Hinge Hits the Global Pet Expo: Amazon and Pets in 2019

Hinge went to the Global Pet Expo to talk to sellers in the pet industry. This week, we are addressing some of the common concerns they expressed regarding selling on Amazon.

Hinge Content Writer

Hinge took to Orlando for the Global Pet Expo, hosted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) to see the new and exciting things happening in the pet industry. Featuring booths showcasing new products and educational seminars, the Global Pet Expo hosts over one thousand exhibitors unveiling new products and developing brand relationships.

While Hinge Marketplace Consultants learned about the coolest products to hit the market in 2019, we noticed some recurring themes when discussing Amazon with many of the exhibitors, ranging from a lack of knowledge to bad experiences. Now, Hinge is here to answer a few questions and lay to rest some of those common concerns.

Brand Protection and MAP.

The primary problems we noticed revolved around confusion and concerns regarding Brand Protection and Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). Sellers cited this issue for reasons ranging from the difficulty of getting Amazon to adhere to their MAP policies to the challenge of competing with unauthorized sellers. First party sellers are usually encouraged by Amazon to launch on Vendor Central, which allows these sellers to sell directly to Amazon (much like selling to a department store). However, sellers have no control over the issuing of purchase orders, prices, or deals. They're subject to the selling strategies of Amazon, which at times prioritizes customer experience over seller profitability. This seller/Amazon relationship often creates confusion and frustration on the seller side, however, our Amazon experts know exactly how to manage these accounts.

If gaining greater control is a priority for your brand, it is often best to switch from Vendor Central to Seller Central (which you can read about in a little more depth here).

Upsetting Retailers.

Many sellers wanting to get their products on Amazon were concerned that moving to Amazon might upset retailers with whom they have long-standing relationships. This is completely understandable! However, this problem is manageable as our account managers can easily set up accounts that fit your strategy and ensure anonymity. This way, sellers can choose to sell on the platform or just monitor counterfeit products, protect brand identity, and prevent other sellers from undercutting prices. Sellers do not need to compromise relationships with retailers to take advantage of what Amazon has to offer.

Sales Growth.

Some sellers were not convinced that the trouble of launching on the platform would be worth their time. However, there are big things in store for the pet industry on Amazon in 2019. Amazon is reshaping the way we care for our four-legged friends, especially as Amazon’s pet category rockets into the multi-billion dollar threshold. According to Packaged Facts, 55% of all pet product purchases happen on Amazon, and as of the beginning of 2018, the pet category reached $2 billion in revenue - a 40% increase from 2017. With the growing number of Prime members and innovation of Amazon’s warehouse infrastructure allowing more efficient transportation of heavy pet products (like food bags and kitty litter), shoppers are encouraged to use product subscriptions. Essentially, any business with aspirations of success must go where their customers are, and most online shopping happens on Amazon. It is no longer a viable business option to build models that don’t include an Amazon strategy because it is precisely what competitors are doing - resisting the platform will not pay off in the long run.

The important takeaway is that Amazon has been paying particular attention to growing the pet category in the last few years (with their efforts paying off in billions). No matter your concern or previous negative experience with the platform, Hinge can provide a smooth and painless transition to help you set up your Amazon business. With over one hundred million Prime subscribers, there are astounding opportunities waiting for your brand.

Our consultants really enjoyed this year’s expo and look forward to returning next year. To learn more about your future in the pet category on Amazon, click here to get in touch with our experts.

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