With the increasing need for proper veterinary care for our pets, the pet supplements market has gained more attention. According to a report on April 2019, ‘Packaged Facts’ ( a market research publisher) stated that the pet supplements market was estimated to be worth $636 million in the year of 2018 and it is estimated that this figure would continue to rise. This increased need for supplements in animals is directly related to that of humans; the relevance of supplements in humans introduced the market for animals. Supplements actually are neither drugs nor food but are in between- providing adequate nutrients for its users.
Reasons to take supplements
Ideally, most animal feeds should have the essential nutritional requirements needed for the proper functioning of all body systems. However, in some situations, these meals may not have all the essential nutrients needed for a particular pet and as such, the pet would require a supplement. There are two major reasons why supplements are required for pets and these are
- To ensure the pet gets the required essential nutrients that may not be available in pet feeds.
- To maintain and improve the overall health of the pet.
Types of pet supplements
There are different types of supplements used, depending on the condition of the pet and what we are trying to achieve. While most of them are used in conjunction with drugs to solve a medical condition, others are used basically to maintain the health of the pet. On this note, some of the more popular supplements available for use in pets are
- Antioxidants: these are mainly products that are prescribed for pets to counteract aging effects. Animals are known to age faster than humans with a 10- 12 years old dog roughly being equivalent to a 60 years old man. Therefore, to achieve and ensure your pet does not undergo too many age related conditions like hearing loss, vision loss, etc., antioxidants are given to maintain the animal’s health. Examples of compounds used in antioxidant pet supplements include Vitamins A, C, and E.
- Fatty acids: these are usually used to reduce shedding of an animal’s fur and to improve the shine of its coat. Fatty acids break down to produce the oils necessary for these functions. An example of a fatty acid supplement is Omega 3 fatty acid.
- Probiotics: these are usually pharmaceutical products that help to maintain the normal intestinal flora of the animal. When the intestinal flora is imbalanced, then there may be an overgrowth of harmful microorganisms, leading to GIT problems e.g. diarrhea and vomiting. Probiotics do not kill or inhibit the microorganism like antimicrobials; instead, they introduce none harmful microorganisms to counter-attack and balance the intestinal flora. Probiotics are therefore very important for maintaining the normal health and gastric function of the animal.
- Multivitamins: As already stated, most supplements are used to provide nutrients that may not be found in the normal feed preparation for the pets. It has been observed during routine screening that some pets have an abnormally high vitamin deficiency that the normal meal cannot suffice for. Therefore, in this case, an external preparation of the deficient vitamins is required, in the form of supplements.
- Digestive enzymes: Just like in humans, some animals may also have problems with their digestive enzymes. Lack of particular digestive enzymes results in the inability of the body to absorb important nutrients from food. This can lead to problems such as weight loss, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Therefore, an external formulation of digestive enzymes in form of supplements is necessary for such pets to live a normal life.
- Lysine: This is an example of an essential amino acid which is known to be the building blocks of protein. It is possible for some pets to have conditions that would reduce their growth from the optimal. Therefore, lysine is necessary to be supplemented as an essential amino acid to help with growth.
In addition, lysine has found use in preventing cold sores, reducing anxiety and promoting wound healing in animals.
Breaking into the pet supplements market
After mentioning the main purpose of supplement use in pets and giving some examples of them, their relevance is essentially very glaring. Entering into any new market always has its challenges and peculiarities and the pet supplements market is not any different. For the pet supplement market, it is observed that there is already an increased demand for supplements so breaking into the market and succeeding may be easy. However, the right information is still needed to ensure you do everything properly.
Below are some vital steps and considerations to follow to ensure you properly break into the pet supplement market and are successful
- Get all relevant information
To break into any business, you must seek proper information from the appropriate authorities. Most states may require you to get a license before selling supplements. The US FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), Centre for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), regulates both food and drugs. However, supplements do not have a separate category and may be classified under either and are regulated as such.
In the same vein of getting proper information, during registration and getting the license for entering the pet supplements market, suppliers of these products should be contacted. From the appropriate licensing body, it is possible to get the information of legitimate suppliers of these pet supplements and avoid falling into the wrong hands, since you are new to the business.
- Get necessary partnership
To begin a new business, you would need as much help and support from as many people and businesses as possible. This is the time to meet established businesses who can at least guide you and give you direction on how to be a success in this field.
- Perform a market survey
Before you officially start your business, it is important to perform a market survey. There are a lot of relevant information to get from a market survey and they include
- Information on the actual and potential clients of the market.
- Estimation of how much would be acceptable by the public for you to sell your products, etc.
Overall, a market survey has one important endpoint; to gather all the relevant information which would help in business decision making.
- Ensure you put your clients first
A successful market is not the only reason why you should get involved in it, but also because you have actual or potential clients who would be interested in the products you have to sell. This information should be part of what you obtained from your market survey data. In essence, knowing clients who have pets and who you have observed to be passionate about ensuring proper well being of said pets, is the most important thing for this market.
Essentially, you also have to ensure you only stock and sell products that are needed. For instance, if most of your clients have dogs as pets, then you would preferably stock supplements that are required for dogs. Having a variety of supplements increases your appeal and overall worth, but ensure that the majority of what you stock is what your clients want or usually requests for.
- Pick a good location
If you have a prior business of providing pet food or services related to them, then adding pet supplements to the mix may be very easy to incorporate. However, if you just want to break into the market, then it is preferable to get a good location where you can sell and provide pet supplements as required. The location for a pet supplement store should always be within a short distance of a veterinary hospital, should be in a conducive and safe environment and should be warm and pleasant enough not just for humans but also for their pets.
- Always provide the best service
Many people are fixated on brands and companies because of the long-standing proper service provided by those companies. In all aspects, it is advisable to treat your clients properly. In addition to selling pet supplements, providing some additional services that can further boost your sales and help your customer too would certainly improve your overall standing. For example,
- Having a veterinary doctor on hand to check animals and prescribe what is actually needed so that the client buys the right thing.
- Providing some DIY tips through fliers and small lectures on how clients can properly take care of their pets at home.
- Focus on relationships
The best way to break into a new business is to avoid having a “transactional marketing” with your clients. Most people would rely on making as much as possible on a single transaction, leading to transactional marketing. On the opposite end, “relationship marketing” is concerned with the customer and being as receptive as possible. With relationship marketing, the customer would most likely come back because of how he was treated earlier and may even bring referrals. This type of marketing is preferred for all businesses and especially when breaking into a new market.
As earlier mentioned, a market survey is entirely necessary to allow informed decision making. Most people believe that this is the most important step in starting a business and that if it is done poorly, then the business would start on the wrong foot and may even fail.
Types of market survey
There are different types of market surveys done for businesses and it usually depends on the type of business and its goals. On that note, the different types of market survey include
- Product testing
- Pricing research
- Advertising testing
- Market segmentation
- Brand awareness and reach
- Satisfaction and loyalty analysis
Tools required for a market survey
Some materials are required to ensure you perform the ideal survey. These materials are actually means by which questions can be asked to the general public and the feedback gotten used to set up the business. These tools include but are not limited to
- Email interview
- Group discussion
- Telephone interview
- Face to face interview
- Focus group interview
Methods of market survey
There are principally two methods by which any and all of the types of surveys listed above can be achieved. There are
- Primary market survey
The primary market survey is usually done and sponsored by the company in question, i.e. if you have a pet supplement company, any survey done by your company is a primary market survey. In addition, any survey which is performed by another company on your behalf and whose data would be used exclusively by you is also termed under a primary market survey.
- Secondary market survey
The secondary market survey is the exact opposite as it only requires data gotten from a previous survey by another organization. Therefore, the data gotten is not what the actual company requires. The major advantage of this method is that fewer funds and effort are spent to obtain the data.
The best method of market survey for a pet supplement market
The primary market survey is ideally the best form of survey as it involves getting particular data for your business. Therefore the information gotten can be optimally useful for the company in the long run. It should be noted that this method can only be properly executed with adequate funds, skills, and manpower and is ultimately more tasking than it’s counterpart secondary market survey.
Even though all the types of market surveys have their different functions and importance, some are more ideal than others in a certain field. For a pet supplement market in the retail world, the most important surveys would be pricing research and satisfaction and loyalty analysis. This would ensure your retail pet supplement market can adequately compete and be relevant.
In conclusion, entering the pet supplements market has its challenges just like any other market but knowing the right steps to take when breaking into the market would help.