How Not To Go Bust As Walmart Goes All In on Pet
Wasting no time capitalizing on the explosive growth in pet food and pet care products, Walmart expanded its private label Pro+ line of premium pet food. Walmart continues to expand its reach to the pet category… adding a collaboration with pet-centric media brand The Dodo. Walmart hopes that the collection (sold online and in stores) will convince more dog owners that Walmart is a one-stop destination for pet products.
The strategy is simple – outprice the competition.
While the low price approach to capturing market share isn’t a surprise, questions about how other pet food companies will compete is yet to be seen.
The fact that Walmart’s move to outprice other premium pet-food brands comes as consumers increasingly seek out premium, personalized, functional fare for their pets adds another layer of complexity to an already crowded space.
Building the Best Strategic Hand
There’s growing demand… here are tips to best navigate the high stakes opportunity:
🐾 Prioritize Accurate & Timely Key Data Metrics (Price, Promotion, Availability)
The pet product landscape is quickly changing and brands can’t be caught off guard by incorrect or incomplete buyer, competitor, and/or retailer activity.
There’s no question that we’ll see new pricing and promotional strategies coming from manufacturers… but in doing so, you must closely monitor out of stocks. Any disruption can open gaps for competitive substitution.
🐾 Avoid a Price Race to the Bottom
You want to own your pricing strategy, but if the pet e-commerce boom has shown us anything, it’s that keeping up with pricing compliance can be infuriating.
With Walmart’s pledge to outprice other brands, you can assure that competitive retailers will look for similar price advantages to maintain sales.
This means that you could unknowingly get caught in a “follow the leader” pricing war.
Instead of the typical finger pointing that occurs to fix pricing compliance issues, brands will need to quickly identify the first mover and work collaboratively to strategically develop mutually beneficial approaches to meet shopper needs.
🐾 Know Your Next Bet
Walmart’s move in the pet category will have a ripple effect as brands and retailers seek to understand the impact.
During this time, it’s critical you can see the changes taking place — competitive visibility into pricing, promotion, assortment, and digital shelf decisions. For example, if your competitor releases a new pack size or creates a shopper marketing investment, you need to know its impact (and your next move to maintain your growth strategy). Additionally, you want to have a close eye on promotional execution to make sure that every bet you make has the best chance of paying off.
Going back to point #1, none of this is possible with poor data quality. You have to have accurate product matching for you and your competitive set. Don’t overlook the fact that this data set will expand with Walmart’s actions.
Have the Best Poker Face
Whether Walmart’s move on premium pet food will disrupt the way that the pet category pot is divided is yet to be determined.
The fact is: brands cannot blindly react by making uninformed bets in response to Walmart’s move.
Instead, rely on your data to make the best investment decisions that will keep you in the game.
If you have doubts about your data accuracy or it takes too long for you to decipher the insights you need to act, your competition will quickly call your bluff.
Walmart is a strong and experienced player entering the pet space with a bold bet. It’s those companies that can solidify their foundation with data-driven best practices that will show they are up for the challenge.