As of 2023, 86.9 million U.S. homes own a pet, so this is the perfect opportunity to start an online pet store if you're unsure which ecommerce business to venture into.
Whether you are a pet owner or entrepreneur looking to break into the pet care industry, starting a Shopify pet store can be a rewarding journey. This article provides all the essentials you need to start and establish an online pet store that stands out from other pet stores.
It includes knowing what to sell on your Shopify pet store, strategies to follow for a successful venture. Finally, this article provides examples to help you with the right inspiration!
- Pet Products Are a Big Deal Globally
- What can you sell on a Shopify pet store?
- Can you sell pets on Shopify?
- How to start a Shopify pet store
- Shopify pet store examples
Pet Products Are a Big Deal Globally
Selling pet products has proven to be a profitable venture in recent years, and the pet care industry is forecast to reach even greater heights.
According to a report published by Fior Markets, the global market for pet items is expected to grow from $225 billion in 2019 to about 358. 62 billion in 2027.
And that's not all. Just the global pet food ingredients market is projected to reach $44.5 billion by 2027.
With the inclusion of digital pet items like GPS pet trackers, pet cameras, feeders, and so on, the global pet item market is expected to keep rising exponentially. For instance, searches for “pet camera” on Google are often in the high 70%, illustrating the interest in these items.
Apart from the fact that you’ll be catering to the demands of millions of pet parents who want to keep their beloved animals happy, you’ll also tap into a diverse market for those with hobbies and interests that involve pets. For example, products like dog training items, falconry gear, and even cat mittens are all fair game.
With a pet supplies store, you’ll be in great position to tap into the 40% profit margins typically enjoyed in the niche — more than a handsome reward for your efforts.
What can you sell on a Shopify pet store?
There are several pet care items or supplies you can sell on a Shopify pet store. Some of these items include the following:
For pet owners, leashes are one of the most essential pet accessories to have especially for those who own dogs and go dog walking often.
Most pet parents need leashes to protect the dog when walking, prevent accidents and also ensure the safety of others, especially children. The market for pet leashes is worth $5.28 billion, which highlights the market opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to sell this product.
Check out Heads up for Tails, a Shopify store with various pet products from leashes and dog walking essentials to scratchers and toys, for inspiration.
Pet toys are another great example of highly sought-after items you can sell on your online store.
You can offer a wide variety of these toys ranging from handmade toys, squeak toys, balls, and rope toys to even interactive and chew toys to stand out from other pet stores.
Pet toys are also part of a market worth an eye-watering $8 billion in 2022, meaning there’s a lot to benefit by selling in this market. Pet Culture is one of the Shopify stores tapping into this lucrative market.
Harnesses are essential pet accessories that help restrain your furry friend if they decide to pull when going on a walk.
Searches for pet harnesses increased by 100% in mid 2023, continuing an upward trend in searches for this product.
Supakit’s Shopify store is a great place to start, if you’re seeking ideas on how to make pet harnesses work.
Pet beds are an excellent pick for your Shopify pet store as pet parents are constantly seeking new ways to make their pets comfortable. That demand is contributing to $4.32 billion in value in 2023.
For instance, you can offer a wide variety of dog beds like elevated beds, tent beds, pillow beds, bolster beds, and even an orthopedic bed to ensure happy customers. Pupnaps, which we’ve discussed below, is a great example of a Shopify store that offers pet beds.
You can make a difference by not only selling regular dog food or cat food but also organic pet food for animal lovers who prefer all-natural pet food or treats for their pets.
Forthglade, which describes itself as a leader in natural pet food, is one store that’s inspiring many sellers.
There’s a lot of nutrition and science-driven innovation in the pet food industry and this led to nearly $100 billion in value in 2022. If you can find innovative ways to sell in this space, you’re certain to unlock some of that value.
Selling pet clothing is a profitable (and stylish) business to get into, in a market worth over $5 billion.
Pet clothes not only provide extra warmth and protection, but they also ensure that pets stand out by looking stylish and unique.
Pet Culture is one Shopify store that sells pet clothing and accessories, alongside other items. You’ll find things like winter essentials for dogs and cats as well as tailored guidance for pet parents.
As both a health and age-related pet product, this item is popular amongst pet owners, with a market expected to be worth over $500 million by 2028.
These products are key for pet owners looking for ways to avoid messes around the home. Many also watch their pets' hygiene, hence the need for dog diapers.
Other items you can sell in your pet supplies store include pet-related products like pet grooming equipment, pet supplements, pet feeders, pet crates and kennels. You can even offer grooming services to pet owners.
YuMOVE, a UK-based store, offers pet wellness products like supplements and health advice to keep pets in great shape even during old age.
Can you sell pets on Shopify?
While you are allowed to sell pet products on your Shopify ecommerce store, Shopify does not allow the sale of live animals on its regular platform. This includes the sales of mammals, invertebrates, reptiles, birds, and fishes.
Your Shopify store will be immediately terminated if you are found selling live animals on the platform. However, you can create a separate 'Live Animal Business' account if you want to sell live animals.
How to start a Shopify pet store
If you aim to own one of the best pet Shopify stores, there are several important tips to consider. Below are essential steps to follow to ensure your online store's success:
Conduct market research
The first step to creating a unique pet store that will attract potential customers and retain existing customers is to carry out market research. Decide what type of pet services you want to offer — such as online retail, wholesale pet supplies, grooming services, or pet training.
After deciding what you want to offer, analyze your competition and deeply research what edge you might have over existing pet stores. Also consider the likely profit margins of the service or pet supply you are offering.
One way to find information or data for your market research is by using Google Trends. With this tool, you can explore search queries and topics, identify customer demand and even determine seasonal trends/patterns.
In-person surveys, online polls, joining specific niche-related groups, and interviews with niche experts are also great data sources. You also need to be sure you tick all the legal boxes to avoid running into trouble with the law.
Craft a plan
One thing some of the best Shopify pet stores have in common is that they work with a business plan backed by a selling model. To enable success, this plan must be concise, clear, and realistic.
Your business plan should have the following details:
- Your business name
- Mission statement
- What you offer
- Your target audience
- Likely competition
- Options for financing
- Advertising and marketing, etc.
Having a plan is essential because it guides you through every stage of starting and eventually managing your online store.
A plan also helps you identify answers to questions that affect your proposed business idea and communicate the objectives of the business to others, especially when you plan to work with a team.
Finally, if you want to ensure hitch-free implementation of your business idea, crafting a plan should be top of mind for you.
Unless you plan to manufacture your pet supplies, you need to identify reliable suppliers to ensure the smooth running of your business.
A good approach is to reach out to as many suppliers as you can, get a quote from them, and compare to find out the least expensive. It is never a good idea to rely on the pricing of a single supplier.
Ensure you have multiple suppliers of specific animal care items to avoid problems of cancellations or unplanned setbacks. Some locations you can check for quality pet products include Alibaba.com, Wholesale Pet, and Pound Wholesale.
Open a Shopify store
Once you have ticked off some of the most important items on your business plan, you are now ready to open your Shopify pet store.
Ensure that your ecommerce site has a high-converting landing page, an appealing home page, a dedicated product page, and an easily navigable product listing page.
Once you are sure everything needed for a successful ecommerce business is in place, you can now inform the public about the plan to launch your store.
Launch your store
Finally, you need to launch your store and commence online sales. A useful tip for a successful store launch is to ensure you massively promote your store using all tools available at your disposal. The two most common are word-of-mouth advertising and the use of your social media page.
You can share flyers among your family, friends, and even colleagues while encouraging them to share on their social media pages as well. You could create a specific hashtag for your upcoming launch and encourage them to use the tags.
If you are willing to splurge some cash ahead of your store launch, you can also work with small-time influencers and pet owners to spread the word about your pet supplies business. Draft out the most suitable marketing channels for your online business.
Lastly, it is important to establish and maintain an online presence. Publishing a niche-related blog post once or twice a week works wonders for your online presence. Also, ensure you use niche-specific keywords across your store to boost your visibility across search engines.
Shopify pet store examples
GUNNER stands out as one of the most successful pet stores on Shopify. It offers a wide variety of heavy-duty kennels and crates for pets.
What makes this storefront stand out from other pet stores is that visitors or customers can see videos/images of how the kennels and crates are used. There are also reviews of how these kennels has saved the lives of many pets.
Customers can also choose kennels according to dog type, so there's something for dogs with phobias, waterfowl dogs, adventure or trail dogs, and even sports dogs. GUNNER also sells other accessories like kennel bowls, nameplates, fan kits, tie-down strap kits, chew kits, and pet beds.
PetCulture is a leading Australian brand and a one-stop shop for pet owners looking to purchase a wide range of pet-related items. These include dog food, cat food, cat little, dog grooming items, and the best treats.
This pet store is a joint venture between Woolworths Group and PetSure, which is Australia's leading provider of pet insurance and an innovator in the broader pet healthcare ecosystem. The goal of PetCulture is to ensure that pet owners have access to the best health and wellness products for their pets
One thing that makes this store stand out from others is that customers can easily shop for their dogs or cats on separate product pages, eliminating the struggle of having to choose from a range of cluttered pet products.
Pet lovers can also shop for products based on life stage, breed, breed size, specific brands, etc. The store also has a thriving blog that offers pet advice to dog or cat parents.
The idea behind Pupnaps was to ensure dogs across Australia live better, healthy lives through comfortable sleep. Hence, the store offers the Pupnaps Calming Dog bed to not only aid comfortable sleep but also improve sleep habits and tackle anxiety symptoms in dogs.
Customers are first attracted to a discount offer that encourages them to sign up.
Then customers are shown a wide variety of beds and why these beds are the right choice.
Free shipping offers, a 14-day free returns and exchange policy, and even a buy now pay later policy ensure that customers have various fulfillment options to pick from. The store also boasts strong reviews that are sure to convince any customer.
Other successful Shopify pet stores you can check out include Forthglade, YuMove, PrettyLitter, and Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. among others.
Starting a Shopify pet store isn't as hard as you think. You only need to carry out thorough market research for the pet supplies or services you want to offer.
Once that is done, you need a feasible business plan and reliable suppliers and you're on your way to opening and launching your store. You too can tap into the ever-growing pet supply industry by starting your pet business on the Shopify platform today!