Animals may not have a voice to speak themselves, but it’s safe to assume that they’d give a “woof” or “meow” in approval of how customer experience technology has revolutionized the pet care industry. The American Pet Product Association estimates that in 2018, pet industry spending by consumers may exceed $72 billion. Here are 5 ways the pet industry is keeping up with customers and their furry friends’ expectations.
IoT-enabled pet activity monitoring systems
Pet monitoring systems have grown up, allowing owners the opportunity interact with their pets from afar. “The basic need to check in on pets is acute for many pet owners, especially when considering pet separation anxiety and the damage that anxious pets can do in the home,” says Brad Wells, Senior Manager of Marketing Communications at Petcube, in an interview for this article.
The company addresses customer experience by turning cameras into interactive tools. Petcube Bites works as treat dispenser, whereas Petcube Play has a built in laser toy to encourage exercise. But that’s not where IoT ends. Wells says, “Both cameras integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice control and Petcube Bites works with Amazon Dash Replenishment Service for automatic treat reordering when supplies run low.”
Pet tech companies are also helping owners create environments better suited for their animals. “In a freshwater aquarium, now you can make an underwater garden by planting aquatic plants,” says Risalat Bari, founder of Expert Aquarist, in an interview for this article. “This has been possible due to the use of pressurized CO2, wide spectrum LED light that can replicate sunlight, and liquid fertilizer dosing.”
Bari continues, “In the saltwater aquarium the tech is even more important. For example, using wave makers you can create the similar sea water waves inside the aquarium to provide a natural habitat for the marine fishes and corals.”
Virtual pet care education
When a family welcomes a new pet into their home, the adults typically train and care for the pet’s basic needs. But with a little education, children can participate in the care of a new animal, too. Pet Supermarket addresses that need through an interactive pet care tool on their website specifically for children. Here they can learn about what to feed and how to handle 32 different animals. There’s also information about the animal’s natural environment.
Web app same-day med delivery
It can be difficult enough for adults to remember to fill their own prescriptions, nevermind remembering to reorder their animal’s scripts on time or pick up products they’re out of. Both PetSmart (with the help of Deliv) and PetCo (with assistance from Instacart) are meeting consumers’ needs by providing same-day medication (and product) delivery, or the ability to schedule a delivery in the near future.
Personalized healthy food delivered fresh
The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. However, a recent study by Purdue University suggests that the risk of certain cancer in dogs drastically decreases when vegetables are ingested 3 times a week. Enter The Farmer’s Dog, a service that delivers freshly-made, customized-for-your-dog food full of human-grade ingredients delivered right to your doorstep just days after it’s cooked. After pairing with veterinarians, the Farmer’s Dog team developed a proprietary algorithm which determines a tailored meal plan.
What other CX innovations can we expect from the pet care industry? With Forbes reporting strong interest in venture capital funding of pet tech companies, expect upgrades to include smart dog collars, apps for pet-walking services, as well as diagnostic services connecting vets with pets.