What SuperZoo Attendees Need to Know Before the 2019 Show
Pet Product News: The landscape in the pet industry is constantly changing. How would you characterize the state of the industry today? And what challenges and/or opportunities exist today for the independent pet specialty retailer?
Jacinthe Moreau: The pet products industry is exploding! It could not be a better time to be a member of this industry and growing community. Every segment, from pet technology to pet accessories, is expanding, including toys, food, pet care and grooming products. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global pet care market is expected to reach $202.6 billion by 2025, and with the growing consideration of pets as family members, it is no surprise that the market for pet products is on an upward trajectory.
The traditional retail industry is morphing into a multifaceted landscape, and this brings challenges. The rapid growth of pet retail also has attracted new players, has become increasingly competitive and is faced with significant pressure from online retailers. It’s key that independent specialty retailers provide an exceptional shopping experience by being knowledgeable, answering questions with appropriate solutions and providing the human interaction with impeccable customer service that online sites may lack—but let’s not be fooled, some online retailers are making sure their virtual clients are well taken care of by offering stellar service.
Retailers need to be savvy about how they manage their inventory as well. By knowing their customers’ needs and bringing in products that will fill a void, they will have repeat visitors. Another opportunity for pet retailers is to use and manage the data they are accumulating every day. Data informs everything from employee management to cash flow. Retailers need to understand their inventory numbers and cash-flow reports so they can make smart buying decisions.
PPN: Given the state of the industry today, how has the value of SuperZoo continued to evolve for attendees? Why should industry members make the investment in the show?
Moreau: The majority of trade show attendees (92 percent) come to see and learn about what’s new in products and services. With this in mind, we continue to evolve SuperZoo to include features and education that provide the support and resources retailers need to be successful. Calling out pet tech products within our product showcase allows buyers to discover innovation, automation and solutions for today’s highly connected pet owners, including Bluetooth, robotic and smart devices. A draw for American-made products has been growing in the past few years, and to address that trend and the desire to shop local, we identify those products in the product showcase area where retailers can shop this trend and address consumer requests for high-quality, American-made options. We have also enhanced our educational topics to pertain to new marketing tactics, the latest grooming techniques and industry trends that retailers should be considering as product segments. And at the upcoming show, the Pet Tech Center and the Made in the USA Showcase products will be identified within the New Product Showcase to make a larger one-stop trend and product discovery area on the show floor.
Additionally, in recognition that sustainable products are significant and of growing importance to consumers, WPA has partnered with the Pet Sustainability Coalition in an effort to connect sustainable brands and retailers.
SuperZoo and the WPA are focused on serving the needs of pet product retailers. With this as our mission, we will continue to evolve the show and association to ensure they have a trusted resource for business growth.
PPN: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event?
Moreau: I always look forward to reuniting with the industry. I really value things like the networking reception and the concert where we can share stories and collaborate in a fun and relaxed setting. Networking is the unsung hero of SuperZoo. The opportunity to get away from your store and meet with peers experiencing similar challenges or implementing unique marketing promotions is invaluable. We hear over and over that attendees have been able to form successful business partnerships and long-distance mentoring relationships. These stories of true inspiration remind us of why we host this show every year.
PPN: WPA launched the Pet Tech Center and the Made in the USA Showcase last year, which will move to the New Product Showcase this year. What prompted the move, and what can attendees expect from these sections this year?
Moreau: Yes, we are creating one large trend-focused hub on the show floor. One of our primary jobs is to stay abreast of all industry-related trends and bring them to life on the show floor. To make these trends shoppable in a convenient, efficient way, we will be combining the Pet Tech Center, Made in the USA Showcase and the New Product Showcase in to a one-stop-shop location. We are proud to set the industry standard for showcasing the latest pet product innovations and emerging industry trends. Our goal is to not only showcase innovative new products, but to also bring relevant content, education and sessions to this area to provide retailers with the support they need to successfully bring these trends into their stores. We are creating content for this area now and will be excited to unveil it to the industry.
PPN: After having the show in June last year, WPA adjusted the dates of its 2019 show to August. What are the advantages of having moved the show to August? What prompted this decision?
Moreau: After listening to feedback from pet professionals and reviewing SuperZoo’s post-show research, we realized that August more efficiently matches the business goals and priorities of both brands and retailers. Specifically, the shift was made to ensure SuperZoo aligned with holiday product launches and seasonal buying cycles. We always want to ensure that this hardworking, dedicated community is able to come together at a date that is most conducive to their business needs. Our commitment to serving the needs of the industry requires us to be vigilant, listen to feedback and take action when required. This change will give retailers the opportunity to be the first to see, touch and buy emerging product trends. With this change, retailers can source unique pet food, snacks, gear, technology and accessories that will allow them to differentiate themselves and compete in today’s competitive market.
PPN: The SuperZoo show floor continues to expand year after year, offering an increased selection of products for attendees to explore. What do you think this expansion says about the health of the pet industry? What does it suggest about the show itself?
Moreau: The expansion is absolutely a reflection of industry growth and one of the reasons that SuperZoo has been named one of Trade Show Executive (TSE) magazine’s Fastest Growing 50, TSE’s Gold 100 and Trade Show News Network’s (TSNN) 25 Fastest Growing Trade Shows. That growth is also due to SuperZoo being the first choice for many companies that have never attended a trade show before. These attendees bring fresh ideas and are a part of why SuperZoo is known as the show where new trends are found and where innovation flourishes. In fact, SuperZoo is the preferred show to attend for those entering the pet industry with new and creative products.
PPN: Education is a key component of what SuperZoo offers to show attendees. What can they expect from this year’s assortment of seminars and show floor talks?
Moreau: I recently read about a survey that found trade show attendees to be the most driven and motivated to attend by the roster of educational program offerings. The Decision to Attend Study for Conventions and Exhibitions survey, which was published on the ASAE Center for Association Leadership’s website, said that for attendees, education ranked as the top factor in their decision to attend a trade show. Education, talks and panel discussions are influential when exhibitors are deciding to participate in an event because they are eager to stay abreast of trending and emerging topics impacting their customers. SuperZoo offers the most comprehensive and robust educational programming in the pet industry, which is a flagship feature of the event. There is truly something for every attendee looking to sharpen their skills in seminars led by industry thought leaders and top experts in their fields. Sessions in four main content areas including retail, grooming, service industry and animal wellness will give attendees forward-thinking, business-building resources, which will allow them to refine their business acumen, learn best business practices and set themselves up for success.
PPN: Another major aspect of the show is its grooming contests. What makes these contests so important to the grooming industry and the pet industry as a whole?
Moreau: Pet grooming is a growing market segment. [It was] valued at $2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $3 billion by the end of 2025. SuperZoo is home to the largest grooming contest and is leading the industry in providing education and product support to this important audience. The event provides a national stage for talented artisans to showcase their work and expertise, and these competitions inspire retailers to consider adding grooming as an extension to their businesses. We also have Rescue Rodeo, a contest where dogs from local rescues are made over by groomers at SuperZoo and are available for adoption.
PPN: Any pre-show tips for this year’s attendees?
Moreau: To make the most out of the SuperZoo experience, we always recommend to plan ahead, and we offer several free resources to help in that process. My first suggestion is to register before you get to the show. It’s free to register in advance, and it saves time standing in lines.
We always recommend a plan for your show days. With so much to see and experience, your days will go by quickly. Review the education lineup and sign up for sessions early to guarantee your spot. Sessions start on the Monday before the show floor opens, so you have time to take advantage of the pet industry’s top educational offerings. One of the best pieces of planning advice I can give you is to download the SuperZoo Mobile App before the show, which is available here. The app is an incredibly helpful free tool that will allow you to schedule your sessions and map out the large show floor, and you can utilize our new Chatbot feature to quickly get answers to all of your questions about the show. Be sure to schedule time to network with other retailers at the networking reception, or consider reaching out to exhibitors and pet pros before the show to see if they’re attending and want to grab lunch. There’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting to solidify a relationship!