The pet industry which is currently estimated at about $75 billion –up from $48 billion in 2010- has enjoyed tremendous growth in the last nine years.
Thanks to a stronger economy and improved household finances, pet owners and parents are “spoiling” their pets with everything from lavish grooming to designer pet accessories and premium food products.
With 80 million American homes owning at least one pet, it’s not hard to see why the industry is recording such tremendous growth. Interestingly, the bulk of spending in the industry –about 60 percent- is done by high-income households.
These customers buy the best treats, grooming, foods, collars, and products for their pets. And while the major pet brands are Petco and Petsmart, there are so many other pet product companies –over 18,000- in the country, meeting the needs of customers who want pet products and accessories.
The good thing is even though many of these smaller players don’t generate the revenue that large organizations like Petco and Petsmart do, they do well for themselves.
Online Reviews and the Pet Industry
Every day, tons of people go online to research the best accessories, products, foods, and services for their pets. And they make their choices by reading and watching people’s recommendations.
Take it or leave it, your bottom line is somewhat tied to these reviews. You need people to like, trust and recommend your pet products and services if you want to thrive. Without that, your revenues and profits will take a hit, and your prospective customers will take your money and give it to a competitor with a better reputation.
So, if you sell pet products, offer pet services like pet sitting and walking, or have a veterinary practice, you should pay attention to online reviews. Your brand’s reputation online will make or break your business.
Of course, you can spend a lot of money on ads –and many do- but if you want to increase the average customer lifetime value, you need to work on your brand’s perception. Pet products and services outfits that generate a lot of revenue often come highly recommended by lots of people.
For most customers, online reviews on Yelp, Google, Yellow Pages, and the hordes of forums, discussion boards, blogs, and comment sections play a vital role in the decision-making process.
How to Leverage Online Reviews for Brand Growth
Think about it, everyone checks out reviews before buying products or hiring services. In fact, 90 percent of consumers rely on reviews to decide on what pet product or who to hire to pet-sit, groom or walk their pets –because we all want to be sure that they will care for them almost as much as we would, if not more.
So, if you want to keep your bottom line healthy, grow your brand, and become the go-to resource for pet products, you should actively leverage online reviews. The good thing about this is, once your brand’s perception is wholesome and positive, you can easily cut back on your ad spend –because your brand will just sell itself thanks to the “word of mouth”.
And even if you don’t want to, having a good reputation will ensure that your ads convert better. How? Well, most consumers do a Google search or search their favorite social media networks for mentions of your brand. Others ask around in forums to see what people
For instance, with 29 million looking forward to dressing up their pets this Halloween, you can roll out ad campaigns specifically targeted at selling those. So, when people see the ads and look you up, they’ll be comfortable buying from you (because your “trust quotient” is high)
So, how can you leverage online reviews?
The first thing you need to do is find out where people are talking about your brand or service. So, we’re talking blogs, popular pet and city forums, discussion boards, eCom platforms, social media, the search engines, and Yelp for starters.
You can either do this manually –a complete time-suck- or use tools like Reputation Studio’s AI-powered platform makes tracking your product and service reviews in real-time a breeze.
Then, engage with the reviewers. Doesn’t matter if the reviews positive or negative, engagement does wonders for your brand. It reinforces and strengthens the relationship with current customers and shows new/intending customers that you’re a real entity.
In an era where most online business transactions are largely impersonal, this is gold –and one you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of.
Ask for Reviews
There’s no easy way to say this, but you need to ask past and present customers to write reviews of your pet product(s) and service(s). You can do this in a small note that you’ll include in the delivery package.
Afterwards, send an email reminder once delivery is confirmed and you’re sure they have their order. Include a call to action on their invoice or receipt. Some businesses use a business card with a QR code that automatically takes the customer to Google Reviews once the scan it.
Engage on social media too. If your customers are on Twitter or Instagram for instance, encourage them to leave reviews there too.
Most people are very happy to leave reviews if they like your pet product(s) or service(s). You may need to remind them if they’re slow about it –some people just forget, but they’ll eventually do it. There are many creative ways to go about this, so don’t be shy.
Need Help With Tracking and Managing Your Reviews?
We can help! Reputation Studio offers a powerful enterprise reputation management platform that makes it easy to track your reviews in real-time. It helps automate the process of managing your reviews.
With its natural language processing, and the customer sentiment and intent features, pet product companies and services like yours can improve their brand’s perception by tapping into what your customers are saying.