Just For Pets - Pet health center

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Just For Pets Pty Ltd, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Company Description:Just For Pets (JFP) is an Australian-owned buying and marketing group representing 65 independent Australian pet retailers. Revenue is derived from membership fees and commissions on centralised purchasing, from which members gain supplier rebates. Founded in 2009 by CEO Karen Justice, JFP employs 6 people and is currently a finalist in a number of leadership & innovation award categories.
Nomination Category:Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Best New Product or Service of the Year - Consumer Services

Nomination Title: The Pet Health Centre - Saving Just For Pets from Extinction

Describe for the judges the nominated product or service, including its features, functions, benefits, and performance to date (up to 525 words). Include in this section the date since the beginning of July last year on which the product or service was introduced to the marketplace:

Karen and marketing strategist Amanda Blennerhassett considered an industry insight that post-GFC, consumers spend more on their pets but are more discretionary about vet visits. It suggested a gap in pet health advice.

Karen then relayed her earlier career experience as a Baby Health Nurse, working in pharmacy where she provided free expert advice to young mums, which built strong loyalty and sales for the pharmacy.

It prompted the question: “What if a Just For Pets store became the step before the vet, as a pharmacy is before the doctor?”

The pair developed a new Just For Pets ‘Pet Health Centre’ (PHC). This world-first educational retail concept offered benefits to all key stakeholders:

• Pet Owners: A free 15-minute, six-point pet health check from an in-store ‘pet expert’ to educate them about their pet’s wellbeing.
• Stores: A mechanism to showcase their point of difference, increase store traffic, sales and shopper loyalty.
• Specialist Brands:
- Tiered sponsorship opportunities that enable:
• Core ranging and allocations
• Sales growth
• Forecasting of stock and rebates
• Promotional opportunities including JFP’s triannual ‘Petalogue’
- Shopper education about complex topics
- Defense against corporate private labels.
• JFP:
- A national group retail co-branding platform
- A unique, authentic point of difference
- A strong value proposition for stores and suppliers; enabling long-term contract negotiation.

It represented a win-win-win-win for everybody!

The pilot – proving success.

In April 2014 JFP kicked off a four-month pilot in four stores, representing different shopper demographics and operating styles.

The pitch – inspiring an industry.

JFP presented the PHC Pilot results to its top 20 suppliers in October 2014. Companies like Hills, Mars and Bayer were so inspired they committed $315,000 to co-fund the national rollout.

That included three additions:

1. A sophisticated automated sales and marketing system powered by pet health check data, creating a platform for targeted educational, promotional, e-commerce and loyalty-driving campaigns.
2. The JFP Academy; an online advanced training portal with curricula developed by veterinarians. It strictly delineates the role of pet expert from veterinarian.
3. A consumer website.

The launch.

With much selling-in to stores, tight cash flow and a few hiccups, the PHC launched from November 2014 to the first 40 stores across Australia.

Store sales: the power of free education.
Increase basket shop from $56 (store average) by 20%.
• Pilot results showed 92% higher basket shop after a pet health check, reaching $108.
• Since national rollout, the strongest stores generate basket shops of $400+ (+600%).
• One store determined their average incremental sale is $130 by offering a pet health check after customers made their regular purchases.

Increase store turnover by 10%
Average turnover per store increased by 24.7%, reaching $2.52 million (Apr 15) from $2.02 million (Oct 13).
• Pilot showed many owners impulse spend after a ’fun outing’ with their pet.

Trade shoppers up to premium brands (also better for pet health):
Shopper research showed:

• As 51% of registrants shopped supermarkets (44% share of trade), the PHC helps drive total category value by trading up shoppers to premium brands.
• 37% were willing to try new brands
• 28% may buy more often
• 22% would be willing to try more premium brands.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the team that developed the nominated new product or service (up to 125 words):

I’m a registered nurse, turned pet store owner, turned CEO. I love animals and grew up with a menagerie at my grandparents’ wildlife sanctuary. My passion for nursing began when their dog was badly injured. The vet had no assistant and, aged 12, I helped him conduct life-saving surgery.

At 17, I commenced studying nursing and for 18 years, I worked as a child and family health nurse, including an advisory role in a pharmacy that I eventually managed.

I purchased a pet shop in 2005, which I sold after purchasing the national pet retail buying group that’s become Just For Pets in 2008. I served on the board of the Pet Industry Association of Australia and learn about business and marketing on the job.