How to Start a Pet Supply Business Online

How to Start a Pet Supply Business Online

Rabbir Shad

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26 min read

Pets are like companions and pet owners like to spoil them. That is why you will see them buying cute pet houses or a customized collar to put around the pet’s neck. The pet owners always look for things that will raise the beauty of their pets.

That is why the pet supply business has become huge and the revenue is rising every year.

A report by the American Pets Product Association showcases total pet spending in the US had reached $143.6 billion in 2023 with 66% of US homeowners owning a pet.

If you are a pet lover and have some ideas regarding pet accessories, then starting a pet supply business is a good opportunity for you. You can even create a pet supply marketplace to sell a variety of pet products in your collection.

Though you have ideas about pet products, but starting a business will not be easy. You consider a few things including a business plan, a catchy brand name, and most importantly a platform to sell your products.

We will shed some light on this topic and give you the best resources on how to start a pet supply business.

Let’s get started-

Why Build a Pet Supply Business & The Challenges of Creating a Pet Supply Marketplace

The trend of pet supply business has been on the rise since 2012 and this trend will continue till 2028. The market is still somewhat untapped and there is a big opportunity for new businesses. If you start a pet supply marketplace, three types of people will get benefits-

Benefits for Buyers

In a pet supply marketplace, the number of products is more than the average eCommerce business. Buyers can choose from a variety of products, get a competitive price, read reviews, and make informed decisions before buying.

Also, they can buy products from the comfort of their home, without toil to find the products.

Benefits for Sellers

Sellers of the pet supply marketplace can reach a large customer base and increase their sales. The marketplace provides sellers a platform to get more exposure, establish their brand, and build customer loyalty.

Benefits for Marketplace Owners

Marketplace owners can earn through commissions and transaction fees. Also, they can charge a fee for product listing. As the platform grows, the owner can attract more sellers and buyers, increasing the value of the marketplace.

Plus, they will get valuable customer data and design their marketplace to cater the consumer behavior. This can be used to improve the platform and offer personalized recommendations.

This is the feature image of the blog - How to Build an Online Used Items Marketplace in WordPress

Although there are many benefits to starting an online pet supply business, there are some challenges to it as well.

The biggest challenge is establishing trust and credibility. People are very possessive about their pets and they want the best things for them.

So, you need to make sure the products they are purchasing are safe, effective, and authentic.

For that, you need to verify the vendors you are enrolling in your marketplace and keep an eye on the products they are selling. Also make sure they provide detailed and authentic product information, customer reviews, and ratings.

How to Start a Pet Supply Business

Now we are the most crucial part of our article. If you are intrigued by reading the benefits and determined to overcome the challenges, then it is time for the next phase.

You need to follow some steps to start a pet supply business. The steps are-

  • Conduct Market Research
  • Choose a Catchy Name for Your Business
  • Write a Business Plan
  • Build Your Brand With Product Differentiation, Brand Storytelling
  • Source Your Products
  • Build Your Marketplace

Now, let’s see the details-

1. Conduct Market Research

The first rule before starting any kind of business is to do market research. This gives a clear idea about the target audience, market size, resources you may require, competition and how deep can you penetrate the market.

For a pet supply business, you need to find out your target audience.

In the pet business, target market niches can be broadly categorized into:

  • Luxury: This includes high-end services and products, like human-grade pet food cooked by chefs, premium pet hotels, and pet grooming spas
  • Mid-market: This category is ideal if you’re targeting a specific niche. It includes specialty food, grooming products, training aids, and homemade treats.
  • Mass market: If affordability is your priority, this category contains standardized products and supplies, like rubber chew toys and food bowls.

From this, identify which market you want to capture.

While you are doing your market research, you need to think about the products you are going to sell as well-

Types of Pet Supply Products You Can Sell

There are numerous types of pet products you can sell from your online business or marketplace. When you are starting, it is a good idea to lock down which product you want to sell so that you can target an audience based on that.

An illustration of sustainable pet products

Here are the types of products you can sell-

  1. Food Bowls, Leashes: Essential for everyday pet care, food bowls provide a designated space for meals, while leashes ensure pets are safely restrained during walks or outings.
  2. Houses, Cages, Beds, Litter Boxes: These items provide shelter, comfort, and privacy for pets. Houses and cages serve as secure spaces for rest, while beds offer cushioning for sleep. Litter boxes provide a designated area for cats to relieve themselves.
  3. Collars, Combs: Collars are used for identification, leash attachment, and sometimes as a fashion accessory. Combs aid in grooming by detangling fur and removing loose hair.
  4. Toys: Toys provide mental stimulation, exercise, and entertainment for pets, helping to prevent boredom and encourage physical activity.
  5. Birdhouse, Bird Feeders: Birdhouses offer shelter and nesting space for birds, while bird feeders provide a convenient way to supply food to wild birds, enhancing outdoor environments.
  6. Fish Bowls, Aquariums: Fish bowls and aquariums create habitats for fish, providing a controlled environment with proper filtration and oxygenation.
  7. Pet Food/Treats: Essential for nutrition, pet food comes in various forms such as dry kibble, canned, and raw. Treats offer rewards for good behavior and can also serve as supplements or dental care aids.
  8. Pet Clothes/Apparel: Pet clothing and apparel cater to pet owners who enjoy dressing up their pets for fashion, comfort, or seasonal purposes. This includes shirts, outfits, and accessories.
  9. Pet GPS Tracker: A GPS tracker allows pet owners to monitor the location of their pets, providing peace of mind and aiding in the retrieval of lost pets.
  10. Car Seat for Home and Travel: These products ensure pets’ safety and comfort during car rides, providing secure seating arrangements to prevent injury or distraction.
  11. Food-Preserving Containers/Boxes: Designed to keep pet food fresh and free from contamination, these containers help maintain the quality and shelf life of pet food.
  12. Cleansing Pet Bathers: Innovative pet bathing solutions provide efficient and convenient ways to clean pets, promoting hygiene and grooming practices.

Of course, when you convert your business to a marketplace, then you will be able to sell a lot more variety of products to your users.

2. Choose a Catchy Name for Your Business

It would be best if you came up with an eCommerce business name that is simple and descriptive at the same time. The name will distinguish your brand from your competitors and make sure it is something that users can easily say and pronounce.

If you want ideas, then you can use this tool to generate cute but effective names for your business.

3. Write a Business Plan

In crafting your business plan, you will need to address key operational aspects, define goals and strategies, analyze competition, and assess resource requirements for the pet business.

You need to consider whether to establish a retail store, engage in wholesale transactions with other businesses, or launch an eCommerce platform. It’s imperative to ensure compliance with relevant business laws, including obtaining necessary licenses and permits.

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Starting a pet business necessitates more than just affection for animals; it entails compliance with various legal obligations. Here’s a rundown of crucial legal considerations:

Business Registration: Initiate by registering your business, which typically entails selecting a name and determining its structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation). Each jurisdiction has its registration process, so ensure adherence to local regulations.

Licenses and Permits: The nature of your pet business may dictate the need for specific licenses or permits. For example, selling pet food could require a health department permit. Always confirm the requirements with local authorities.

Insurance: Insurance is vital for shielding your business from unforeseen events. Liability insurance offers protection in case of accidents or injuries, while care, custody, and control insurance is recommended for services like pet-sitting or dog-walking, covering incidents involving injured or lost pets.

Animal Welfare Regulations: Businesses engaged in animal care must comply with animal welfare regulations. These rules vary by location and may include criteria such as enclosure cleanliness and size, as well as standards for pet food and medical care.

Seeking guidance from a legal professional is advisable to ensure full compliance with all relevant requirements for your pet business.

4. Build Your Brand With Product Differentiation, Storytelling

Crafting a brand is a pivotal step in establishing your pet business. Your brand influences various aspects, from your tone of communication to your overall aesthetic, and it’s crucial to captivate your target audience. Here are the key areas to concentrate on:

Product differentiation: Instead of offering another squeaky chew toy resembling a bone, provide products with a distinct value proposition to set yourself apart. For instance, a chew toy featuring bristles for teeth brushing addresses a unique customer need.

Visual identity: Your visual identity encompasses your logo, website design, social media assets, and packaging. Ensure that your visuals effectively convey your brand to your intended audience.

Brand story: A compelling brand narrative aids customers in comprehending the purpose behind your business and inspires them to take action. It serves as the cornerstone of your enterprise.

5. Source Your Products

When starting a business selling physical products, one crucial decision is whether to create the products yourself or source them externally. If you opt for sourcing, there are two primary methods: dropshipping and manufacturing.

Dropshipping: This model involves selling products that are manufactured, stored, and shipped by a third-party company. It eliminates the need for inventory management and order fulfillment, enabling you to focus on marketing and additional services, such as grooming or dog walking.

Manufacturing: If you prefer a hands-on approach, you can choose to work with your own manufacturer. This approach often allows for greater product customization and personalization at a potentially lower cost, or quicker shipping if you opt for local suppliers.

6. Build Your Marketplace

So, you have made all the preparations. Now it is time to build your marketplace. There are two ways you can do that-

1. Custom-Built Approach: Creating a custom platform involves assembling a dedicated team comprising designers, developers, testers, and other experts. This approach typically demands more time and investment compared to opting for a pre-built solution.

2. Leverage Readymade Software: Utilizing off-the-shelf eCommerce software comes with built-in marketplace features, trimming down development expenses and time. Additionally, it accelerates the platform’s launch, integrating bespoke functionalities that align with user preferences swiftly.

There are quite a few platforms you can use to create a marketplace. But the one we are talking about is the Dokan Cloud version. The software was recently released and has all the features to launch and manage a marketplace with ease.

Features You Need to Add to Your Pet Supply Marketplace

We have divided the features you need to add to your pet supply marketplace-

Features for Customers-

  • Register via email or social media profile
  • Manage Personal Profile and Settings
  • Search and view Pet products
  • Secure online payments
  • Manage Profile
  • Push updates/notifications
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • Mobile wallet integration for quick payments
  • Get customer support via Chat or Call

Features for Sellers-

  • Register and Login
  • Create & Manage Profile
  • Seller Dashboard
  • Manage products
  • Accept Payments
  • Chat with Customers
  • View/Get ratings and Review Alert
  • Generate Revenue Analysis Reports

Features for Admin-

  • Secure Login
  • Manage Customers & Sellers
  • Manage Purchases/Commission/Offers/Promo/Discounts
  • Create/Update FAQ, Term, and Policies
  • Provide Technical & Customer Support
  • View & Manage Billing/Invoice/Reports
  • Manage Reviews, Ratings & Feedback
  • Verify Sellers
  • Chat Module To Provide Customer Support

In addition to this, below mentioned are some advanced features that can also be integrated into a pet products marketplace.

  • Social Media Integration
  • Loyalty Rewards
  • Product Comparison
  • In-app Chat
  • Revenue Analytics
  • Seller Verification
  • 360-degree Products View
  • Voice Assistant
  • Social Sharing
  • Multiple Payment Options
  • Multilingual
  • Multi-Currency Support

How Dokan Cloud Helps to Create a Pet Supply Marketplace with the Necessary Features

Dokan Cloud has all the features to create your pet supply marketplace and manage it quite efficiently.

You don’t need to play with the configuration as the platform will handle most of the tasks.

Here are the steps to create a pet supply marketplace with Dokan Cloud-

  • Step 1: Sign Up and Set Up Dokan Cloud
  • Step 2: Design Your Marketplace
  • Step 3: Add Products
  • Step 4: Promote Your Marketplace:

Step 1: Sign Up and Set Up Dokan Cloud

Head over to Dokan Cloud’s website and sign up for an account. Dokan Cloud offers different pricing plans, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

Sign in to Dokan Cloud

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to configure your store settings. This includes setting up your store currency, payment gateways, shipping methods, and more.

Step 2: Design Your Marketplace

Dokan Cloud offers a variety of themes and customization options to help you design your marketplace. Choose a theme that is visually appealing and easy to navigate for your customers.

This is a screenshot of the dokan design and customization

You’ll also want to design your vendor application form and set up the commission structure for your marketplace. This will determine how much revenue you take from each sale made by your vendors.

Step 3: Add Products

You can add some core pet supply products to start your marketplace. This will give potential vendors an idea of the types of products you’re looking for and attract more sellers to your platform.

This is a screesnhot Add Product in Dokan

Dokan Cloud allows vendors to add their own products as well. Once you’ve approved a vendor, they can upload their product listings, including descriptions, images, and prices.

Step 4: Promote Your Marketplace

Once your marketplace is up and running, you’ll need to promote it to attract both vendors and customers. You can use a variety of marketing channels, such as social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing.

This is how easily you can create your pet supply business using the Dokan cloud platform.

Note: If you want to have more customization control on your hand and be comfortable with using WordPress, then you can the Dokan Plugin version to create your pet supply marketplace.

Examples of Top Pet Supply Brands

To get inspiration, you can look at some of the top brands in the pet supply business-

  1. Chewy: Known for its extensive online marketplace, Chewy provides a broad array of pet supplies spanning from food and toys to medications and accessories.
  2. Petco: A renowned pet retailer, Petco not only operates physical stores but also offers an online marketplace featuring a diverse selection of pet supplies, grooming essentials, and services.
  3. PetSmart: Another major player in the pet industry, PetSmart runs both brick-and-mortar stores and an online marketplace. It boasts a vast assortment of products catering to dogs, cats, birds, fish, and small animals.
  4. Amazon Pets: Amazon hosts a dedicated section called “Amazon Pets,” where customers can explore a wide range of pet supplies, including food, treats, toys, and grooming items.
  5. Walmart Pet Supplies: Walmart extends its offerings to include an online marketplace for pet supplies, enabling customers to browse and purchase various products such as food, bedding, crates, and accessories.

Bonus: Things You Need to Consider After Launching Your Pet Supply Marketplace

Before we wrap up, here are some things you need to consider after launching your pet supply business-

1. Provide After Sell Customer Service

So, once your customers have made their purchases, it’s important to be there for them if they have any questions or issues.

That means setting up clear channels for customer support, like email, phone, and live chat. Plus, having a smooth system in place for returns, exchanges, and refunds ensures they have a positive experience. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for feedback – it’s a goldmine for improving your customer service!

2. Find the Best Vendors for Your Marketplace

Now, when it comes to working with vendors, it’s like maintaining any relationship – it needs regular attention. You’ll want to keep an eye on things like product quality, reliability, and what your customers are saying.

Negotiating good terms with your vendors helps keep your prices competitive and ensures your products arrive on time. And hey, exploring new vendors with unique products can really spice up your marketplace’s offerings!

3. Manage Your Financials

Alright, let’s talk money! Tracking your expenses, revenue, and cash flow accurately is key. It’s like keeping tabs on your own bank account – you need to know where the money’s coming from and where it’s going.

Creating a budget and financial projections helps you stay on track and make sure you’re making a profit. And those key financial metrics? They’re like your business’s vital signs – they tell you how healthy it is and where you might need to make some changes.

4. Promote Your Pet Business

Last but not least, spreading the word about your pet business is crucial. Think of it like inviting people to a party – you want to make sure everyone knows about it!

So, you’ll want to develop a solid marketing plan that covers all the bases – online, offline, you name it. Social media is a powerful tool for engaging with your audience and showing off your products. And teaming up with pet influencers or bloggers can really help get your brand out there.

Oh, and don’t forget about email marketing – it’s like sending out personal invitations to your party! And hey, keep an eye on how your marketing efforts are doing – if something’s not working, it’s okay to switch things up!

Last Words

Starting a pet supply business online can be an exciting and rewarding venture for pet lovers and entrepreneurs alike. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can lay a strong foundation for your online pet supply store.

First, conduct thorough market research to identify your target audience and niche within the pet supply industry.

Next, create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. Then, choose a reliable eCommerce platform and build a user-friendly website that showcases your products effectively.

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Invest in high-quality inventory and establish relationships with reputable suppliers to ensure the quality and variety of your offerings. Implement robust marketing strategies, including social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization, to attract customers and drive traffic to your website.

With dedication, creativity, and a passion for pets, you can successfully launch and grow your online pet supply business, providing valuable products and services to pet owners while fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams.

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