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Abundant Tagging Options

Posted: June 21, 2011, 2:15 p.m., EDT

Sizzling Stock: ID Tags

Retailers can take advantage of the growing niche of innovative and creative pet identification products.

By Julie Washburn

Thanks to new and existing products, retailers have a plethora of pet identification solutions to recommend and sell to their customers. This wide range of products allow owners to express their pets’ unique personalities as well as ensure their companions are protected and can find their way home, thanks to safety features and critical owner information included on the tags as well as online databases. This boom in pet ID tags and related items can be attributed to manufacturers that are routinely developing new and innovative products, as well as pet owners who are demanding the best and most current features to help accessorize and protect their pets.

One such product that has been on the market for some time is SmartTag.com (formerly IDTag.com). Manufactured by Secaucus, N.J.,-based LittleGifts Inc., the SmartTag Pet ID combines an online pet and owner profile with notifications to shelters and rescues as well as a live call center that operates around the clock.

Newer engraving unit designs take into account a store’s space limitations, along with the need for ease of use.
Newer engraving unit designs take into account a store’s space limitations, along with the need for ease of use.
Photo courtesy of iMarc Engraving Systems
“For the specialty pet retailer, SmartTag is an excellent option,” said company COO, David Sarnowski. “By utilizing a pre-engraved serial number, or ‘pet social security number,’ the tags and system do not require that the retailer purchase any expensive equipment to engrave tags.  And retailers who have already invested in ID tag engraving machines can include SmartTag in their assortment of engraved tags.”

Retailers who are considering adding or updating an engraving machine may appreciate iMARC Engraving Systems’ latest offering. The privately-held corporation based in Phoenix introduced a countertop version of the iMARC Pet Tag Engraver at this year’s Global Pet Expo. The new model offers faster engraving speeds, a full-color, high-resolution LED display, a tag counter, and the ability to use multiple fonts and type sizes on the same tag. A new Limited Edition tag style also is offered each month, ensuring that retailers who utilize the machine will have fresh, new options to offer pet owners, according to the company.

 “The more than 2,000 varieties of tags and plates are stamped out of chrome-plated brass, anodized aluminum and brass. Some are then laser engraved with a design,” said Jaci Feaser, the company’s marketing manager. “The tags offer pet owners a variety of styles with which to accessorize their pet. Pet owners today are looking to express themselves through their pet’s fashion. The fashionable aspect of pet tags is just one reason that many owners continue to use them, despite advances in microchipping technology.”

In terms of ease of identification, Kim Stout, marketing manager for Coastal Pet Products in Alliance Ohio, noted a trend in the pet ID tags currently on the market.

“As more people are traveling with their pets, instant personalization becomes increasingly important,” she said.

Coastal Pet Products makes a wide variety of waterproof and durable ID tags. The company reported it has implemented safety features into its pet ID tags as well as constructing them out of resilient material so that they are long-lasting and sturdy.

“When people are on vacation, they can instantly update contact information by writing directly on the tag with a pen or pencil, said Diane Thomas, the company’s communications manager.  “Waterproof and permanent, it couldn’t be easier; so whether traveling to the beach, on a road trip or hunting in the woods, people can rest assured knowing their pets will not lose their personalized tags.”

For dog and cat owner, ID tags tend to serve more than one purpose: Not only can they help keep their pets safe, they also can add style and reflect the pet’s (and owner’s) personality.
For dog and cat owner, ID tags tend to serve more than one purpose: Not only can they help keep their pets safe, they also can add style and reflect the pet’s (and owner’s) personality.
Photo courtesy of SmartTag/LittleGifts Inc.
Creative, colorful pet ID tags are popular, and now companies are offering artists—professional and amateur— the opportunity to use tags as their canvas and showcase their work on their pets’ collars, industry sources reported. Dog Tag Art, which came to fruition in 2009 and is located in Asheville, N.C., is one such company.

“Dog Tag Art offers more than 500 different designs and counting, created by 40-plus artists from around the world. In addition, customers can upload images and create their own tags,” said Jack Carrier, founder and chief executive officer. “We recently launched a point-of-sale display for retailers that includes a variety of tag samples and pre-paid cards that customers can purchase and then use on our website to choose their design and customize the text. We also are able to create custom designs, specific for retailers, that support their branding.”

Consumer demand for new items helps ensure this product category will continue to grow. Coastal Pet Products is just one of the many companies that is heeding the call of that demand. A new and improved EZ Change ID Clip, which is designed to make changing tags quicker and more convenient, is set to launch soon, as is new packaging.

“The newly engineered EZ Change ID Clip makes adding and changing tags easy,” said Bob Holt, research and product development manager for Coastal. “This clip has no S hook requiring tools to attach, or difficult-to-handle split rings that can tangle in a pet’s fur. Simply push on the spring-loaded latch to add tags to the clip and attach to the pet’s collar.”

SmartTag, which implemented new logos, packaging and tag designs last year, is also expanding its reach to consumers.

“Earlier this year, we reached agreements with many of the major engraving machine suppliers, so that SmartTag blanks will fit their machines,” Sarnowski noted. “Retailer feedback has been very positive, as these agreements allow them to offer traditional engraved tags with the added benefit of the SmartTag System.”

Industry participants agreed that it is important for retailers to add or expand their selection of pet ID tags and related products.

“The average pet owner buys multiple tags each year to replace damaged tags or keep extras on different collars. ID tags have traditionally been high-margin items that turn quickly,” Sarnowski said. “ID tags are a staple item that every pet retailer should carry in some capacity.”

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