What are cat owners seeking in a cat litter?
MAKE IT EASY
Cat litter can be challenging to display and requires some thought to market, according to retailers.
“Since litter is bulky and potentially heavier than many other cat products, we dis-
play the bags in a cat-specific area in an ergonomically friendly position, where little
effort is required to move them to the checkout area,” said Norm Shrout, co-owner
of Long Leash On Life in Albuquerque, N.M. “Litter is jointly marketed with other cat
products, especially litter scoops and boxes. We often create sale bundles containing
litterboxes, small bags of litter and other starter cat products for new feline arrivals.
The discounted price usually gets their attention, and they’ll hopefully end up buying a
few more things than planned that will ultimately benefit their new kitty BFF.”
Nadine Joli-Coeur, chief merchandising officer for Natural Pawz, which has
stores in Texas, recommended keeping litter easy to shop while being creative with
“We may stock smaller bags on the bottom shelf, but also include product in oth-
er areas, such as with potty pads and eco-friendly cleaner,” she said. “We also make
litter part of our cat feature displays.”
When it comes to marketing cat litter, Shrout said the best marketing tool is a
brief chat with cat owners about the litter they currently use.
“Contrast the features and benefits of your litter,” he said. “Conscientious cat
parents are quick to see the light and will hopefully end up trying your litter.”
LEARNING ABOUT LITTER
Because of the different types of litters now available to cat owners, customer education is crucial in this category.
“It is important for retailers to understand products and how they relate to their
customer base or demographic,” said Gina Zaro, marketing director for Dr. Elsey’s Cat
Products in Englewood, Colo. “Education is extremely important to our client base
since our product line is solution based. If a client comes in the store and their cat is
not using the litterbox or having a respiratory issue, it is important that the retailer be
able to point the customers in the right direction, like to our Cat Attract or Respiratory
Joey Herrick, president of Lucy Pet Products in Thousand Oaks, Calif., said a brief
conversation is all it takes for retailers to help solve litterbox problems.
“Educate consumers and talk to them about the real problem of litterboxes, which
is the dangerous ammonia fumes,” he said. “They can actually cause upper respiratory infections, runny eyes and nose, burning around the mouth, asthma, etc.
“When consumers realize how dangerous ammonia is to cats and people, they
will want a solution to stop it,” Herrick said. “Retailers can educate cat consumers
about the dangers of ammonia and that they happen to have a solution right on their
store shelf with Cats Incredible. They will have a customer for life.”
Jean Broders, senior brand manager for Kent Pet Group in Muscatine, Iowa, maker
of World’s Best Cat Litter, pointed out that the pet specialty channel is really the only
retail segment that has the opportunity to understand consumers on a personal level.
“The consumer is looking for expert advice from store associates, which means
associates need to be experts on a lot of products,” she said. “Nowhere else does the
associate have the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation about a brand.”
Because of this, retailers need to take advantage of training that manufacturers
offer, Broders said. This includes face-to-face training and support collateral that can
be left behind for associates to review and reference when needed.
“We offer some easy-to-use training pieces on our new Advanced product line,”
she said. “The content explains our ‘Why to Buy’ statements to assist when explaining
the formulas to consumers.”
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