Irving, TX – October 1, 2020.
COVID-19 continues to have far reaching and long-lasting effects on how we live, work, learn and how pet specialty retailers manage their business to meet the needs of pet parents everywhere.
Buying shows have been a staple in the independent pet industry, helping local retailers connect with new vendors and learn about the latest products from trusted brands. Animal Supply Company (ASC) retailers always look forward to their in-person area events and, even as event venues remain closed, the company knew they had to find a way to provide this service.
Resolving that the shows must go on, ASC transformed showroom floors into virtual buying shows across the country, offering a new approach for retailers and brands to connect and explore the latest products. The result? Attendance increased by more than 20% across the three virtual shows held to date.
“We knew we had to step-up and find a way to replicate the live show look and feel, but do so virtually from a computer screen,” said Matthew Roach, Senior Director– Digital Commerce at ASC. “It’s one way that we can help our partners evolve to best serve their customers and help ensure pets are happy, healthy and safe, even during this unprecedented time.”
The virtual platform allows retailers to shop around the clock when it’s most convenient, giving them more time to checkout booths they might have missed on a physical showroom floor.
“This is the coolest show I have attended. Although I miss my hugs from my people, my feet don’t hurt, and I can spend more time in each booth without interruption.” — Terri Nichols, City Dog Market
Some attendees hit every booth, which ASC encouraged through a virtual treasure hunt. The game, along with prize drawings, helped drive engagement and give retailers the opportunity to win giveaways from tablets to flat screen TVs.
“Our team found the Animal Supply Virtual Shows to be a great opportunity to reconnect with our retail partners. The platform enabled us to extend strong discounts, showcase new innovation, and review tools designed to drive consumers to independent pet.” — Matt Wilson, FirstMate
While nothing can replace the in-person experience, the new platform has opened many doors for ASC and its partners. ASC has more virtual shows lined up in late 2020 and early 2021. Though it does plan to bring back in-person shows when it is safe to do so, virtual shows are here to stay!
About Animal Supply Company®
Animal Supply Company is the national leader in Local Everywhere® pet food and supplies distribution serving retailers throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Animal Supply Company’s mission is to share our passion for animals through trusted partnerships that connect the brands and customers we serve to those who love pets. We envision a world where every pet is happy, healthy, and safe, and we work through our teammates, customers, and vendors to realize this goal. Animal Supply Company operates 18 facilities, of which 10 offer eFulfillment, and employs approximately 1,000 teammates. The Company has 7,000+ independent retail customers who operate more than 15,000 retail outlets distributing pet food and supplies.