Treats are the number one impulse buy category in pet specialty. Whether meaty, crunchy, chews, dental or niche, treats are estimated to have the second highest sales growth (5%+) of any category except healthcare (8%, excluding flea and tick) in 2018.
The treats category is following some of the same trends as pet food: humanization, natural, grain-free, limited ingredient, made in the USA, functional ingredients and exotic proteins. Companies are responding by developing products that support the growing number of pet parents’ looking for wholesome, simple nutrition from sustainable sources.
The variety of treat options can be overwhelming for customers. Your staff can help customers find the right treats for their dogs and cats while increasing sales. Have small treats for small dogs, chewy treats for dogs that tend to munch on shoes, and soft treats for senior dogs with dental concerns. The variety of cat treats range from freeze-dried to kibble.
When building a treat aisle, offer a range of brands and price points to ensure there is something for every customer’s budget. Setting up your aisle to coincide with your customers’ buying behaviors will help increase profitability.
Trending dog treat categories and their percentage of recommended assortment (based on customer spending habits) are:
• Meaty: 30% of your treat assortment
These softer chews are often made from lean protein and are lower in calories. They usually can be torn into smaller pieces for a longer treating session or be used as a reward treat. Given whole, meaty treats take longer to chew and occupy a dog’s time.
• Crunchy: 25% of your treat assortment
Crunchy treats like biscuits and cookies are a way for pet parents to introduce new flavors to their dogs while keeping food consistent. Available in traditional and grain-free varieties, baked dog treats force a dog to chew and help clean teeth. With many packaging options available, you can place biscuits throughout your store, including a bulk bin, prepackaged boxes and bags in the treat aisle or on an endcap, or individually packaged bones near your register for impulse purchases.
• Chews: 20% of your treat assortment
This category is made up of bones and natural chews like bully sticks and trachea. These are digestible products that satisfy a dog’s natural instinct to chew. When building your “body part” assortment, you want to include a mix of bulk and bagged SKUs so customers can purchase the size and quantity that best suits their pets.
• Dental: 15% of your treat assortment
For pet parents looking to keep their dogs’ breath fresh and teeth clean, dental treats can help. Treats can fight plaque and tartar build-up. Be prepared to discuss ingredients and nutritional value with pet parents looking for dental treats. Keep these specialized treats near your dental care area.
• Niche (Frozen, Functional and Unique): 10% of your treat assortment
Ice cream and frozen yogurt, freezer pops, birthday cakes – all for dogs. Consider offering a few “novelty” items from this specialized category in your store for those pets who truly are members of the family.
Triggering the Impulse Buy
Treats turn into an add-on purchase when you have them near your register, on a clip strip near your core food brands or in high traffic areas.
Clip Strips: This small-space investment is ideal for food aisles to encourage impulse purchases. Put your best-selling or highest margin treats in front of customers as they make regular food purchases. When a core food line launches a new treat formula, this is a great place for the brand-loyal customer to discover it.
Counter Space: Use your counter space for displays of bulk dental treats or bones or meaty treats. Without cluttering your counter, highlight a unique ingredient treat that may get lost in an aisle. The cash register counter also is a great place to encourage sampling, and a hungry dog excited over a treat sample may be the best “sales person” in your store. The cost of opening a treat bag for samples should quickly be offset by increased average spending per customer.