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Pet owners treat their furry friends like their children nowadays. In fact, 44% of millennials see their pets as “starter children”. This means that they use the trials and successes of pet ownership as a test for determining their readiness for an actual kid. That alone will lead to an increase in spending within the existing $72.6 billion market. Accelerating at an equally impressive pace is the subscription industry. Consumers enjoy the flexibility and consistency with continuity-style business models. So far, the merging of our love for our pets with the ease of subscription ordering and payments has found success. But it is still an early market for this product mix, with so many intricacies left to explore. If you have been thinking about beginning a pet subscription business, but are unsure where to begin, follow the steps below from brainstorming to payment processing.
Brainstorming Subscription Ideas for Pets
We’ve established that pets are an irreplaceable part of our lives, but do you know how much people actually spend on their pets in a year? On average, the yearly expenditure for a dog is about $1,550 and for a cat is closer to $1000. This includes vet bills, food, grooming, toys, etc. Now imagine that you can monopolize the amount spent on toys by providing a monthly box direct to the owners’ door. Not only does this add value through convenience, but it also keeps pets busy with a new activity every month.
Dogs and cats alike ear easily bored with their toys. After playing with one for a few days, it is often forgotten and never used again. But according to a study done by the University of Bristol, changing something as small as the color, odor, or appearance of the toy created a new excitement to play. As a business owner, being able to provide this outlet for pets in a subscription service has the potential for extreme success.
We get our food delivered, why not do the same for your pet? High-quality and healthy portioned meals right to your door is something that many owners would not blink twice to implement. Depending on whether or not you deliver wet or dry food will determine how you should set up your business. For dry food, the main difference in orders will be the size of the bag and how often the owner needs to reorder. While wet food delivery could prove to be a bit more complicated. Offer a few sizes based on the pet’s size and daily intake requirements as well as different flavors. This may be easiest if you have a signup form in which the owner fills in pertinent information before submitting their first order.
Treats are also high on the totem pole of pet subscription business ideas. Owners love to spoil their pets with new and exciting flavors and pets seem to like it too. Provide a range of snack types with each shipment and your customers are sure to eat it up *pun intended*.
This category is so vague because it can cover so many different items. Replacement brushes or shampoos are both bought frequently depending on their pets’ needs. Long hair dogs and cats require constant brushing, so replacing the head of the brush that they use is necessary. Shampoo is also a commodity frequently used. Commonly helpful for large pet households or for dogs and cats that have sensitive skin and needs specific ingredients. While this may not be a largely scalable business on it’s own, it would be a great addition to an existing company.
The other side of the cleanup topic has to do with what the owners need to clean up after their pets, not really for the dogs and cats to use themselves. Shedding is a huge issue among our furry friends. Hair gets everywhere and is hard to manage. Sweeping pads, wipes, and lint rollers are indispensable in pet households and would be great in a recurring shipment. This would also be a great add-on for an established business, but also has good potential for a startup as well.
Guided training also seems to be a budding business under subscription billing. New pet owners struggle with knowing what they should be teaching their furry friends and at which life stage. A pet continuity business that helps to support the puppies and ponies of the world grow into adulthood would prove it’s value every step of the way.
Limitless Options for Continuity
There are so many more products and services that can be successful under the subscription and continuity pet business. Depending on which direction you choose to go, you will see both hurdles and rewards in association with them.
The overarching benefit of continuity business is, of course, the recurring revenue. Getting paid on a schedule allows you to manage inventory and offerings more efficiently. This structure also allows accurate forecasts for growth than traditional single-sale models.
Create tiers of payment options for your customers. Do your customers want weekly, monthly, or bimonthly boxes? Can you offer more items or services for the higher paying subscribers? If so, try this structure on your site and be able to accommodate more types of people. This strategy allows consumers to stay in control of their spending and leads to a longer subscriber relationship overall.
Paying for a product or service encourages interaction because the customer now feels like they need to take advantage of the full value of their purchase. This is your opportunity to prove your value and secure returning customers for months or years to come.
Secure a Merchant Account for Subscription
Now that you have brainstormed ideas to increase the value of your business through a pet subscription service, it is time to set up the infrastructure to support it. Subscription businesses, while profitable, are considered high risk by banks. The reason behind this is due to the increased risk of chargebacks and fraud associated with these accounts. But this doesn’t mean that finding a payment processor is out of the question. This just means that you need to partner with a high risk merchant account processor that has experience in the subscription industry.