How we compete with online retailers

How we compete with online retailers

Our pet supply and pet grooming franchise connects with customers and their pets in a way the internet just can’t

The front of an EarthWise Pet store features their leaf-shaped logo of a wolf howling at the moon, and beneath the EarthWise Pet words it reads, “Supply | Grooming | Wash.” To the left of the front door in a strip mall it reads, Pet Food, Grooming, Self-Wash. Next to that is a pink and blue neon “Open” sign.
Ecommerce can compete in a lot of ways with brick-and-mortar. Dog grooming, however, is best done in person.

Those of us who adore animals don’t have any trouble envisioning a life path that includes a pet-centered business such as a pet supply store or pet grooming franchise. But if you’re following business trends at all, you understand the threat many retailers feel right now from ecommerce.

Big-box stores are being destroyed by online retailers that can out-maneuver them on price and selection, and increasingly even offer same-day delivery. But in some segments, like the one EarthWise Pet occupies, online retailers just can’t compete in terms of customer intimacy and community connection.

What independent bookstores discovered was that customers valued intimacy over a quicker, cheaper price. EarthWise also places high value on our community engagement.

What indy bookstores can teach us

Independent bookstores are a classic example for how a brand with local ownership and deep community ties can win in the age of online retail.

Ryan Raffaelli, a professor at Harvard Business School who conducted a study on the rise of locally-owned bookstores, talked to NPR recently about the rise, fall and rebirth of the independent bookstore business.

After big-box stores knocked out many local bookstores, and online retailers and devices like Kindle started taking a significant bite out of big-box bookstores, Raffaelli says, something surprising happened: Between 2009 and 2018, the number of independent bookstores grew by 40%.

The comeback happened, he says, because they represented “this high experience, a chance for the consumer to engage on a set of very personal dimensions, versus Amazon, which is really about, ‘Can I just get something quickly at the cheapest price?’”

How EarthWise Pet competes

Just as booklovers get so much more out of personal recommendations from a fellow bibliophile at an independent bookstore, animal lovers find the same satisfaction interacting with the pet supply experts at EarthWise Pet.

Pet supplies are certainly available online. But chatbots have not yet advanced to the point that they can carry on an intelligent conversation with the kind of emotional resonance you’ll get from an EarthWise Pet staffer who loves and cares for pets of their own. Automation and artificial intelligence can only go so far.

Six short-legged dogs, including some dachshunds, are on leashes leading back to a slim woman in the background. They are in assorted colors and coat types, and they are on a city sidewalk.
Five out of six dogs agree: Going to EarthWise Pet Supply with your human is better than buying online. (The sixth dog can’t read, so he couldn’t take the survey.)

When a customer walks their dog into one of our stores to pick up some treats or drop him off for a grooming appointment, they’re going to see other dog-lovers with their pooches around the store. If they have a question about a food or a toy, the EarthWise employee is answering from a depth of knowledge that’s often from personal experience. That’s the kind of connection that keeps people coming back.

EarthWise Pet is very invested in these advantages, which gives our supply and pet grooming franchise a competitive edge.

Own your own supply and grooming franchise

To learn more about EarthWise Pet franchise opportunities, fill out the form on this page to download our franchise report. You can also learn more about our brand through our research pages.