The Independent Grocers Alliance has continued its strategic partnership with Nestlé Purina PetCare to expand the pet category reinvention program across IGA’s 1,900 U.S. retail members and their wholesalers.
This collaboration will enhance the shopping experience for pet owners and provide additional touchpoints for retailers to engage and educate their shoppers in the pet care category.
“An educated shopper is more confident. Confident shoppers have a better association with your brand, which translates to increased, repeat sales,” said Michael La Kier, IGA’s VP of brand development.
“This initiative is a massive opportunity for independent grocers to show their shoppers that they are not only purveyors of food for humans and pets, but an information source to help shoppers make decisions best for their families, including the furry ones.”
According to a 2022 report by NielsenIQ, pet care is the fastest growing department both in store and online, driven by strong growth across most pet categories. In fact, pet category sales have nearly doubled in the last five years.
The expanded program provides ample opportunities for shopper education. Participating retailers may sign up for a base kit, accompanied by subscription updates tailored to educational content. The base kit includes a comprehensive playbook that offers essential insights on optimizing the pet aisle, as well as tips for assortment, merchandising and marketing strategies.
To help independent grocers showcase their pet products, the kit provides various signage and digital graphics, including:
- Twelve paw print shelf strips (48″ long);
- Middle aisle hanging sign (48″ x 24″);
- End cap headers with dimensional side panels (48″ x 14″);
- Six aisle blades (various messaging) (6″ x 22.5″);
- Hardware for 6 aisle blades;
- 30 Mini blades (various messaging) (3″ circles).
Retailers will also receive signage promoting the Pet Club Newsletter initiative.
IGA’s new Pet Club Newsletter is a monthly pet-focused newsletter that will showcase educational content, resources and exclusive offers for pet owners. As the program and resources grow, the newsletter will be published twice a month, providing an even richer experience for subscribers.
“With the pandemic behind us (and with many more pets in households across the country since the pandemic), now is the time for independent retailers to double down on the pet category,” said Kara Destro, Nestlé Purina PetCare account manager.
“That’s why we have expanded the successful pet category reinvention program with IGA: to help independents boost their pet category sales by easily reinventing their pet aisle.”
Realizing the sales potential for independent grocers, IGA partnered with Nestlé Purina PetCare to release a pet category reinvention pilot program in early 2020. The pilot was a huge success: within three months, the prototype store increased pet category sales by 10.5 percent, cat litter sales by 53 percent, cat treat sales by 28 percent, and the wet cat subcategory sales by 20 percent.
Now the updated sign kit and marketing materials are available to all independents, with an expanded campaign set to launch in October to coincide with Nestlé Purina PetCare’s fall campaign to support the Purple Leash Project. The Purple Leash Project collaborates with RedRover to make pet-friendly domestic violence shelters more accessible nationwide. By expanding the number of such shelters, survivors of domestic violence and their pets can find safety, support, and healing together.
“We are thrilled to partner with Nestlé Purina PetCare to extend the pet category reinvention program to our vast network of independent retailers,” said Ashley Page, VP of marketing and public affairs at IGA.
“This initiative aligns with our commitment to providing exceptional experiences for shoppers and their beloved pets. Through the partnership, we hope to empower retailers with the tools and resources they need to create pet-friendly environments while supporting important causes like the Purple Leash Project.”
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