The themes of this year’s conference were, ‘Growing the pet industry post-pandemic, tackling stray problems, The use of media maximise visibility and understanding pet nutrition,’ proved popular, attracting 120 delegates representing importers, manufacturers, exporters, pet specialty retailfounders, groomers, veterinarians and other pet service providers.  

 The conference was divided into ten main sessions over one day. 

Opening Address

MsLinda Hawke, Publisher of Creature Companion Magazine and Convener of IIPTF started by thanking the Indian pet industry for coming together. She shared recent instances of stray’s problems and realistic solutions to improve this situation. 

 She ran us through the organisation’s recent achievements. She highlighted the importance of spreading awareness amongst pet parents and be considerate to non-pet lovers. 

Keynote Address:

Mr. Shharat Sharma stated in his keynote address many through provoking questions. One of them was to go beyond cats and dogsas pets; inculcating compassion and tolerancein children through pet stories etc.

Indian Pet Food Market:

Indian Pet Food Market panel discussion included Dr. Shashank Sinha, CEO of Drools, Bharat Pittie, Director of Orange Pet Nutrition and Satinder Singh, General Manager of Royal Canin.  

 The discussion spanned over different aspects of pet food industry.

 Satinder Singh shared his belief that India is at its tipping point and that we need a lot of purposeful initiatives. 

 Bharat Pittie urgedbrands to reaching out to smaller towns to bridge the gap in demand and supply.

Dr. Shashank Sinha shed light on how marketing your product in India is different from marketing your product globally. He talked about factors like DINK (Double Income No Kids), more disposable income, and the government’s reforms that has helped this industry. A pet is no longer an urbane concept; even smaller towns have seen rise in pet population. 

Modern Veterinary Practice:

A panel of senior veterinarians- Dr. Dhananjay Bapat, President of PPAM(Pets Practitioners Association of Mumbai) INDIA, Dr. Makrand Chavan, Secretary of PPAM INDIA and Dr. Hitesh Swali, Treasurer of PPAM INDIA discussed on veterinary practice.

 Eminent panelists discussed improvements in vet clinics and inclusion of services like grooming in many centers.Education and availability of advanced technology and medicines have changed vet practices in India thus offering better quality of healthcare services to pet parents. 

Dr. Dhananjay Bapat said initially, going to a vet was restricted to only vaccinations and basic treatment. However, clinics now offer surgeries and advanced techniques. Pet parents are more aware of pet’s needs.

 Dr. Hitesh Swalitalked about the change in pet grooming. A few years ago, the haircut was the only thing, and zero cuts used to be a style. 

 Dr. Makrand Chavan categorized vet clinics into three categories. The first category is the clinic which offers in-patient care with 24/7 facility. The second category is multiple specialty clinics with multiple vets. The third category is single vet clinics.

 He also emphasized onthe need for technicians and paramedics for pets. In his opinion the government must establish vet nursing colleges. 

Feline Market in India:

Saquib Pathan, Founding President of FCI (Feline Club of India) apprised audience of the potential of cat market in India. Ratio between kitten vs buyers is 1:10, meaning that there are ten buyers for one kitten! Cats are slowly becoming a preferred pet choice. His presentation was filled with informative chats and statistics.

The FCI is present in more than 60 cities.

India to the World:

Bhupendra Khanalenlightened delegates on his journey of making Dogsee an international brand.

 On this occasion he launched DogseeYakatoy, Catsee Freeze Dried Treats and Dogsee Dry Shampoos Dr. Dhananjay Bapat, Dr. Hitesh Swali, and Dr. Makrand Chavan unveiled the products.

Know Your Investor’s Mind:

Nimisha Nagarsekar is from Sixth Sense Ventures and was invited to speak from the prospective of an investor.They have invested in JUSTDOGS®, India’s largest omni channel retailer and Dogsee.

 Some of the factors that weigh in when an investor is seeking to invest are 1) Resilience 2) Believe in much bootstrapping 3) Importance in building a solid team 4) The brand’s ability to build contacts. 

 In conclusion, she says investors are sounding boards but they would only invest if they share the same ethos. Experience helps in leveraging the business better. 

D2C Landscape:

Arjun Vaidya, Venture Investor of Verlinvest. He has made Dr. Vaidya’s India’s largest Ayurvedic brand online.

 He spoke about growing a brand digitally. He learned through his experience that one must “differentiate or die. A quality that D2C brands need is trust. Trust can be built in various ways, not just through social media. Members of the audience who sell pet products and rely on inventories should consider having micro warehouses in multiple locations. Consumers expect quick delivery. The micro warehouses will ensure timely delivery, which increases chances for repeat purchase and fosters a relationship with customers. 

Evolution of D2C in the Pet Industry:

Moderated by Kumar Parivesh, D2C Sales and Customer Experience Lead – Varun Sadana, Co-Founder of Supertails, Rashee Shah Kuchroo, Founder of Doggie Dabbas and Nishita Agarwal, Co-Founder of Papa Pawsome.

 This panel discussion focused on how brands should market and sell their products, Kumar posed questions to the panelists on topics ranging from sales strategies to social media presence to e-commerce and everything in between. 

 Nishita Agarwal described her journey: The creation of her brand came with her own set of challenges. She shared her learning about managing a brand online and offline.

 Varun Sadana shared his journey of growing Supertails and their thesis around marketing and targeting right audience.   

 Rashee Shah Kuchroo shared her experience of her brand using reels. She studied her audience’s behaviour and found that customers were interested in learning more about the brand, which worked in her brand’s favour. 

Pet Speciality Retail Challenges and Opportunities:

Ashish Anthony is the founder of JUSTDOGS®, and gave a presentation on the omnichannel strategy. Mr. Anothny’s example explained what omnichannel means – multiple channels coming together. Omni Channels have blurred the line between online and offline selling

New Trends in Pet Nutrition:

Rana Atheya is the founder of DogSpot meals. His presentation covered the changing trends in pet nutrition.

 The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Veterinarian Karen Shaw Becker has been the #1 New York Times Bestseller, which tells us that people are now becoming more aware that their pets are frequently falling sick and dying early, which can be prevented by making dietary changes. 

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