Retailers are familiar with the concept of “showrooming,” where a customer looks at a product in a store, then purchases online. Recently, there’s been a significant shift toward “webrooming,” as consumers increasingly research products online before buying in a brick-and-mortar location.
For example, a shopper may search online for the raw pet food they want to buy using a query like, “Where to Buy Steve’s Real Food.” The first search result a shopper clicks takes them to the brand’s website to learn more — and almost always to the store locator where they can find a pet store to buy the brand’s product.
Once on the brand’s website, a shopper can learn more about products and, if the brand has a good store locator, they can find a nearby store to engage with.
Unfortunately, most brands in the pet industry have an outdated store locator experience that doesn’t make it easy for shoppers to buy from a local pet store.
While a range of store locator tools exist in the marketplace to make sure you’re found — and increase your online to offline conversion rates — there is one buy-local platform designed specifically for pet industry brands and pet retail stores. NextPaw is offered in partnership with WPA as a free service exclusively for verified independent retailers and specialty manufacturers to help shoppers quickly find a store that carries the brands they want near them, without leaving the manufacturer’s website.
“Brands and retailers have been missing out on an opportunity to get more customers for years. Shoppers almost always visit a brand’s website during their purchase journey. They want to know where products are in stock and what stores nearby sell the products they want. They like to know more about the potential store they find beforehand. We should be digitally enabling the shoppers who have intent to buy to do so.”
—Brandon Swenson, co-founder of NextPaw
How It Works
Currently, over 50 manufacturers are using the NextPaw store locator technology. Once set up, any shopper who visits a brand’s website can quickly search nearby, by product and/or by location to discover pet stores.
Once a search is performed, a shopper can look at each store’s reviews, locations, hours of operation, and pickup and delivery options.
It’s easy for a shopper to learn more about the store, ask questions and even shop online, making buying from a local store while on the brand’s website a simple and seamless experience.
Pet retailers can go to NextPaw.com to claim their business listing for free and, once verified, get a “Verified Retailer” badge across their store locator listings on brand websites that are using the technology.
Since NextPaw is a Google Partner, it allows stores to connect a Google Business Profile to sync hours, online reviews, photos and other key information that helps shoppers make an informed decision.
According to a 2021 Mint consumer survey, 70% of shoppers prefer to buy local. Finally, we are seeing brands and retailers work together to help shoppers get answers to their initial search queries. Where can I buy X brand’s product near me? Who carries the product I want to buy right now?
By helping shoppers buy local through a brand’s website, or at their nearby store, the purchase journey becomes fast and frictionless. No longer will online research require multiple steps or lead to the frustration of digital dead-ends — and the potential for lost sales that go with them.
If you're a brand looking for more information, please visit OneBark.org.
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