The pet retail industry is one of the fastest growing industries today - with more millennials putting off starting a family, a (semi) less demanding cat or dog becomes their 'child' and they looove their children. Last year, consumers spent over $60 billion dollars on their pets' comfort and well-being - shattering previous records and retailers are scrambling to take a piece of that $60 billion pie.
Retailers are adopting new technology and gadgets to make shopping easier for consumers - but recent GPShopper research found that many are missing the mark and there's a gap between what consumers want and what retailers are offering in tech. So how can pet retailers use tech to best serve their customers? We've taken the findings from our study to outline a few tips below.
1. Virtual Assistants
Like any consumer, those that have pets, are busy. When it comes to any reoccurring need, sometimes they just want to get in and get out; purchasing their items with as little friction as possible. This is where virtual assistants (VA) can come in handy. When surveying consumers that use VA, 47% want to be alerted for deals on products they buy frequently and 43% want to be notified when they're out of something at home - which is perfect when it comes to refilling Fido's dog food bowl!
If you want to stand out - add a personal touch. If you know the pet's birthday, send a birthday message and send a thank you note on their adoption anniversary. If you learn that a customer had to cancel their order because of the passing of a pet, send flowers or a nice note to offer condolences. These simple but important gestures are not only meaningful, but make VS feel less robotic, connecting the VS service with your brand and instilling loyalty.
Chatbots can be a great use of technology - but not in the way retailers have used them in the past. The study found that 59% of consumers don't want to use chatbots when shopping, they feel impersonal - which is a big no-no for pet retailers. Chatbots can be clunky, but that doesn't mean they can't be used. 54% of customers want to use chatbots as a customer service tool and 45% want to use chatbots as a deal alert tool. So for pet retailers, it can be used as a resource for customers to find deals on flea medication or other items that they care about. In short, simplify the chatbot use and you'll find it serves you and your customers better.
3. Mobile Apps
When it came to trusting technology with financial information, mobile apps were ranked #1 by consumers. So pet retailers should keep this in mind and meet consumers where they already are.
The report found that basically, consumers just want to buy stuff as quickly and easily as possible and the number one thing that consumers seem to want the most of, is self-checkout. Pet retailers can use this by implementing mobile apps that incorporate commerce and allow consumers to checkout quickly. Another great idea is enable way-finding in a mobile app that lets consumers find products in-store, such as dog beds, toys, fish food and more - so they can get in and get out, especially since 75 percent of consumers use their mobile in-store.
Want to learn more on how tech is used best in retail? Download the full Reality of Retail Tech report by clicking on the link below.