Pet Brands Amping Up Customer Loyalty Efforts

Pet brands are amping up customer loyalty efforts to keep ahead of the recession. Petco announced that it is expanding its Vital Care loyalty program to include hamsters, birds, and fish, among other small pets. Bark recently sent out an email to its existing customer base, assuring them that it will not be raising prices if their subscription is maintained. Pet lifestyle brand Wild One has been using personal touch points like handwritten notes to engage with customers.

“It’s a category that really lends itself well to loyalty,” said Dan McCarthy, assistant professor at Emory University’s Business School.

Earning customer loyalty has grown more crucial now as retailers experience less demand for some discretionary products due to inflationary pressures and as customer acquisition grows more challenging.

Wild One focused on building a loyal network of customers since its launch in 2019 and frequently uses surveys, social media polls, and focus groups to gain customer feedback and learn more about what they like as well as their pain points. Along with sending handwritten notes, the company also maintains a text message subscriber base that it uses to interact with customers by providing special early access to products and promotions.

“I would say it is more challenging in the beginning to win that loyalty,” said Bill Wells, co-founder and CEO at Wild One. “Because people care about their pets so much and treat them as part of the family, they want the best for them. They need to be able to trust the brand.”

“If we turn them into loyal customers and they go and recommend a friend, we get to split that acquisition cost across now two customers,” said Corey Bruce, senior director of digital marketing and e-commerce at Wild One. “If you just think about those economics right there it’s pretty powerful.”

Pet brand Bark, on the other hand, promises to repay customers’ loyalty through its pricing strategy.

“The goal is just to be customer-friendly and treat the customer and the dog the way that we would hope we’re treated, that when they show us years of loyalty and commitment that they get the same in response [from] us,” said Bark CEO and co-founder Matt Meeker.

Pet Supplies Plus is another pet brand pushing loyalty as the company recently introduced a loyalty program that gives members the ability to gain points, access to members-only pricing, and access to exclusive new products, among others.

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