Pet hair removal products reach a large customer base and offer retailers add-on sales opportunities.
By Lizett Bond
Pet hair removal products are increasingly popular with customers.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Evriholder Products
Excessive shedding is a frustrating dilemma in homes where furry family members reside and exasperated pet owners are looking for effective solutions. By arming customers with cleaning and hair removal products that help resolve this issue, retailers are providing the necessary weapons to combat this predicament.
“I have people coming in saying, ‘Oh my gosh, my lab is shedding his coat and there is hair everywhere,’” said Patti Storms, owner of Well Bred in Chester, N.J.
Climate and daylight hours control the shedding process, causing dogs and cats to shed at specific times during the year, but indoor pets are prone to shedding all year round. While grooming and nutrition play an important role in the crusade against shedding, hair removal products, both for the pet and the home, are at the frontline policing this indoor offender.
“Bissell’s research shows that pet hair pick-up tops the list of most difficult pet messes to rid from the home,” said Erin Reed, associate product manager for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Bissell’s Pawsitively Clean line of pet products.
Pawsitively Clean’s new “Pew!” provides a dual benefit for confronting pet hair. The spray product eliminates odors but is also formulated to help release the static bond holding hair to carpet or upholstery, according to the company.
Vacuums and attachments also make a large impact for pet parents dealing with pet hair removal and collection. Lending a hand to this task, Bissell’s Pet Hair Erase Vacuum is designed specifically for pet owners and offers special brushes and cleaning tools to remove hair, dander and dirt from carpet, upholstery and more.
Various other products for removing pet hair are making their way into the marketplace. No newcomer to the pet hair eradication front, Evriholder Products, in Anaheim, Calif., introduced the new FURemover Duo this year, a combination pet groomer and lint brush for use on furniture and clothing.
“With one side you groom your pet and with the other you can clean your furniture,” said Heidi Slocumb, vice president of marketing for the company. “It’s 100-percent rubber for easy cleaning and is a multifunctional tool.”
Impulse Merchandising for Hair Removal Products
For many customers, the lint brush in their hand is not the item they walked into a store to purchase. Perhaps it was pet food, a new bowl or cat litter, and while browsing that familiar aisle something caught their eye. It was the lint brush or a grooming item, affordably priced and hanging from a clip strip, right next to the eco-friendly kitty litter. Who could resist?
“Evriholder specializes in impulse merchandising,” said Heidi Slocumb, vice president of marketing for the Anaheim, Calif.-based company. “Whenever retailers offer us the opportunity, we suggest merchandising in the right adjacency.”
Slocumb recommended strategically placing hair removal products near goods customers are already shopping for, such as pet food, and hanging hair removal products on clip strips or side caps.
“That’s where customers are already shopping, they are already walking in those aisles,” she said. “Offer a selection of product at different price points so you hit the different consumer targets and applications.”
“Hair removal continues to be a strong need for consumers and impulse merchandising with proper adjacencies has really helped a lot of our retail partners boost their sales,” she added.
For smaller jobs, the FURemoval Mini removes hair, lint and dust from pets and upholstery, clothing and carpet and even sports a squeegee for wiping glass or countertops, the company reports.
Such items aid customers seeking convenient solutions for removing hair from cars, homes and furniture. Along these lines, Tamara Lewis-Benson, co-owner of Rivertown Feed and Pet Country Store in Petaluma, Calif., said carrying hair and lint brushes in the car or purse is handy for emergencies and quick cleanups.
“It is important for retailers to carry all of the support products for hair removal such as lint and hair brushes, furniture sweepers and stain removers,” she said.
Redesigns and innovation in the brush product category are adding to customers’ hair removal product selection. Brand new for 2010, Slocumb said Evriholder’s Deluxe Lint Brush is a redesigned version of their original lint brush and has been modified with improved functionality. With bristles on one side for fur, the wave design on the other side is designed for texturized and more fragile fabrics.
Joining the battle, rollers and peel-off tapes provide another method of hair removal. Sticky Sheets, manufactured by Sticky Sheets Unlimited in Colorado Springs, Colo., are designed to remove pet hair, lint and dust from furniture and car upholstery. Each 23x35-inch sheet can be reused several times and is large enough to cover most chairs.
“Our main customers are people who have multiple pets, and multi-cat households are probably our biggest customers because it’s really hard to keep up with that,” said Wen Boley, CEO of the company.
However, shedding hair isn’t confined to fabrics or carpet. Evriholders’ FURemover Broom and Mop combo pack features a rubber broom head and a fleece microfiber cleaning head. An alternative to chemical cleaners, the eco-friendly microfiber attracts dust, polishes while it cleans and can be used wet or dry, according to the company.
“The microfiber is removable and washable so you can just take it off and throw it in the washing machine,” Slocumb said.
A well-groomed pet sheds less and de-shedding tools that aid in removing a pet’s undercoat are useful in combating hair loss, according to several retailers.
Sheri Chambers, buyer for Bosley’s Pet Stores in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, said that FURminator offers a pre-brush treatment for pets, a waterless shampoo and conditioner that pet parents can spray on pets and use in conjunction with any deshedding tool.
“It helps condition the coat and loosen hair and has a nice, fresh scent that customers are happy with,” she said.
In addition, Storms said she has found some innovative ways to use these products for hair removal in the home.
“I actually find that we have a couple of items meant for dog grooming that help to pull hair out of fabric,” she said.
Storms added that rubber-grooming tools such as Kong’s Zoom Groom and Four Paws’ Magic Coat Love Glove both work well to remove pet hair from furniture.
Another dual benefit product from Pawsitively Clean is “Yowza!”, a vacuum attachment that helps groom pets and removes pet hair. The Yowza! attachment features a shedding blade to grab loose hair while the vacuum suction captures the flyaway hair during grooming. The product features universal adapters to fit all major vacuum brands, and the flexible hose is designed to help consumers move around pets while grooming, according to the company.
In Texas, Nadine Joli-Coeur, co-owner of Natural Pawz, a retail store with six locations, prefers the Furminator and the Furbuster by Bamboo as grooming tools to help eliminate flying fur.
“We also carry a selection of lint remover brushes and rollers to remove hair from carpet and furniture,” she added.
Many retailers find displaying and presenting hair removal products contributes to sales success. Presenting products on gondolas and shelves, Lewis-Benson also takes advantage of display materials provided by manufacturers and offers a broad selection of hair removal products.
“Whether it’s some of the new vacuums that are especially designed for pet hair removal in the home or lint and hair brushes, hair fabric sweepers or grooming items, a large portion of pet owners are very interested in keeping their pet’s hair on the animals and off the furniture and their clothes,” she said.
Other promotional opportunities exist for retailers, as well. For promotional purposes, Bosley’s highlights and recommends merchandise through mailers and informational pieces.
Beyond that, Chambers recommended developing a good rapport with customers to ensure confidence in the product offered.
“We are small, local pet stores so we tend not to do anything too ‘faddish’ if we can’t back it up,” she said. “If we test it and we don’t see that it’s going to give a great benefit, we’d rather not carry it.”
Chambers also emphasized the importance of employee training in marketing new products.
“We make sure our employees are knowledgeable and passionate about the products we carry so that they can assist the customer when they are in the store,” she said.
As far as marketing new products, Boley agreed it is beneficial for retailers to become familiar with an item in order to offer advice and personal recommendation.
“Customers listen to advice,” he said. “If retailers find out how good a product works, they can recommend it and really, personal recommendation is best.”
Reed agreed, noting that the first step for a retailer is to recognize that hair cleanup is a big concern for pet-owning consumers. In order to earn their trust, retailers must truly understand the challenges they face, offer proven solutions and easy-to-shop merchandising.
“Pet hair is a constant challenge for pet parents and they are willing to try new solutions,” she said. “Especially solutions that work.”
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