There has been a steady market shift from brick and mortar to online retail over the past decade. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend. Change that would have taken years happened in weeks as people were under “stay at home” orders worldwide.
Offline spending shifted online. Products rarely bought online became e-commerce staples. With these rapid changes, consumers started expecting more from online retailers. Immediacy, convenience, and speed became critical.
Brands were faced with the challenge of pivoting to serve customers online or face plummeting sales. A year later, the primary consumer demands of fast and easy shopping remain, but now consumers are also seeking personal experiences that mirror the interactions they would have in-store.
As the digital marketplace explodes with competition from legacy wholesales, global retail giants, and new product categories that previously were not traditionally purchased online, customer acquisition costs are also on the rise.
While pet supplies are frequently purchased online, pet food remained a primarily in-store purchase. The cumbersome nature of shipping large bags of kibble has particularly limited Canada with its relatively small population compared to its vast landmass. The economics of shipping pet food direct to consumers is something that many companies have tried to tackle with moderate success, at best.
Prior to the pandemic, 91% of Canadian dog owners surveyed preferred to purchase their pet food in brick and more retail stores and veterinary clinics. A survey recently conducted now shows that 55% of dog-owning Baby Boomers and 88% of Millennial dog owners choose e-commerce and direct-to-consumer options.
This shift’s permanency will depend on the state of the world and the experience delivered to pet owners. Many owners previously relied on the information and recommendations of pet store or veterinary clinic team members. Amidst the current state of curbside delivery in many Provinces across Canada, owners are missing those interactions.
The future of retail purchase opportunities will depend on brands and retailers’ ability to create virtual shopping experiences that bring pet owners the same ability to ask questions, discuss options, and seek expert advice.
Half of all e-commerce sales occur on marketplaces. Pet owners are on these platforms seeking solutions to their pet needs, not specific brands. Building a brand is even more critical in a future of retail where shelf presence is no longer a factor.
The StreetDog Marketing team can help your brand stand out in the new reality of Canada’s pet market. Talk to us about how we can help build and grow your digital presence, ensure your customers can find you and your products, and help you build a strong e-commerce platform.