BY LINDSE Y GE TZ
As more dogs join their owners on new adventures, demand for pet
travel products has soared.
These days, dog owners are taking their four- legged friends everywhere—including on vacation with them. With the option of taking their pets along for the journey, owners can arrange to stay on holiday longer and relax more. As
such, travel products continue to gain popularity.
“Pet-friendly travel continues to increase with
staycations and with more hotels accepting pets,
allowing people to take longer vacations if their
furry friends can join them,” said Michael Parness,
chief marketing officer for Outward Hound in
Centennial, Colo. “As a result, dog travel products
have evolved. Usability and style are converging
to create more travel product options than ever.”
Dog owners shopping for travel gear are driven by product safety, said Mandie Sweetnam,
travel and access category manager for PetSafe,
a brand of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Radio Systems
“Pets are becoming more and more mobile,
and the need to keep them safe in the car is a top
priority,” she added.
Along with safety, Alina Marsch, director of
operations for NYC Pet in Brooklyn, N. Y., said
that reliability and ease of use are also important.
“Consumers want products that make traveling—which is an adventure with your pet to begin with—as comfortable and as easy as possible,”
In addition to gear, Janet Monaco, owner of
Pet Pros in Rockledge, Fla., said it’s important not
to overlook the fact that a lot of dogs get anxious
about travel and could benefit from anti-anxiety
supplements. She sells a lot of these type of products to customers who are traveling with their
shopping for travel
gear are driven by the
safety of the products.
FIND MEANING IN DISPLAYS
When it comes to promoting travel products, displays can serve many purposes and chief among
those is educating shoppers.
“Many people have never thought about their pets’ safety while traveling, even though they
would never drive without buckling up their kids and themselves,” said Gordie Spater, co-founder
and chief business officer for Kurgo in Salisbury, Mass. “Displays that have educational aspects to
them and get the consumer to consider their own habits when traveling are really provoking and
can drive sales.”
Spater said displays can be used as a way for customers to familiarize themselves with the
products and suggested that pet specialty retailers take items out of the box so that customers
can see how they work. For instance, he said a car seat harness can be displayed on a stuffed
dog, demonstrating the product’s purpose. Associates should also be trained on how to fit and use
the harness, he added.
In addition to being educational, displays can also be inspiring. They can be used to encourage
shoppers to take their dog along on adventures. Alina Marsch, director of operations for NYC Pet in
Brooklyn, N. Y, said that she tries to keep the store’s travel section creative.
“We have hot air balloons that we have hovering over our travel section,” she said. “We also
cut pictures out of travel magazines and put them on poster boards in the front window and in the
travel section to create displays. We’ve even put a small pop-up kids’ pool outside and put all of
our floating dog toys in there.”
Caroline Gunther, owner of Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique in Hendersonville, N.C., said that last
summer her store did a “get out and play”-themed display that was all about spending more time
outside with your dog. It included life jackets, backpacks and even toys. Gunther said that displays
can definitely serve as inspiration for dog owners to be more active with their pets.
“We also use a series of the large stuffed dogs to display different items, so we might put
them in raincoats or show off different collars,” Gunther said.
Michael Parness, chief marketing officer for Outward Hound in Centennial, Colo., said that
giving customers the opportunity to “touch, see, feel and try travel gear on their dogs” can make a
huge difference in landing the sale. He is a big fan of using a dog mannequin to create displays.
In addition, Parness said that there are many “moment of truth,” opportunities to get
customers excited about the idea of purchasing travel gear.
“Merchandising the relevant benefits of types of travel gear should convince consumers of the
‘why buy’ scenario,” he said. “People don’t always think they need more stuff for their dogs, but
if you identify a need, and something that makes travel easier, you have now created a chance to
turn a shopper into a buyer. Solving problems consumers have with products that are the answers
A Better WAY TO
A Better WAY TO
Hands-Free Front Pack
Carrier With Harness Clip
& Storage Pockets
Keeps Pets Secure With
Interior Safety Clips And
Provides An Elevated View
PLACE AN ORDER