You know he is going to jump on you the minute you enter the home, wag his tail, and lick all over your face. That’s how you know; you’ve found a true friend!
Well, that’s how every dog-human relation is. As a matter of fact, all pets have a special bond with their owners. However, we know the title of this article is not “5 cute things your dog does when you come home”, it’s about a business opportunity buried under this special bond.
If you see a business opportunity when people take such good care about their pets, this is the article for you! According to a study conducted by AVMA, nearly 57% of the US household owned some kind of pet in 2016, and the numbers have surely increased in these two years.
Having a pet not just helps people emotionally, but it also helps them physically. It decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and keeps more active in this stale life. Evidently, more people are realizing this, and adding a new member to their family. Hence, a great business opportunity for business heads like you.
In this article, we’re going to cover all the things that are important in starting an online pet store. If you’re looking for a general idea on how to start an online business, we have already created an article for that too.
We will cover things like what are the opportunities lying in this niche and how to start an online store for pets.
The first thing on our list is about kind of the products you can sell. Having a pet is a lifelong journey for its owner, and there are various segments of this journey. Let’s understand the different parts of this life and what are the opportunities for you in each.
1. Choose The Product
As the owners take enormous pleasure in taking care of their pets, you can cover every product that can fall into food, training, grooming, even fashion! Yes, owners make sure their pet gets everything they need and beyond.
Let’s have a look at each of these areas and understand the offerings.
Starting with the basics, you can go with the food section. This can probably be the highest profit making niche as it’s the primary need. Owners want to make sure their pets get the right nutrition and proteins in their food; hence many brands have come up with great packaged food for different kinds of pets. You can simply sell the pet food of all brands and generate profits. Not to mention, there’s food for every type of pet.
Talking just about dogs, there are food choices like dry kibbles, wet food, prescription diet meals, puppy food, milk replacements, toppings and bakery, and many more. Moreover, you can also cover food for cats, fishes, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, squirrels, monkeys, and there are some pet freaks with tigers and lions also!
Moving from the basics, the next opportunity we have is in pet living and other things they need. Usuals it ranges from towel to bed. There’s a ton of stuff you can sell!
Here’s a list of things you can sell in terms of pet’s living:
- Blankets and bedsheets
- Travel crates
- Sofas and chairs
This is the part where owners show extra care for their pets as their children. In your online pet store, you can sell various grooming products that can have huge margins. You can have multiple products like:
- Shampoos and conditioners
- Shower and bath accessories
- Hair removals and rollers
- Dematting tools
- Washing Devices
- Nail Cutters
- Skin Care Liquids
- Scissors and trimmers
- Clothes & Fashion products
And anything that can make a pet more beautiful!
Considering the report from the American Pet Products Manufacturer Association, Americans spent $69.51 million on pets in 2017, and that’s old news!
So, selling grooming products on your pet store is totally worth it!
The next big niche is dealing with health-related products for pets. As we know that owners are very prudent about their pets, thus health becomes the topmost priority for them. Here are some products that you can sell in terms of health on your pet store:
- Flea, Lice & Tick control products
- Dental care products.
- Health powders
- Nair care products
- Vet tablets
- Minerals for dogs and cats
- Massage Oils
- Ear cleaning kits
So, these are the areas where hundreds of manufacturers have already produced products. You can pick any niche (or more than one) and start your own pet store. You should also think about the kinds of pets you are going to include. As there are multiple breeds in just one category of pet, you have to find the exact niche and pick the right products.
2. Find The Suppliers
Assuming that you’ve chosen the products, we have clicked on the next episode of this show – Finding the suppliers for your online pet store. We have discussed some pretty great ways to find suppliers in our previous article on Dropshipping, but we’re going to discuss the 3 common ways for your pet store.
A. Online Marketplaces
Giant online marketplaces like eBay, Alibaba, or Aliexpress list all kinds of suppliers from all around the world. Some of the suppliers will be local and convenient for you, yet some suppliers will be across the sea offering special products.
Depending on your offerings, you can contact these suppliers and make agreements. Suppliers usually dropship the products to customers on your behalf, but many suppliers don’t offer such services. So, be very careful while finalizing the pet suppliers.
Online directories like SaleHoo and Pet Food Industry can give you amazing results country wise. By using such directories, you can find the most convenient suppliers from your location. As these directories are trustworthy, you’ll find the genuine list of pet suppliers.
C. Make A Google Search
This is the most common way to find the pet supplier with a small challenge. You have to use a various set of queries to get genuine pet suppliers. You can use keywords like “buy wholesale pet supply” or “wholesale pet supply in XYZ (location).”
Do go through more than 40 results of these results as the genuine suppliers are not pretty good with SEO, but they offer some great services at affordable margins.
3. Start An Online Store
We have arrived at the last phase of this article – Starting your online pet store. Now, we have had a detailed discussion on how to start an online store and best eCommerce platforms in our last articles, so we will discuss other important aspects to keep in mind before starting an online pet store.
A. Pick The Right Domain Name
There’s nothing right or wrong in choosing the domain name, it can be anything. But, you would want to choose a name that stays with the potential customers.
For example, existing brands like Heads Up For Tails or Pet’s World have definitely received some benefits because of their domains. Basically, a name that represents your niche, and anybody can easily remember it!
B. Design Your Categories
Depending upon your offerings, make sure you design your products categories that make things easier for buyers. Many pet stores offer products for multiple animals & birds, so logically they have kept the “Animals” as their root categories.
Here’s an excellent example of refined categories for a pet store:
C. Create A Marketing Plan
This is a whole new world in itself, but before starting an online pet store, there are some things you should keep in mind in terms of marketing.
Establishing your direct competitors will help you a lot in setting up a marketing plan. Observing how they are promoting their stores can help you achieve better results in a short time.
Basic things like competitor keyword analysis will lead you to filter the most important keywords for your store. Based on the keywords, you can design your SEO and Paid Marketing strategies.
Blogging is, in general, a meaningful way to drive traffic to your store, but it can give superb results in especially in this niche. Pet lovers love to read about how to take care of their pets; hence it’s a clear opportunity for you to create meaningful content and attract a new audience.
Writing meaningful content and spreading on various channels also give a chance to promote your own products. Like, Heads Up For Tails has cleverly promoted its own product in the blog on a dog food review:
Blogging can also help you in link building, which is very important in lifting your results in search engines like Google.
SEO & Paid Advertisements
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of obtaining higher organic results on search engines. SEO can help you gain a strong position that can drive organic visitors to your store and increase sales. This is the part where your competitor analysis will pay off. You can optimize your product and category pages according to search engines and gain more visibility.
But, it’s a time taking process. Hence, an alternative!
Search engines like Google and giant online stores like Amazon offer paid advertisement services for better exposure of your products. Here, you can showcase your store ahead of organic results by paying a price per click. Paid advertisement is an easier way to drive quick traffic to your store and achieve sales. But, it’s a relatively costly alternative.
SEO and Paid advertisement are two important parts of any online business. So, before starting an online pet store, make sure you decide how much efforts and investment does you store needs!
The US households have estimated spent $72.13 billion in pet care in 2018. Needless to say, the business opportunities in this niche is continuously growing, and it’s the right time to start an online pet store.
Woof (I mean Cheers!)
PSDCenter is a Charlotte-based eCommerce development agency with more than 10 years of experience. We have successfully completed hundreds of projects including pet stores like Rufino & Rescue Pet Supply on BigCommerce & Shopify Platforms. We have experienced designers & developers for BigCommerce, Shopify, 3dcart, Lightspeed, and many more. We also have our very own theme store where you can check out the latest creations for your online store.