We’re very excited about the launch of Endless Aisles at SuperZoo last month. We already have 100’s of retailers interested in using the platform, and are well underway in getting many up and running this month. We wanted to share a bit more on why we think Endless Aisles is important for all independent pet retailers, independent pet brands, and why we decided to build Endless Aisles as a distributor.
It’s no news to anyone that retail has had a tough year – The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and more have all covered the trend from various angles, but the sentiment is clear; online is growing while brick & mortar is struggling. Amazon and Walmart have gotten particular attention with acquisitions of Jet.com, Bonobos, Whole Foods, and retreating investment from Wag.com. Everyone is looking for ways that they can stay ahead of the curve and compete online.
The Winners In Retail
But, is it really all doom and gloom? How have Sephora, Home Depot, and other larger retailers managed to thrive? They have all recognized the importance of brick & mortar in supporting online sales in order to maintain growth and saving their profit margins at the same time. Online is still a small portion of all commercial activity, and physical stores are still key to customer relationships and sales. But, consumers are quickly demanding the convenience of shopping online and home delivery. Retailers need omni-channel solutions not only to maintain business growth, but also so they can serve their customers no matter how they want to shop.
And, it’s not only Millennials who are moving their wallets online. Growth in Baby Boomers moving online has been just as fast as adults under 65 years old. It’s no surprise that Independent Pet Retailers are struggling to retain their customers with only a brick & mortar presence.
The Specialty Pet Industry
The Pet Industry is notoriously traditional – most of the innovation happens at the manufacturer or brand-level in new product development. Concepts like freeze-dried, raw, grain free, and LID barely existed 10 years ago, and now these products are the fastest growing in the market. While lots of innovation has happened on the product front, nobody has taken the time to look at the $2.5 Billion independent retailer market.
We know that the independent retailer market will continue to play its central role in bringing those new products to market in the next decade as their customers move online. We also know that the independent shopper is spending about half their wallet outside independent pet stores. You may see your customers coming in less often, or only checking out with a small bag or treats – it’s clear that they are buying that big bag somewhere, and that somewhere is most likely online. The driving force is a need for convenience, and Amazon is getting better every day at offering that. The question is; who is responsible for addressing this challenge?
At Phillips our main goal is to be the leading distribution platform and help our retail and brand partners delight consumers. We knew we couldn’t do those two things well without addressing the internet and the changing face of retail. Over the last year, it became clear that it was time to stop ignoring consumer trends and take action.
That’s why we built Endless Aisles – to empower any retailer with the tools needed to offer customers the convenience, assortment, and experience they’re demanding so that retailers like you can serve your customer no matter how they want to shop. They are your customers, and you should own 100% of the spend on their pet.