using Pointy, we’re leveraging our online presence in a
way that gets more customers into our physical store.”
Pointy requires a one-time payment of $499. There are
no monthly fees. The price includes the Pointy device, a
continuously updated product page and a product listing
in organic Google search results.
Once in store, shoppers at Ben’s Barketplace experience the retailer’s unique differentiation, namely personalized nutrition consultations for each pet.
Ben’s Barketplace also specializes in raw cat and dog
food. “We sell more raw pet food than anybody in the
West: 500 pounds a day,” says Romero, who is a former
canine trainer for the California Highway Patrol. He
believes raw pet food is the way animals were meant to
eat. “That’s how we extend lives,” he says.
“Online retailers like Amazon and Chewy.com offer
Better for Benji and Felix
dried food or freeze-dried. They tried raw, and [because
of delivery issues] it didn’t work,” he says. “We avoid
competing with those platforms because of our variety of
raw food and our customer service.”
Ben’s Barketplace recently expanded, opening two
additional locations in the Sacramento area this year.
The “U.S. pet industry continues along a healthy growth
trajectory,” reports Packaged Facts in its recent U.S. Pet
Market Outlook, which values the market at $26 billion.
Pet food is the largest pet category, representing 39% of
the total market, and it’s growing—up 5% in both 2017
and 2016, according to the company.
“Much of the growth in the pet food market can be
attributed to the rapid acceleration of online sales, par-
ticularly with behemoths Amazon.com and Chewy.
com,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Pack-
aged Facts. “Internet sales of pet products are outpacing
and even stealing sales from other channels, notably pet
But, as Ben’s Barketplace has discovered, with increas-
ingly health-conscious consumers seeking more nutri-
tious and wholesome options for their furry family mem-
bers, offering a selection of raw and fresh pet food may
provide brick-and-mortars with a competitive edge.
Scott Morris, co-founder of Freshpet, a Secaucus, N.J.-based supplier of fresh, all-natural, minimally processed
refrigerated dog and cat food, is helping grocers take a
“fresh first” approach to the pet aisle and drive sales
“As a refrigerated product, Freshpet creates much
more purchase frequency than when a consumer buys
a 20-pound bag and doesn’t come back to the store for
weeks,” Morris says. “It creates a constant consumer purchasing cycle up to 50% faster than traditional pet food.”
Launched in 2006, Freshpet “gently cooks” its cat and
dog food using pasteurization to retain the health benefits
of the ingredients.
Freshpet is focusing on sales through brick-and-mortar stores, including Target, Albertsons and Whole Foods.
“It’s not really available online,” says Morris. As a result,
retailers avoid “showrooming”— when consumers visit a
Tech and Mortar
Pet food’s share of
the total pet market
Our goal at Pointy is to make it as easy
for a customer to find something in their
local shop as it is to find it on Amazon or
another e-commerce giant.” —Charles Bibby, Pointy
“The Pointy service works well for every brick-and-mortar retailer,
whether they’re an independent or a chain, as it allows them to
display their inventory online in real time in a way that is optimized
for local search,” Pointy co-founder Charles Bibby says.
Getting customers in the door is step one. Following up with a
personalized shopping experience once they’re in the store is the
key to building repeat business.
“Use technology that creates a personalized in-store
experience,” Bibby says. “Today’s customers want informed,
customized experiences in which retail professionals make
recommendations tailored to their specific needs and create
an in-store environment that cannot be mirrored online.
Technologies such as Bluetooth beacons and interactive displays
can help retailers to achieve this.”
Quarterly Pet Report Nonfoods