoptions skyrocketed in response to the stay-at-home orders, and overall pet revenue has grown 63 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While these signs point to a seemingly lucrative industry, increasing competition is making it increasingly difficult for independent pet retailers to maintain their customer base.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges for pet specialty stores will be competing with the growing number of online pet retailers and the convenience they offer their customers. Even though the majority of purchases are still made offline, ecommerce made up 13 percent of the category in 2018, and that number is forecasted to jump to 25 percent of the total market by next year.

While pet retailers of all sizes are poised to capitalize on increased demand, marketing will need to play a critical role in 2021 as foot traffic continues to rise. More specifically, it will be important to focus on customer acquisition, differentiation and re-engaging existing customers as they establish new routines and adjust to a post-pandemic world.

Let’s first start with the audience you’re addressing. It might be surprising to find out that Millennials make up the majority of pet owners, followed by Gen X then Baby Boomers. Understanding the way Millennials communicate and interact with brands will help pet retailers develop far more effective marketing strategies.

For example, while Millennials tend to be more engaged on social media and more tech savvy overall, they also prefer finding