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Cat Marketplace: More Money in the Kitty

Posted: August 30, 2013, 3:30 p.m. EDT


Boost cat grooming product sales by promoting such tools as vital to cats’ overall health regime.

By Stacy N. Hackett

Cats have a reputation for keeping themselves clean, but sometimes they need a little assistance from their owners to continue looking their best. Manufacturers offer a range of products to make cat grooming simple, easy and safe.

"Cat owners want to purchase products designed for the health and safety of their pet and to effectively fill their need,” said Lisa Jordan, sales and marketing director for Espree Animal Products in Grapevine, Texas.

To meet the needs of such pet owners, Espree offers grooming products made of natural and organic ingredients, Jordan said, all of which contain organically grown aloe vera to promote healthy skin and coat.

Cat Grooming Products
Cat owners seek out shampoos and conditioners made especially for felines. Carrie Brenner/i5Publishing at Pet Supply

Purr ‘N Natural Cat & Kitten Foaming Shampoo and Silky Show Cat Shampoo are two of Espree’s most popular products, which Jordan said is related to the increase in cat owners seeking professional grooming services.

"Cat grooming has been on the rise in professional salons for some time,” she said. "This increase has fueled the need for a larger range of cat-specific grooming products.”

At The Pet Stop in Murrieta, Calif., cats that are brought in for grooming services are bathed with natural shampoos manufactured by Nature’s Specialties. The store stocks several of the company’s products and recommends them to customers, along with the Magic Coat cat shampoos offered by Four Paws Pet Products.

"Customers tend to buy what we recommend,” said Heather Thoman, store associate at The Pet Stop. "We also recommend the Love Glove [by Four Paws Pet Products] for grooming, because it removes loose hair while the owner is petting the cat.”

The Right Tools
Of all the types of grooming products available for cats (such as shampoos, conditioners and other bathing products), grooming tools sell best at The Urban Pet.

"Brushes, combs, nail clippers and fragrance-free grooming wipes are most popular,” said Zack Grey, owner of the three stores located in Southern California.

Cat grooming products in general tend to be slow movers in Grey’s stores, "simply due to the fact that felines are natural-born groomers,” he said. "Cats do such a great job on their own.”

Cat grooming products also move slowly at Linda’s Feed and Supplies in Norco, Calif. Tracy Kreun, store manager, said more customers ask about dog grooming products than those for cats. Certain situations, however, will bring customers into the store.

"If the cat’s coat is tangled or matted, the owner will come in for help,” said Kreun. "We have detanglers and shampoos for owners willing to deal with the issue themselves instead of taking the cat to a groomer. The owner needs to have a good relationship with the cat to bathe it.”

Cat owners also visit Linda’s Feed and Supplies seeking solutions for cats with hairballs. For such customers, store employees point out Petromalt Hairball Relief by Sentry and recommend regular brushing to remove loose hair from the cat’s coat.

"We stock the Safari line of grooming tools, including the de-shedding tool,” Kreun said.

Shedding issues often lead cat owners to seek solutions at their local pet store.

"Behind litterbox cleaning, cat hair and shedding is the biggest complaint among cat owners,” said Erin Terjesen, public relations representative for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Jarden Consumer Solutions, maker of the Oster Animal Care ShedMonster.

The ShedMonster offers one way to deal with excess hair, as it gently removes the fur from the cat’s undercoat, she said.

To simplify finding the correct tool for customers’ particular grooming needs, Katie Pusateri, communication manager of Alliance, Ohio-based Coastal Pet Products, suggests retailers create a section in the store dedicated to cat grooming products.

"Cat owners want grooming products that are made especially for cats,” she noted. "They don’t want to buy grooming tools that were made for small dogs.”

Remember the Ears
An often-overlooked component of cat grooming involves the cat’s ears. Consistent attention to this part of the cat’s body can prevent buildup of wax and might help owners detect problems such as ear mites early.
Placing ear treatment products in the cat grooming section or near the register can remind customers of the need to care for their cats’ ears. Bio-Groom offers an ear care center display that contains a gentle ear canal cleanser, a powder to keep ears dry and a natural treatment to kill ear mites. The line coordinates with Bio-Groom’s full range of cat bathing products.
For customers specifically looking for natural products, Ark Naturals offers an ear lotion made from herbal ingredients designed to soothe irritated ears. Espree Animal Products also offers Clean Ear Treatment, a blend of natural oils formulated to remove dirt and debris.—SNH

To satisfy this need, Coastal Pet Products offers its Safari line of cat grooming products, which includes items such as the Flexible Slicker, Massage Brush, Soft Tip Massager, Shed Magic de-shedding tool and Deluxe Trimmer. These products are distinguished from the company’s line of dog grooming tools by packaging in a different color scheme.

"Every package includes a QR code that sends the customer to a demonstration video,” Pusateri added.

Coastal Pet Products offers signage to further educate customers about the Safari line of grooming tools.

"Point-of-purchase signage is a guide to choose the right tool for every grooming need,” Pusateri said. "It is very customer friendly and ensures that the consumer is finding their desired product and using it properly after it is purchased.”

What Are the Benefits?
Becoming familiar with each type of product and explaining benefits can encourage sales, as Kreun has found at Linda’s Feed and Supplies. Once an experienced employee understands the customer’s particular grooming need, she can recommend the proper product—even when it seems the customer’s issue is not related to grooming.

"Keeping nails properly trimmed can keep the cat from scratching items around the house,” Pusateri offered as an example.

Regular nail trimming also prevents overgrown nails from becoming painful for the cat. Similarly, regular brushing can provide health benefits for cats.

"Grooming is an essential part of keeping the cat’s coat clean and healthy,” she said. "Regular brushing distributes natural oils, leaving a shiny, healthy coat.”

And while cats do groom themselves, they often need a little extra help.

"If cats were perfect at grooming themselves, there would be no need for hairball remedies,” Terjesen said. "[Products such as] ShedMonster and regular grooming can make a world of difference.”

Promoting grooming products as part of a cat’s overall health care regimen can help boost sales of these slow movers, especially when a customer learns of the health benefits or if the product will help solve an existing issue. <HOME>

 



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