Shoppers Seek Sustainability
Take a quick look through the headlines and it’s easy to see that society is becoming increasingly eco-conscious. With more and more states banning the use of plastic bags and outlawing plastic straws, it’s clear that today’s consumers are committed to going green. This interest in sustainability and green practices is inevitably extending into the pet community, with more all-natural and sustainable products coming to market. With that comes increased pressure on pet retailers to implement sustainable business practices and stock products that appeal to customers’ interest in the environment.
To help the pet community adapt to an increased interest in sustainability, our team at World Pet Association (WPA) partnered with the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) to research the interest in and impact of sustainable practices and products on pet retail. One of the key findings was that millennials—who now make up the largest population of pet owners—are looking to make a difference with their purchases and expect retailers to offer options that allow them to reduce their impact on the environment. In fact, one study found that 90 percent of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable pet products, while 77 to 81 percent expect pet products to be BPA-free and all natural or organic.
With such a high interest in eco-conscious products among this highly influential demographic, it makes smart business sense for pet retailers to increase their focus on sustainability. Thankfully, doing so doesn’t have to be a monumental shift. There are simple ways to “reduce your pawprint” by increasing your inventory of sustainable products.
Think Global, Act Local
Pet products that are made in the USA have become increasingly popular in the pet community. In fact, there is a wide selection of new, American-made products showcased at SuperZoo, which will be held this year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from Aug. 20-22, that are fan favorites. Take the trend one step further and support your hyper-local community by stocking all-natural products made by small, eco-conscious businesses in your area. This not only demonstrates your commitment to going green, but also shows your support for local entrepreneurs.
Look at the Label
Food isn’t the only category of products that has consumers focused on ingredients. From shampoos and wellness products to toys and accessories, customers want to know what’s inside and where it came from. It’s not unusual for customers to turn a shampoo bottle around to look at the label to ensure the product is hypoallergenic, cruelty free, BPA free, etc. As retailers, it’s important you do the same to ensure you stock a mix of products that can appeal to your eco-savvy shoppers. If products don’t come with an ingredients label, question your manufacturer’s representative and insist in learning about the specific products they carry.
Steer Clear of Synthetics
With today’s aforementioned focus on reducing plastic waste and its detrimental impact on the environment, recycling and biodegradability are top of mind for consumers. Tap into the trend by steering clear of products made of synthetic materials and stocking more sustainable pet supplies. For example, increase your inventory of hemp products, which are natural and environmentally friendly, or biodegradable waste bags, which only take three to six months to decompose, as opposed to synthetic waste bags, which take hundreds of years.
Promote Your Green Practices and Products
Once you begin implementing more sustainable practices and stocking more green products, make it known. Promote these products in your store; hold information sessions educating consumers on the importance of eco-concsiousness in the pet community; and position yourself as a local resource on sustainability. Even getting your employees involved in green initiatives will improve employee satisfaction. In fact, three-fourths of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. These are small steps to increasing your profits and your customer and staff satisfaction, while also making great strides toward reducing your own carbon footprint.
To access more information on how you can turn your business green, download the full sustainability report at superzoo.org.
Join WPA at its flagship event, SuperZoo, taking place Aug. 20-22, in Las Vegas. Here, you’ll meet a wide variety of suppliers and manufacturers focused on locally made products, all-natural ingredients and sustainable trends. For more information or to register, visit superzoo.org.
Jacinthe Moreau is the president of World Pet Association (WPA). Moreau has broad international experience in the animal health industry. Her career trajectory, which includes a variety of roles at companies such as Vetoquinol, Merial, Merck, VetSource and VCA Animal Hospitals, prepared her to lead WPA.