How Pet Retailers Can Distinguish Themselves from Online Puppy Scams

by Lisa Fimberg on September 8, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a surge of puppies being purchased and adopted.  For the first time in years, many pet stores and breeders are in short supply of dogs.

With the high demand and relatively short supply for more puppies, the number of scams or illegitimate puppy breeders are proliferating, particularly on-line.  Most consumers are savvy enough to avoid these online scams, but sometimes the emotional desire to own a puppy can outweigh rational thinking.

This demand for puppies can be a boon to pet retailers because pet parents can meet, purchase, and take home the puppy of their dreams.

How Pet Retailers Can Distinguish Themselves from On-line Scams:

1. Promote Your American Kennel Club Affiliation

Consumers find great value in knowing they are working with a business that provides the AKC or Canine Partners program package through the reputable American Kennel Club.  Not only does this affiliation allow pet parents to have their new puppy properly listed, but they are joining one of the most renown and respected organizations.  The AKC affiliation will allow dogs and their owners to become part of the nationwide AKC voice championing canine health research, search-and-rescue teams, acceptable care and conditions for dog kennels and responsible dog ownership.

2. Promote your BBB account

Whether you are an instore or online retailer, linking your BBB account directly to your website is a sure-fire way to ensure that consumers can validate your business.  The BBB offers consumers 100% credibility that your business has been vetted by the most trusted consumer protection brand in the nation.

3. Encourage Credit Card Transactions

Pet parents may be more skeptical now than ever of putting money down on a pet they have never met.  For pet retailers who are promoting online sales or deposits, make sure to provide secure credit card transaction opportunities.  Requesting direct deposit, money order or wire transfer has been deemed “a red flag” by numerous reporting agencies and may deter consumers away from your site.

4. Offer a Warranty

Offering a warranty can be incredibly helpful and comforting to the consumer.  Not only do they have peace of mind if some unexpected health issue arises with their puppy, but promotion of the warranty online provides additional reassurance that they consumer is dealing with a legitimate business. Having the medical records and the requirement to see a vet within the first 30 days of purchase will give consumers the additional assurance and comfort that their puppy has been well cared for.

5. As able: Advertise Appointments

Even though many traditional retail stores closed during the pandemic, pet retailers have been one of the exceptions and have been allowed to stay open.  This is extremely beneficial since pet owners who want to purchase a puppy can meet and play with the puppy that they are interested in buying.  Not only can they physically see the puppy, but pet retailers will have all the documentation to provide the customer with the puppy’s background.

6. Specific Breed & Request Available: Online previewing is still an option

When a customer wants to buy a puppy, they can still go to your website and see if the specific breed they want is available.   Once they choose their potential puppy, they can make the appointment to meet the puppy.  Many customers are looking for specific breeds and will not make a “random” trip to a location without knowing if the pup they are looking for is available.

Keep in mind, consumers are asking more questions prior to purchase than ever.  Let our team of experts help you craft the right campaigns and field consumer calls to help you stay focused on the core of your business.  Contact your Success Team Rep for more information today.

Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Distinguish Themselves from Online Puppy Scams