Saturday, October 16, 2010

Natural-y Good Marketing

As the small animal specialist at my PetCo, I am in charge of a lot of the products and presentation in my department. I've noticed that PetCo has slowly been changing their packaging for many of our brand items. Before I thought too much about it, all I knew was that the new packaging looks much more professional. We are changing from brightly colored, mostly bright yellow and white boxes to a toned down green with brown accents. Even the pictures on the boxes have gotten a makeover. They're changing from a picture of an empty cage on a white background to a fully furnished cage with animals in it that is set up in a modern looking house.

Seeing the two boxes side by side, because we still have some of the old products, all I could think was how much better the shelves looked now. Changing the packaging was a very smart move for PetCo because the old packaging looked like it was for a toddler's toy. The new packaging is modern, professional, and appealing.

But why is it so much more appealing to me? This was the question I hadn't been able to answer.

I didn't think twice about this change until I was setting up a new endcap display in my department. I was taking down the traditionally recommended Kaytee Lab Fiesta seed mix and putting new Kaytee Nature's Benefits in its place.

As I was setting up the display, I found myself wishing that there was a mouse and rat version so that I could feed my rats the new Nature's Benefits food. I even started looking at the ingredients for the hamster/gerbil one and wondering if I could just buy that for my rats. At that point, I realized something. I have never thought of giving my rats something that wasn't made for them. Sure, it won't hurt them, but it might not be exactly what they need.

So why now? What was it about this new product that made me want to drop my old food and buy this one?

Confused, I made up my mind to articulate my thought process. First of all, it was natural. Second, it looked natural. Natural is good. I want to feed my pets natural food. I don't buy into natural foods for myself, so why would I for my pets? Where did this mentality come from?

I didn't even know it was natural- just because it's called Nature's Benefits and comes in a cardboard box doesn't mean it's not the same junk in the brightly colored bags. (And seed mixes are junk, high in fat and low in protein- aways feed a block diet. )

What did Kaytee do to make their products more appealing? They changed their packaging. They took advantage of the new natural ideal. Customers are now looking for simplicity, naturalness, and authenticity in packaging (Food Production daily).

Throughout my whole store, packaging is changing to reflect this interest in natural products. From eco-friendly doggie cleanup bags to toys made out of recycled materials, Petco's new line of items are dubbed "Planet Petco."

And it's not just Petco. Sunchips come in a 100% compostable bag (for now, at least). Although the first compostable chip bag was fromcompostable packaging. Yogurt cups are being made from corn.

Who knows where this whole natural movement is going. But for now, I'm glad I'm aware of these new marketing strategies so that I know why I'm really attracted to a product and I can use better judgement before impulse buying because something appears healthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment