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Freshen Up

Offer a comprehensive selection of stain, cleaning and odor control products for the home.


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One of the downsides of owning a pet is that dogs and cats can’t clean up after themselves, and their activities often create stains, spills and smells around the home. So when it comes to odor control and other cleaning products for the home, the trend toward safer, more responsible products that are as effective or more so than traditional solutions is growing, according to manufacturers. 

“The customer is more open than ever to trying something new in the home, as long as it is effective and allows them to better protect the ones they love,” said Pete Stirling, COO of Skout’s Honor in Irvine, Calif.

Home fragrance is the latest trend, said David Neuwirth, co-founder of One Fur All in Hollywood, Fla.

“Consumers not only want their homes to be free of pet odors, but they also want their home to smell great,” he said. “In addition, consumers want household products to be made in the USA from top-quality ingredients that are nontoxic and allergen free. These have been two of the biggest drivers of demand for our products.”

The convenience of multisurface cleaners and effective cleaning power are leading attributes that interest pet owners in this category, said Sherif Labib, product manager for Irving, Texas-based The Bramton Co., maker of the Simple Solution brand.

“Secondary benefits, such as scent, packaging and natural ingredients, also are important opportunities for brands to distinguish and promote products,” Labib said. “Balancing robustness with ingredient simplicity and convenience will be instrumental with pet parents going forward.”

Pattie Boden, owner of Animal Connection in Charlottesville, Va., said one of the biggest concerns that pet owners have is when urine hits a carpet; it seeps through the pad and into the flooring, which is why products that are strong penetrators are in demand.

“Fragrance and the ability to mask odor are the biggest sellers for us,” she said. 

Audree Berg, owner of Auggie’s Doggies in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., noted that more customers are looking for nontoxic solutions in their cleaning products. 

“We encourage the use of organic and probiotic sprays with no or low fragrance,” she said. “Some products with heavy perfumes are toxic to pets or can trigger allergic reactions. We also recommend to our cat owners that they keep the litterbox clean and change the litter frequently. Cats have a very acute sense of smell and will avoid using a dirty litterbox.”

Merchandising

Display Strategies

At Animal Connection in Charlottesville, Va., the cleaning and odor control products are displayed in the grooming products area. Owner Pattie Boden said that cross-marketing these products with the shampoos and other grooming items help them fly off the shelves.

Audree Berg, owner of Auggie’s Doggies in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the store has several display strategies for these products.

“The sprays are placed next to the litter and in our supplement areas,” she said. “The candles, wax melts and air sprays are in our supplement areas and near our checkout register, [and we use] a wax melt in our bathroom and keep a seasonal candle burning up at the register. We have noticed that by having the fragrance at both locations, our store has a welcoming feel with a pleasant smell that customers notice.”

Tara Garland, project manager for Montreal-based Earth Rated, said retailers should keep these products in areas that make sense—for example, place solutions for cleaning up pet messes next to pet waste bags.

“Retailers also need to keep displays clean and accessible so customers can look at the product and learn more about it,” she said.   

Sherif Labib, product manager for Irving, Texas-based The Bramton Co., maker of the Simple Solution line of products, said the company has recently offered in-store displays to retailers for pet cleaning product aisles to help consumers navigate the stain and odor set, and it has created many online tools to equip pet owners with the best guidelines for eliminating odors and removing tough stains. 

One Fur All in Hollywood, Fla., provides in-store signage, shelf talkers and attractive display options, making merchandising for its fragrant candles quick, easy and effective, said co-founder David Neuwirth. He recommends retail partners keep between four to six fragrances on hand to give the customer enough choices and have a candle lit in the store to help attract people to the product.

Pete Stirling, COO of Skout’s Honor in Irvine, Calif., said there are several ways that manufacturers can market their goods and drive traffic into pet supply stores.

“Sampling, influencer marketing, co-branding, doing things out of the ordinary, taking risks and testing new ideas that may be unconventional for pet products are ways to succeed,” he said. “Brands need to reach outside of the channel to attract new customers to pet specialty.”

New Products

Introductions in Stain and Odor Control

Hollywood, Fla.-based One Fur All is developing a fabric sprays line. 

“These are perfect for couches, pillows, and pet beds and blankets,” said co-founder David Neuwirth. “We’ll also be releasing awesome new fragrances for our candles, car fresheners and wax melts.”

Tara Garland, project manager of Earth Rated in Montreal, said the company has designed a Stain & Odor Remover that is targeted for dog and cat urine and feces because it is a serious household issue. 

“We wanted a product that works for cats and dogs because many of our customers have multipet homes, and we wanted to offer a large format and a product that could be used on multiple surfaces,” she said. 

Alpha Tech Pet recently launched PX550, which removes urine odors instantly, unlike enzyme-based products that might take some time to work, said Tom Bissanti, national sales manager for the Littleton, Mass., company.   

“When we say instantly, we mean as soon as you spray the area, the odor is gone and gone for good,” Bissanti said. “The best thing is it uses a combination of all-natural products that are 100 percent biodegradable, nontoxic and fabric safe.” 

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