Monday, September 20, 2010

Should We Add Pet Products?

At the August Retailer Roundtable hosted by Home Accents Today in Las Vegas as part of World Market, we were surprised that several retailers were complementing their home decor sales with gourmet food, apparel, jewelry and handbags as a way to increase traffic to their stores.  I learned today that there's another area of retail sales that hasn't suffered despite the shattered economy: Pet Sales.  Maybe, we should add that category to our sales mix.  In fact according to the American Pet Products Association all pet sales have doubled in ten years.  The APPA estimates that sales this year will reach $47.7 billion up from $23 billion in 1998.

A radio report today sparked my interest in pet sales.  New technology is out that may propel sales in the future because it allows our pets to network with us and other pets and even give us a photo record of their day while we are away.  For instance, Mattel has come out with a toy named "Puppy Tweets."
The toy has two parts, a plastic collar tag that contains a sound andmotion sensor and a USB receiver that you plug into your computer. The tag comes with pre-written, prerecorded tweets that are activated by your dog's activity. So if she's sleeping, the tag may automatically send the tweet, "Somedays it feels like my paw is permanently on the snooze button!" If she's woofing, the tweet may say, "YAHOOOOOOO! Somedays you just gotta get your bark on."

Then there's Sniftag which combines a hi-tech tag with an online social media site. Equipped with an accelerometer and motion analysis software, you can check in with the dog at a web site to see what your dog is up to.
It also uses a wireless protocol to communicate with other Sniftags nearby dogs may be wearing. The tags automatically swap unique identifying codes and relay the encounter to the server when the dogs return to the SNIF Base Station at their home.
A Japanese company offers  a gizmo that translates a pet's barks and purrs into intelligible sentences.  Don't you wish you could decipher those looks that your dog gives you?  Another company offers a camera attached to the pet's collar that takes photos at timed intervals.  When you get home you can see pictures of what your pet was doing.  Imagine your dog could no longer get away with saying, "It wasn't me." when you come home to find a vase tipped over.  My pet would probably give me countless photos of our bedroom wall where he sleeps all day.

There is Zen Dog, for those who think therapy and relaxation through calming music and massage might be good for your dog; HydroSurge Rapid Bath Dog Bathing System, an "all-in-one" wet, wash and rinse device that resembles a garden hose with a spray-nozzle comb head; and GoDogGo, a fetch machine for dogs that automatically shoots out tennis balls at timed intervals.  Does it say "good dog" when the ball is brought back? I don't think so.



Forbes alerts us to a product we may see in the near future.
If you're allergic to animals or can't have one where you live, check out The Haptic Creature, a robot designed to recreate the touch-based communication between pet and owner. The creature resembles a small rabbit with long "ears" and fur. When petted, it responds with breathing, ear movements and purring vibrations.
I think I'm on to something here.  You may see Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery change its name to include Pet Products.  That would make us LF+DG+PP.  Does that sound  wrong?

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design gallery
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