PROMOTING TREAT SALES
Pet specialty retailers can use enticing promotions to bolster cat treat
Kalei Lewis, nutrition consultant for Only Natural Pet in Boulder,
Colo., said that rotating specials on cat treats can really help highlight
something a cat owner might not otherwise have thought to try.
“We have a lot of success running various specials on cat treats,”
Lewis said. “A special sale on a particular cat treat is a great way to
get people in the door and checking out something they might not
have tried before. We’ve found it’s the best way to open people’s
To be successful, retailers should promote treats often—and not
wait until a customer enters the store, industry insiders assert.
“Promoting cat treats needs to take place at every step of the
shopper’s journey,” said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer
experience at WellPet in Tewksbury, Mass. “Because cats have more
specific palates than dogs, treats are not as top-of-mind for cat
parents. So, manufacturers and retailers need to encourage snacking
for cats across web, social and other digital channels before the
customer even steps foot in the store.”
Promotions involving free trials can also be very effective, she
“Because taste is [often] their first consideration, cat parents need
certain reassurance when buying cat treats,” Leary-Coutu said. “For
retailers, this may mean offering more recipes in trial sizes that allow
cat parents to test recipes at home without investing in larger bag
Andrea Bourne, sales and marketing manager for Pure Treats
in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada, agreed that sampling is an
effective promotion strategy when it comes to increasing cat treat
“For this reason, we launched a pet specialty exclusive brick-and-mortar sampling campaign in our 2018 Q4 that included 500,000
samples and a $1 bounce-back coupon.”
SET UP TO SELL
Cross-merchandising and eye-catching displays can
give cat treat sales a boost, according to industry
Pet owners are seeking information they can
understand and trust, so displays and point-of-purchase materials that highlight treats’ features
and benefits in clear language are most effective,
said Julie S. Washington, chief marketing officer for
Champion Petfoods, which is based in Edmonton,
Displaying treats with food is another good sales
“Merchandising treats in the same displays as
regular cat food helps remind customers that treats
can be an appropriate extension to their main diet,”
Matt O’Leary, owner of Felix & Oscar in Springfield,
Va., said that interspersing treats throughout his
canned displays has made a difference.
“Most of our cat parent customers feed their cats
canned food since they understand the benefits of
moisture in their pet’s diet,” O’Leary said. “Having
some treat displays right there helps bring more
attention to the category.”
Vince Fahringer, store manager for Dogs & Cats
Rule, which has locations in Pennsylvania and New
Jersey, said that he is seeing increased interest in
freeze-dried raw treats, which he now keeps right
near the register.
“It makes that add-on treat purchase a no-brainer,” Fahringer said. “They see the treats when
they’re about to check out, and they often decide to
give them a try.”
TEMPTING FELINE TASTE BUDS
Pure Treats of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada,
debuted USA-sourced cat treats last summer, which
includes PureBites Wild Tuna and PureBites Minnow.
Each is made in the USA and contains a single 100
percent pure, ocean-caught raw freeze-dried ingredient,
according to the company.
St. Louis-based Whitebridge Pet Brands introduced
Tiki Cat Crunchers in September. The grain-free, high-protein treats come in two flavors, Tuna and Chicken,
and have real meat as the first ingredient, said company
officials. Crunchers contain less than three calories per
treat and include pumpkin to promote digestion. Both
flavors come in a 2-ounce resealable bag.
What is driving the latest trends in cat treats?
“I think, for us, the Boulder area is very health conscious to begin with.
As the people living here look to make healthier choices for themselves, it
only makes sense that they’re doing the same for their pets. That’s driving
the trend in healthier treats.”—KALEI LEWIS, nutritionconsultant at Only
Natural Pet in Boulder, Colo.
“Increasing awareness of options is driving more interest in healthy choices. Like they often do, the trends started with dogs and followed suit with
cats. We already have customers that come here looking for better-quality dog products—it just took [them] a little longer to realize that they
should seek out better-quality cat products, too.”—VINCEFAHRINGER,
store manager of Dogs & Cats Rule, which has stores in New Jersey and