FEEDING THE NEW
To meet demand for attractive feeders, Toronto-based Jascor
Housewares, maker of the Messy Mutts brand, is maintaining
its focus on designing items that fit in with home and kitchen
décor, said Chris Shipton, founder and co-owner.
The company’s latest offering is the Elevated Double
Feeder, which is designed to grow with a dog as it ages. The
company will introduce a special edition version, and the
feeder will be available in four colors, Shipton said.
Different alternative feeder options are increasingly of
interest to consumers, said Michael Parness, chief marketing
officer at Outward Hound in Centennial, Colo., and he sees
the influence of housewares designs in the category, as well.
Additionally, there is growing demand for automatic feeders
and waterers, he stated.
A new product from Outward Hound is the Fun Feeder
Mat. The flexible slow feeder mat comes in two sizes, and it
is designed to encourage dogs to feed up to 10 times more
slowly than they would otherwise, Parness said.
The new feeder mat’s expandability is gaining attention in
the industry, said Danielle Chockley, bird manager/purchasing
manager at Pet Kingdom in San Diego. The color options also
are great, she added.
“It’s a bowl that’s going to last for a time,” Chockley said.
“Plus, it’s a slow feeder, so it’s aiding in [dogs’] digestion.”
On the high-tech side of dog feeders, smartphone-en-
abled treaters and other phone-based feeder systems are just
starting to appear on the market, sources reported.
“PetChatz is the first-ever, patented Greet and Treat
Videophone,” said Lisa Lavin, CEO of Anser Innovation in
The company officially launched the second generation
of PetChatz products in 2016, including PetChatz HD
and PawCall, which is designed to provide a two-way
remote interactive experience for pet owners and their
pets, Lavin said.
ABOUT FOOD TECH
The most important aspect of selling tech feeders, waterers
and treaters is to make sure customers understand the benefits of what retailers are offering.
“Many customers don’t even know that there is such
a concept as a slow bowl,” said John Headley, co-owner of
Wolf & Lion Pet Supplies in San Francisco. “Make sure your
employees are well informed.”
Start with a question, Headley suggested, and custom-
ers will naturally follow up with their own questions.
This approach provides retailers the opening they need
to begin discussing how they can help customers solve
In some cases, retailers might have to go the extra mile
and reach out to customers both in-store via signage and
online through email lists and social media to fully explain the
benefits of tech feeders and waterers, said Michael Parness,
chief marketing officer at Outward Hound in Centennial, Colo.
“Create simple infographics and iconography signage
with easy-to-understand information on what the pros and
cons are for different types of products,” he said.
To really have success with tech-based feeders, waterers
and treaters, it helps to be very familiar with the products and
to be ready to discuss their benefits, said Lisa Lavin, CEO of
Anser Innovation in Minneapolis.
“The key to success in this category is positioning and
knowledgeable selling,” she said. “You must make sure the
sales team understands the product enough to sell it.”
The trick is to motivate sales staff first.
“You have to create excitement first in your sales staff,”
said Danielle Chockley, bird manager/purchasing manager
at Pet Kingdom in San Diego. “Once you get that, it doesn’t
matter if the people are interested or not. [Once] you get the
newest thing in and you’re telling all your customers, next
thing you know, you can’t keep it on the shelf.”
Because some high-tech dog feeders and waterers are relatively new and
many customers are not yet familiar with their benefits, it’s important to
figure out how to build a market through experimentation.
“Test everything,” said Danielle Chockley, bird manager/purchasing
manager at Pet Kingdom in San Diego. “Bring everything in. Test it, try it, and
find out if it works for your store to see if you can create a market for it.”
Generally, it might not be best to rely solely on signage, said John
Headley, co-owner of Wolf & Lion Pet Supplies in San Francisco. He finds that
customers don’t read much in-store, preferring instead to do research online.
“The hardest part is getting the information across,” he said. “If you’re in
the store, you’ve got a few minutes [to do so].”
It’s important to make it easy for customers to identify products retailers
Set up a shelf labeled “top picks,” said Michael Parness, chief marketing
officer at Outward Hound in Centennial, Colo. Putting recommendations on
display can help drive sales.
Another option is to create a high-tech section in-store.
“We recommend developing and marketing a ‘connected pet’ section
within the store,” said Lisa Lavin, CEO of Anser Innovation in Minneapolis.
RADIO SYSTEMS CORP. offers
PetSafe Busy Buddy Chamomile-Scent-ed Calming Toys. Designed to help
with separation anxiety and stress,
the toys dispense food and assist
with problem-solving by distracting
a pet from the cause of their anxiety,
such as thunderstorms, fireworks,
veterinary visits or other stressful situations. The soothing chamomile scent
helps reduce anxiety, while the patented Treat Meter randomly dispenses
treats to keep dogs entertained and
playing longer. petsafe.net
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WARREN LONDON’S Deep Cleaning Paw
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of the itchiness that leads to paw licking.
The product cleans and sanitizes paws and
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and replenishes moisture in the paws.