Dog owners continue to seek high-quality grooming products that bring the spa experience into their homes.
The demand for higher-end, more-humanlike spa grooming products continues to grow, and successful retailers are catering to that market.
“To stay on top of what’s trending in spa products for pets, just check out the hair care aisle at an upscale salon,” said Larry Cobb, CEO for The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla., which recently acquired Pet Head, the line of grooming products for cats and dogs created by the founder of Bed Head hair care products. “High-end, cosmetic-grade ingredients are rising in popularity as well as aromatherapy conditioners and shampoos. Public interest in tropical-inspired fragrances and natural infusions like argan oil and lemongrass are also on the rise.”
Peggy Smith, marketing and media manager for BioDerm Laboratories in Longview, Texas, maker of Bio-Groom products, said that the company is utilizing organic cold-pressed baobab protein in a line of sulfate-free shampoo formulations. Baobab is said to be “nature’s ultimate healer” and helps promote rejuvenation of skin cells and provides anti-inflammatory properties, Smith said.
Pet owners are definitely looking for products with added benefits. Products that can help tame itching or assist in calming a pet down are popular sellers, according to industry participants. Pet owners also really care about quality, Smith said. Many dog owners are gravitating toward higher-end spa products; however, they expect the products to work, she added. When it comes to something like a shampoo or a conditioner, pet owners want to see results.
“It can smell really great and have a high price tag, but if it doesn’t do the job that dog owners expect it to, they’re not going to be happy,” Smith said. “The product must perform. Dog parents typically know after just one use whether they love a product or not, and they might not give it a second chance if they don’t. That’s why it’s important for retailers to carry products that are high quality and effective.”
Create a Spalike Atmosphere
The grooming section poses a lot of opportunity for creativity, and retailers can have some fun with it. Creative displays help attract pet owners to the spa grooming section. Larry Cobb, CEO for The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla., suggested dressing up the area with items commonly found in a health spa.
“Consider displaying selected products in bamboo bowls or propping with fragrant candles,” Cobb said. “Retailers can also promote a spa day with discount prices once or twice a month. For retailers interested in maximizing sales of the Pet Head line, our distributor partners offer extensive merchandising and promotional support.”
Patti Vincent, owner of Puppy Love Dog Store in Beaumont, Texas, said that her grooming section display includes a stuffed dog wearing a shower cap in an old-fashioned wooden tub complete with bubbles. She said it’s cute and eye-catching, and that is often enough to draw someone over to check things out.
In Dallas, Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets, said she displays spa grooming products on a wooden bookshelf in order to give a more upscale feel to the section.
“Instead of just having all the products on a store shelf, the separate wooden bookshelf helps make these products feel luxurious and special,” Redwine said. “It’s similar to something you might see at a trendy salon for people. It’s all about pampering your pet and making them feel special—that’s what pet parents want to do.”
Eddy Cathaud, CEO of Swees America in New York, added that a “store within a store” setup can also help highlight spa grooming products.
“For added merchandising appeal, retailers can stake out the spa section with colorful overhead signs and vertical banners to create that ‘store within a store’ effect,” Cathaud said. “They can also dedicate an endcap or wall space to display customer-submitted photos of picture-perfect pets, and then showcase the products that were used to help groom these pets.”
The Difference Between Hair and Fur
When pet owners have questions about spa grooming products, they usually revolve around safety, said Larry Cobb, CEO for The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport, Fla. Pet owners want to know that the products they use on their dog are not going to be harmful in any way.
“Pet parents today value transparency,” Cobb added. “They want to know exactly what’s in a product, where the ingredients are sourced and where it’s manufactured. Spa grooming section signage displaying specific information like this will go a long way in helping educate.”
Of course, signage should also be coupled with conversation, said Marie Svet, founder of Organic Oscar in San Diego. Pet owners value the opportunity to talk to retailers about their questions and concerns.
But in order to have an informed conversation, Svet said, it’s important that retailers are keeping up with the latest information and trends—because their customers are certainly going to be on top of it.
“Customers are getting more and more informed thanks to the internet and social media,” Svet said. “They understand what they’re looking for and that they want quality products.”
While pet owners want grooming products that are similar to what they use, Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif., said it’s important to educate customers on the fact that they can’t use the exact same products. There is a difference between hair and fur, she added.
“We take the time to explain the differences and why species-specific is more appropriate,” Grow said. “In addition, because animals lick themselves and have very sensitive sniffers, we carry only products that contain no soaps, detergents, parabens, sulfates, salts, alcohol or toxins. These products perform extremely well and smell great.”
There are several new products in the spa grooming category. Organic Oscar in San Diego, now offers its line of Pet Wipes without the solution, which will allow customers to make their own wipes utilizing any of the Organic Oscar sprays including Holistic Bite & Itch Relief, Stress Relief or others.
Swees America in New York, recently introduced its entire Eazee deshedder line to North America. The Eazee deshedding tool is safer, gentler and easier to use, according to company officials. Due to its patented design, it won’t pull or snag live pet hair and removes only 100 percent dead hair.
This spring, BioDerm Laboratories in Longview, Texas, introduced Bio-Groom Facial Foam Cleanser. The product offers an all-natural, mild and tearless way to clean around a pet’s face, eyes, ears, nose and mouth, the company reported. The cleanser is humectant, unscented, hypoallergenic, sulfate free, nonsticky, nonoily and safe, the manufacturer added.