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Expert meeting Friends of Pets 2021 attracted 150 representatives of producers, retailers and suppliers of pet care

The program of the conference on September 2, 2021 stressed topics of customer behaviour, sustainability, rewarding or phenomenon of coronavirus era masters. The presentation on communication campaigns of Michal Michňa from Publicis Groupe and interview with animal trainer František Šusta gained the highest ranking from the audience.

The initial part of the conference was dedicated to trends in pet care on European level. These were introduced by the presentation of Aleksandras Bacevičius from Euromonitor International. According to the presented dates, pet care proves to be highly resistant to economic crisis both in years 2009 and 2020. Price polarization increase caused by decrease in middle price product consumption seems to be   particularly European trend. With respect to pet food packaging and sustainability, both small and leading companies define commitments in this area. However, there are challenges connected to complexity of material composition of cat food packaging which makes it unrecyclable and increasing demand in this category. 

Milan Bartoš from VAFO Praha pointed out the penetration of pet food products, especially rewards, into new retail channels: “retailers want to profit from the positive trend these products experience and the high margin they bring.” Today, the customer can find dog rewards at petrol stations or even a paint store. According to him, cat rewards is new important trend in pet food.

The packaging was main topic of Gabriela Petríková from Chemosvit folie. She spoke about trends in simplification of package layers composition to avoid aluminum usage with the goal to guarantee the recyclability of the packaging. Chemosvit folie production is respecting the principals of circular economy.

Good rewards choice and training of coronavirus puppies

There are serious risks connected to inappropriate election of rewards which were stressed by veterinarian Lukáš Duchek. Especially highly spread products out of buffalo leather or soft meat pieces containing glycerin are the most dangerous one.

The initial morning section of the conference was closed by an interview with František Šusta, animal trainer. In his practice, he meets new type of masters. “These masters do not need to go into the depth at the training. They typically bought a puppy of hardly trained strain and need to teach the dog basic obedience principals. These people would not have a dog if there was not coronavirus.” He also acknowledged that lately, he dedicates more time to questions related to people mental health than the dog´s one. According to he, the best way to solve the problem is to accompany the master so he finds the answer himself.  

Aquarist category surprised in online sales

The second morning part of the conference started with presentations dedicated to online sales. Honza Mayer from Heuréka opened this topic with data about online sales. It is aquarist category which experienced surprising leap within the last year online sales and caught up cat category. He also mentioned that within the pet care, all the categories except food, increased, for example the clothes. Within cat range, the training supplements demand increased.

Matěj Kapošváry from Shopsys described e-commerce as an area with low barriers at the entry but high barriers in terms of success. “The trend is that number of eshops will be decreasing and small group of eshops will have the majority on the market.” Pet care market is less saturated compared to other categories like electronics. He predicts that brick and mortal store chains will be leaders if they improve in digital competences.

Pricing in online is according to David Vacl from Mall Group ruled by simple principal “you compare internal data and the information for how much the product may be sold with external data, as the cost of the product given by competition is.” To pair a sack of dry food is easy, however to pair aviary or dog bed might be a challenge which cannot be solved automatically only. “It is important to identify relevant competition. There is always promotion, you cannot compete with all of them, this would cause price erosion.” The competition advantage of Mall Group is inversion into machine learning system.

The obsession with a customer is worth of it

Topics related to both successful and unsuccessful communication campaigns was discussed by Michal Michňa from Publicis Groupe. “Even the most stunning campaign is not worth of it in case your business model fails. I often listen: we want more satisfied customers – that is not s strategy but a dream. You have to know where are you going and why do you go there,“ he said. Example of a company that is obsessed by its customer is Chewy, U.S. eshop that is eight times bigger than whole pet market. They spend one million dollars per year only for stamps they put on postcards for new customers.

Katarina Králová spoke about building of community in pet care. Her brand Funky Dog gained over 2 million Czech crowns for dog pounds during the six years of existence. Between concrete recommendations how to encourage the relation between customers towards the pet store, she mentioned: joint cooking, toys manufacture, sport activities, both online and offline competitions, organization of seminars or money collection for dog pounds.

The last presentation of morning part of the conference program was dedicated to positive experience on the store by Ondřej Bystroň from Czechpromotion. “At one moment one is able to perceive seven things. How to sell more? Sell less – you never satisfy all.” That was one of his key messages towards the audience.

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U Zlatého retrívra store is a winner of Pet Shop of the Year 2021 competition

The last point of the morning program was Pet Shop of the Year 2021 award ceremony. The competition was organized with support of partners Purina and Brit brands, PetCenter, Publicis Groupe and media partner Retail News. The third place was divided between two stores which obtained the same rating, ZOOshop from Český Krumlov and Zoobutique from Jindřichův Hradec.  The second place gained Zverimex U Zajíčka from Rožnov pod Radhoštěm. The absolute winner was U Zlatého retrívra store from Chomutov.

Increase of immunity supplements

The afternoon discussion was introduced by presentation of Kateřina Malíková from Nielsen IQ on development of pet care sales in Czech retail. She mentioned that the increase of pet care was caused by internet and drug store chain retailers. Malls and supermarkets maintain to be the most comfortable places to buy pet food.

At following discussion Michal Hanáček, from Pilulka Lékárny, Štěpánka Vílová from PetCenter CZ, Bohuslav Sukdol from dm drogerie markt and Michal Dluhoš from Mountfield met. The producers were represented by Milan Bartoš and independent stores were represented by Patrik Šilhavý from DOGG.CZ.  company.

The panelists representing retailers, whose main focus is not on pet care, agreed that the potential of the category is very high.  Immunity supplements increase was experienced by all the speakers of the discussion.

Conference was organized with the support of expert guarantor PetCenter company, brand Brit and Chemosvit folie. The organizer was Blue Events company. The fifth edition will take place on June 2, 2022.

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