A V Pets is a first for the On the Shop Floor feature — this month, we chat to an online retailer.
Many people running pet services businesses often consider retailing some pet products. Here, we speak to someone who took the plunge and created a thriving retail business...
Amy Platt was running a successful pet care business when she thought that she could offer a great service on pet treats and accessories too. Inspired by the journey she had been on with her own dog, she wanted to share her knowledge and the benefit of natural dog treats. This is reflected in A V Pets tagline of: “Providing for yours, like I would mine.”
The business has really grown and has a community of followers and supporters. Amy’s caring approach and insistence on being transparent has seen become a successful retailer. Her social media coverage is key and gives her a real platform for building even more sales.
Many pet care businesses are often tempted to offer some retail products as part of their business. If you find yourself in that situation, Amy may be able to share some helpful advice and inspiration…
Tell us about your online shop.
Our shop at www.avpets.com offers:
- Natural treats and chews
- Freeze-dried raw dog food and treats
- Pet accessories: dog collars, leads, harnesses
- Hand sewn pet bandanas (we've even made them for rabbits!) which can be personalised as an extra service
- Dog bows and bow ties
- Multiple toy ranges including an eco-friendly toy and a luxury toy range
- Limited edition themed boxes, such as our past Halloween and Christmas ones, and our current Valentine's Day one.
What inspired you to sell pet products?
My eldest dog, Pepper (who's 6 years old now), was diagnosed with various allergies and intolerances when she was a puppy and ever since I've had to deal with her having flare ups and trips to the vet’s on a regular basis. From when she was diagnosed, I started buying natural pet treats and chews. The aim being to make sure there were no additives or 'hidden' ingredients (which is surprising what a packaging doesn't tell the consumer!). The price of these treats can be costly and soon add up if purchasing on a regular basis.
Due to the success of the pet care service side of A V Pets, we expanded as a team into natural treats and chews, at the most affordable price possible to the consumer and inspired by Pepper. Since then, I have heard so many stories of dogs and puppies having allergies and their owners commenting on how they have not seen these products at a cheaper price than what we sell them for. Because of this, I'm so glad we took the risk! We also teach accredited pet first aid courses.
What are your best-selling products?
- Kangaroo stickies
- Furry rabbit ears
- Goat ears
- Yak chews and olive wood chews
- Our A V Pets 'pupwursts'
How do you source your stock?
We source stock from manufacturers.
You have received terrific reviews for your customer service and pet knowledge. How often do people come to you for advice?
Constantly! And that is so comforting. The main advice being around allergies (of course, we always mention people should go to their vet for medical advice) and what their dog can and can't have.
We see more people with puppies wanting to start their pup on natural treats, so we get queries on what they can and can't have, depending how many weeks old the pup is. Then also a discussion around the pains of a dog with allergies in general happens.
How do you build that customer rapport with being an online retailer?
Honesty and transparency in our profit margins! And the rest shines through. From the feedback we have received to date, the consumer clocks on when they are being overcharged (which I guess is the whole reason this side of A V Pets was thought of with my experiences with Pepper).
What are the most successful ways you market the products you sell?
The most successful ways are through:
Instagram stories and reels in particular
Word of mouth
Brand ambassadors — I'd like to mention how key the team thinks that our brand ambassadors are. The loyalty and commitment they show to the brand is incredible.
What would be your best piece of advice to other independent pet shop owners?
The best piece of advice for fellow independent pet shop owners would be to keep things honest and transparent with your customers. Customers (and competitors) soon see if you have marketed your products at 3 or 4 times the RRP. From our experience, the trust your customers have in your brand and your products is vital.