How to Start an Online Pet Store?
Our article will reveal a specified guide to starting your online pet store. We’ll tell you how to find a promising niche, what platforms to search for the suppliers on, how to create a product range, and how to sell products better – in marketplaces or on your own personal website.
A niche product is a category of services or products, which serve a customer base with definite preferences. The simplest example is a division of buyers into lovers of cats, dogs, reptiles, and arachnids. Each group usually buys a certain range of products for their pets – starting with food and ending with medicine.
When launching your online pet store, you better bet on one narrow niche. This will make it possible for your platform to stand out from the competitors by creating a website and advertising, which will receive a great response from a specific consumer audience. This approach is more effective and cheap.
How to find a niche for a pet store?
Statista also can show you what products exactly to sell. For instance, these are sorts of cat and dog products that are popular among Americans.
If the choice of a niche defines a product range and design of your online store, then the analysis of the target audience is important for marketing. If you know a place of residence, relationship status, age, level of education, and other demographics data of the buyers, you can run an advertising campaign, which will be targeted only at those people, who you need.
Marketing research might help you identify your target audience; for instance, survey data from OppLoans for the United States. According to it, on average, Americans spend about $126 per month on their pets; the heaviest expenses are in Delaware ($312) and the smallest expenses are in Idaho ($20).
Average expenses of the USA residents on their pets by states. Source
Here are several other indicators, which can be helpful when choosing the target audience of an online pet store in the USA:
SaleHoo Market Research Labs will help you find products with the best combination of demand and competitiveness
Alternatively, you can use such tools as SaleHoo Market Research Labs, due to which you can compare the products for sales and for the number of stores, where they already are. You can conduct a similar study with the help of Spocket, Jungle Scout, Sell The Trend, Dropship Spy, Pexda, Niche Scraper, AliShark, eComHunt, and AliExpress Dropshipping Center.
Selecting the prices for your products is one of the most important and difficult tasks because you need to find an optimum level for each name, which won’t scare buyers away and will be enough for getting the profit. You need to conduct an analysis of competitors’ prices, consider all regular special offers and discounts, and then form your pricing policy.
Besides, you should consider the following things when pricing:
A drawback of this approach is a lack of flexibility to set up business processes and the impossibility to stand out amongst competitors. In addition, if you carry out direct deliveries from AliExpress, then the selling on Amazon and eBay can be not such a good idea because in this case, you need to conclude an agreement on dropshipping with the suppliers. If you carry out the direct delivery on Amazon, then you need to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
Your own website or app. It’s the best option if you need to distinguish yourself from competitors and if you have no desire to give 5-30% of your profit to the marketplace. For the most part, people outsource a partner, who takes over organizational and technical aspects of the process. The client defines the goals, design, and features of your online store.
Development cost depends on aims, complexity, set of functions, and method of development of the store. For example, a WordPress-based website will cost you $500 and the website development from scratch might cost $5-50 thous.
e-Commerce platform. You can also use various SaaS solutions to launch the store; they take over all tasks apart from sales and marketing. For instance, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Volusion. By using them, you only need to pay for a subscription ($50-5000 per month), make simple customizations (select a template, payment solutions), and add the product to the listings.
The disadvantages of this option are non-unique design and features, subscription payment, which is unprofitable over the long run. Besides, the work of an online store on the basis of SaaS depends on the SaaS service provider: if it doesn’t work, your website will stop working as well.
Almost all of the advertising of pet products seeks to provoke the emotional reaction. Cute, funny, sad, or stylish photos and videos of animals are usually used to do so. For example, as does Doug The Pug on the Instagram and Facebook pages. Storeowners post bright photos and videos of their pug and promote some merch sometimes. One would think that it’s too easy but it works. The most important thing is to move the audience.
Here’s his first fortuitous post with a 30-second video, where a dog is looking at a driver pitifully, and a provocative question: «An abandoned puppy, I wanna take him home, but my girlfriend does not like it. What should I do?».
Make as moving posts as @itsdougthepug, ask as provocative questions as Global Huapin and your online pet store will become as successful.