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How To Build & Start A Shopify Pets Store?

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By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

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Pet owners know how important their furry little friends are to themselves. That is why they never hesitate to buy the best products for their lovely bundles of joy.

While the pet business is still unpredictable, like any other industry, people’s certainty of spoiling their pets is a good foundation for starting a pet store. This is hard to pass the opportunity if you are also fond of pets and their related items. You may already know that having a pet helps people emotionally and physically. The fuzzy balls can decrease stress, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and be more active. So, more and more people are adding a new member to their family and looking for new, excellent pet products.

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But, starting a Shopify pets store takes more than just a chance. Every successful Shopify store started with a barrage of questions about what products to sell, where to find customers, and which manufacturers to import from. What will set your store apart is a good plan and the willingness to tackle the problems.

It is not easy, so there is this guide to help. With the right approach and a good understanding of the pet business, it will be much easier to build/start a Shopify pet store. I will cover things like how to start an online pet store with Shopify, business ideas, and some good examples around the web.

Grab a lovely small companion, and let’s get started!

What is a Shopify pets store

A Shopify pets store
A Shopify pets store

In 2018, the overall pet product sales reached around $44 billion in Europe, and the US pet industry reached $72 billion in 2019. With more and more people owning some kinds of pets in their homes, it is no surprise that the pet product industry also skyrocketed in the number of businesses.

With eCommerce evolving, it is easier than ever to sell online. An online pet store can sell many pet-related products, from food, clothes, toys, to even the pet itself. There are also stores for pet services like grooming, spa, health check, and more.

On the other hand, Shopify is a well-known eCommerce platform with more than 1 million users worldwide. Any seller can build a simple online store using the Shopify Starter Plan at $5/month. With Shopify, store owners can easily build a storefront with beautiful pre-made themes and useful storage, customer service, and product management features. Users also get access to a rich app store with additional tools for marketing, accounting, sales, productivity, etc.

A Shopify pets store is an online store built on Shopify that focuses on providing pet-related products. I have seen many stores exploring niches and made a huge success. Next, let’s see the typical types of pet stores.

Types of pets stores

Types of pets stores
Types of pets stores

As the pet owners go to great lengths to take care of their pets, your store can cover many different needs of the little friends like food, grooming, training, and fashion. Yes, you would be surprised to see how owners make sure their pets get everything they need and even beyond.

The types of pets stores are:

Pet food store

One of the most basic needs of pets, you can start with the food section. This is probably the highest profit-making niche as every pet owner needs this. They want to make sure their pets have the right nutrition and proteins, so many brands have made great packaged foods for different kinds of pets. So, you can sell pet food of all brands to generate profits or focus on a specific brand and type of pet.

Just for dogs, you already have food products like wet food, dry kibbles, puppy food, prescription diet meals, bakery, milk replacements, and more. Also, you can provide food for cats, birds, fishes, hamsters, squirrels, monkeys, guinea pigs, reptiles, and even some strange pets like lions or tigers.

Pet living style store

An online store’s next opportunity is in pet living and other things they need for comfortable home space. Back in the days, a dog may only need a cage and a leash, but now, it can have towels, beds, toys, and much more. There is a ton of stuff that you can try selling.

Here is a list of thing that you can sell as a pet living style store

  • Beds
  • Towels
  • Blankets and bedsheets
  • Travel crates
  • Toys
  • Sofas and chairs
  • Collars
  • Muzzles
  • Leashes
  • Litter boxes

Pet fashion store

Pets can explore fashion trends too, and owners feel like proud parents when they see how beautiful their pets can look. There are many clothes and fashion products that you can provide, such as:

  • Clothes
  • Hats
  • Warm clothing
  • Shoes
  • Backpack
  • Costumes (think of Halloween)
  • Container backpack (for traveling with the owner)

Pet grooming/spa store

This is when pet owners show extra care for their pets like real children. In your online pet store, you can sell various grooming products with huge margins. Multiple products are there to choose from, such as:

  • Showers and bath accessories
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Deodorizers
  • Brushes
  • Hair removals and rollers
  • Combs
  • Dematting tools
  • Wipes
  • Nail cutters
  • Washing devices
  • Moisturizers
  • Skincare liquids

And pretty much anything that can make a pet beautiful. Selling grooming and spa products can be worth your investment.

Pet health store

The next big niche is selling pets’ health-related products. Pets these days can face many harms from the environment and their own genetic problems, and owners are very prudent about their pets so health becomes a top priority. Here are some health products that your store can sell.

  • Vitamins
  • Supplements
  • Dental care products
  • Flea, Lice, Tick control products
  • Health powders
  • Nail care products
  • Spray
  • Vet tables
  • Massage oils
  • Ear cleaning kits
  • Minerals

As you can see, there are many areas that you can try selling pet products with hundreds of manufacturers with millions of already procured products. You can pick any niche or more to start your own Shopify pet store. This can be based on your resources, preferred types of pets, and interests. This can be confusing, so let’s see how to build a store in the next section.

How to build/start a Shopify pets store

How to build/start a Shopify pets store
How to build/start a Shopify pets store

Being an eCommerce store can be frightening and exciting at the same time. But, as long as you start with preparation, there is not much to be afraid of. There are many aspects in building/starting a Shopify pets store, here is how to start:

1. Deciding on your business model

Your business model may sound a bit overwhelming to decide first, but having the right mindset from the start really helps in the long run. You can consult with a professional to determine your business models among the options of:

  • Partnership
  • Sole Proprietor
  • Corporation
  • LLC

Most businesses on Shopify are Sole proprietors or partnerships, but the platform is fully capable of providing features for bigger corporations. If your business model is LLC or Corporation, naturally you would have to pay taxes. But, as a sole proprietor, your personal assets can be seized if you are unable to pay your debts.

If you are a small and medium-sized business, you wouldn’t have to worry too much when starting out. You just need a solid business plan to start, and it comes in super handy if you need financial support. Your business plan should indicate the purpose of your pet business, explain how it will be marketed, promotion and advertising ideas, and the markets to sell products.

The plan will cover questions about your potential competitors, prospective customers, and the number of employees you want to hire, and maybe the financial requirements to start. This is on paper only at this stage, as we will dig in deeper in the next step.

2. Choose your pet product types

Based on the types of pet stores above, you should be able to decide on what products to sell. Take a look at your business plan and resources, as well as personal interests to make up your mind. Online pet stores are known for selling a variety of products, so you don’t have to box yourself in a certain niche yet.

When choosing your products, it is important to think of your target market and research competitors to see what products they are currently selling well.

3. Find product suppliers

Assuming that you’ve chosen your preferred product, the next step is to find the suppliers for your Shopify pets store. There are basically three common ways to find manufacturers for a pet store:

  • Online marketplaces: Giant online marketplaces like Amazon, Aliexpress, Alibaba have all kinds of suppliers from around the world. Some can be local and convenient, yet some are overseas with much better prices. Depending on your resources, you can contact suppliers to make an agreement. Be careful when working abroad, not every supplier is trustworthy.
  • Directories: Online directories like the Pet Food Industry and Salehoo can give you amazing suppliers. By using these directories, you can find the most convenient suppliers from your locations, but at a small cost to sign up.
  • Dropshipping: Many new eCommerce stores find this method to be a cost-effective way to start, especially on a low budget. With dropshipping, your products are shipped directly to the customers from third-party suppliers. Dropshipping can be convenient for both consumers and sellers.

Of course, you can produce your own pet products at home and sell them, but make sure you follow all the requirements from the government.

4. Create a business name

It can be hard to come up with a catchy and creative business name that can attract potential buyers. But there are many Shopify business name generators that you can use, many of which are free. Try to think of a few different options, because you will need to look up and see if the name is already taken. Also, remember to register your business name, both online and offline.

5. Start your Shopify pets store

Here is the last step of how to build/start a Shopify pets store, the most important aspects to keep in mind are:

5.1. Claim your domain name

There is no right or wrong when choosing your business name, same with the domain name. It can be anything, but you want the name to stay in the potential customers’ minds. When you sign up with Shopify, you can buy the domain name during or after setting up your online store.

An existing brand like Pet Playgroundz has definitely received some benefits from having a relevant name and domain. A name that well represents your niche will help people easily remember your brand.

5.2. Design the store categories

Depending on your business type and specific offerings, how you design your product categories will help your buyers shop more easily. Many pet stores offer products for multiple types of animals, so logically ‘Animals’ should be their root categories. You can easily design your categories with Shopify’s store editor and add products into each sub-category along the way.

5.3. Have a marketing plan for your pet business

Marketing is a whole new world to some, but it is an essential part of an online pet store’s marketing. There is something you should keep in mind when creating a marketing plan:

  • Competitors: Establishing your competitors will help a lot in coming up with a marketing plan. If you observe how they are promoting their stores and products, you can learn to achieve better results in a short time. Basic keyword analysis of competitors will help you filter the most important keywords for your online store and design strategies for SEO and Paid Marketing.
  • Blogging: Blogging is a great way to drive organic traffic to your pet store and give superb results in niche markets. Pet lovers love to read about how to take care of their pets, so it is a good idea to create meaningful content and attract new audiences. Meaningful content on various platforms also helps promote your store’s products. Not to mention link building, which is important for your site’s position on search engine results like Google.
  • SEO and paid advertising: Search engine optimization is the best practice to obtain higher organic search results. It helps you gain a strong position, you can have more organic visitors, and increase sales. There are many free Shopify SEO tools and apps that help you achieve these results faster. Optimizing your product and category pages will let you gain more visibility, but it can take some time. You can also use paid advertising for better exposure to your store. It is easier and more quickly to drive quick traffic, but is relatively costly.

Determining the best marketing strategy for your business will require you to try new methods, test them, and then adjust accordingly. Marketing is an ongoing and ever-changing process. What works today may not still be tomorrow. The important thing to remember is to stay on top of the changes and refresh your strategy once in a while.

5.4. Create and launch a well-designed pet store

With Shopify, you can easily pick a premade theme and have a professional look for your pet store. There are 73 themes in the Shopify Themes Store, many of which have variations, making up to over 100 themes available. If you are not sure what to do, hire a pro to design your store, choose someone with experience in making a Shopify store.

Read more: How to Choose Shopify Themes that Sells?

Your website should be easy to navigate and understand. It also should have good visual, interactive elements, and throughout the information. Including customer testimonials can be an effective promotional tool. Your online store is also the gateway to your social media pages and your newsletter service, as well as contact information.

When you are happy with the result, you can launch your Shopify pets store, then apply the marketing plan to start promoting your brand to the target customers. Don’t forget to check if you have established the basics of order processing, such as online payment methods, shipping methods, and automated confirmation emails.

Shopify pets store ideas

Shopify pets store ideas
Shopify pets store ideas

Shopify pet stores come in all forms, some target cat and dog owners, while others specialize in more niched pets like arthropods. The key is to find a large enough niche to provide a sustainable customer base and distinguish your brand. Here are some Shopify pets store ideas that I recommend:

Homemade pet treats store

For people that love creating foods and treats for pets, a homemade pet treats store is a great way to practice your craft. With pet owners becoming increasingly health-conscious, you have many opportunities to offer foods to those looking for healthier options.

You can sell treats with specific dietary restrictions or sell functional foods, such as bones to brush a dog’s teeth. You can sell kibble, dry foods, soft treats, and many more. Since these products are being consumed, it is extremely important to research your ingredients and confidently vouch for the safety of the products. Consider complementing your homemade pet treats store with a dog training app, providing a valuable resource for pet owners seeking to enhance their canine companions’ skills. Integrating training tips, interactive exercises, and nutritional guidance into the app can further strengthen your brand’s appeal, offering a holistic approach to pet care. This additional feature not only expands your product offerings but also positions your business as a comprehensive resource for pet owners dedicated to the well-being and happiness of their furry friends.

Niche pet apparel store

If you are up to the challenge of making the best fashion items for the little furry friends, pet apparel is an exciting industry to try. Pet clothing has become increasingly popular over the years, with tons of shirts, outfits, and accessories designed specifically for types of animals.

This is also a good area to find new niches. You will learn that people can be very specific about their pet’s fashion taste as of their own. There are many rooms for exploration and innovation, you can also try dropshipping to test the market and find the winning products. Maybe start a Shopify pets store that only sells tuxedos for lizards, who knows!?

Read more:

Pet walking and sitting service store

If you are thinking about starting a Shopify pets store, there is a high chance that you like pets. You like walking a dog to make new friends, get exercise, and for some extra money. Service-based businesses like pet sitting and spa have seen incredible results in a few years.

By maintaining good customer relationships, you can build trust and have many loyal customers that only want you to take care of their pets. This type of store is great for sociable entrepreneurs that always look to have more valuable client relationships. One downside is that you can only provide this in your one neighborhood until you have more budget to expand more branches.

Best Shopify pets store examples

Shopify store owners are no stranger to finding new niches and exploiting them. A one-of-a-kind pet brand with unique selling points will bring far more expressiveness than any large retail store, putting it in a better position to attract new customers. With this in mind, here are some best Shopify pets store examples that you can take inspiration from:

TeddyBob Pet Supplies

TeddyBob Pet Supplies
TeddyBob Pet Supplies

TeddyBob is a Canada-based retailer that provides all kinds of basic items for cat and dog lovers. While having a large collection, they do a great job of narrowing down the focus and cutting out choice paralysis. Customers will find their product categories very easy to navigate, despite the fact that they sell everything from heating pad to litter boxes.

This is thanks to a modern and sleek design provided by Shopify. The store is using the customized Boost theme on the Shopify Themes Store at the price of $180. Aside from the color variant, TeddyBob tends to have just a few options for each sub-category. This is smart since customers will spend less time browsing and make a basic choice more quickly, leading to more conversions.

Barking Babies

Barking Babies
Barking Babies

Vancouver-based Shopify pets store Barking Babies provides services on spa, boutique, kennel, and puppy-training facilities. The services included pretty much every dog-related activity you can think of, putting a huge emphasis on the dogs’ health and social aspect.

Another thing that you can learn from Barking Babies is the brand’s interest in community and companionship. Much of the website’s content focuses on the importance of socialization for dogs, which immediately relates to dog owners. They want the best lives for their little friends, and Barking Babies looks like the best club. This is especially good for brand loyalty and encouraging return customers.

The Dog Bakery

The Dog Bakery
The Dog Bakery

California-based Shopify pets store The Dog Bakery sells cookies, chewy treats, biscuits, and custom cakes for all kinds of dogs. Pet owners love showing appreciation for their four-legged friends, so treating them with custom cakes and unique parties is not a surprise.

The Dog Bakery’s branding is simple yet effective, Visitors can also buy collars, leashes, and toys in the store, aside from cakes and cookies. Combined with an easy to remember the name, the store is sure to stick in the consumer’s mind when finding a store to spoil their good boys and girls. The store also uses a customized theme not available on the theme store to make it more special.

Final tips

Here are some more tips to build a profitable Shopify pets store:

  • Start local: Joining local communities is a good way to start building relationships with potential customers and learn about pet owners better. Trust is especially important in this industry, so social interaction is a must.
  • Familiarize yourself with SEO, blogging, and emails: The potential for large and sustainable traffic is very high with SEO and blogging. A well-researched article can direct traffic for months, even years later. Emails are a cost-effective way to nurture relationships with pet owners, and a useful app like AVADA Email Marketing can help you automate the process.
  • Attend pet industry events and conventions: Networking with professionals in the pet industry will help you build new skills and have more connections. This is especially great if you are selling in a niche market.

And that is all! Don’t be afraid to start a Shopify pet store today with the guide above! With the tools available, you can build a sustainable and fulfilling pet business. Pet owners always look for valuable services that help their little friends safer and happier. Thanks for reading, feel free to leave your pet store idea in the comment section.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.