The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK pet supplies has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK pet supply retailers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK pet supply retailers has just been published. It covers the largest 11 pet supply retailers trading in the UK, including Pets at Home, Petplanet.co.uk, Jollyes- The Pet People, Pets & Friends, Pet Drugs Online, VioVet, Just for Pets, Monster Pet Supplies, Zooplus, Animed Direct, and petshop.co.uk.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other pet supply retailers to win brand exposure, drive traffic online, and even increase in-store footfall, where relevant. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Brands within the pet supplies space will be juggling huge volumes of products for a wide range of different animals and breeds. They’ll want to ensure potential customers can easily find what they need and aren’t met with dead ends if looking for specialist products.
We noted that, compared to many sectors within the ecommerce space, pet supply retailers have exceptionally well-maintained sites, with nine retailers returning 25 4xx error codes or fewer. Pets at Home are the exception to this strong performance, as we found 3,076 4xx errors in our crawl, representing a significant volume of dead ends potential customers could be encountering. This could be due to a recent site refresh for the brand, though they must ensure old pages are not still being linked to, and that effective redirects are in place.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. For pet owners looking for food and other supplies, they’ll want to access what they’re looking for quickly, especially when items are needed urgently.
Of our eleven pet supply retailers, only Zooplus are surpassing the benchmark ‘okay’ score of 50, scoring 52. We’re finding that brands across many sectors are struggling to hit this benchmark score and, as with domain authority, would recommend brands mainly use it as a way to compare themselves to competitors and gauge how much opportunity there is to improve. Monster Pet Supplies are at the bottom of the scale, with a score of 8. Monster Pet Supplies will need to ensure they’re providing a positive site experience for visitors, or else risking them turn elsewhere.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Brands in the pet supplies sector can look to collaborate with animal bloggers, and run pet breed based PR campaigns to gain exposure and backlinks.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. DAs for pet supply retailers range from 73 (for Pets at Home) to 27 (for Just for Pets). Just for Pets, and other brands towards the lower end of this scale, will want to ensure they have an effective digital PR strategy to try and build their backlink profile and domain authority.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. We’ve seen organic traffic fall for retailers across many of the sectors we specialise in, mostly in response to the cost of living crisis, as consumers cut back on essential items. For pet suppliers, they may feel this impact by pet owners opting for less specialist products, that may be available in their local supermarket for a lower cost.
All eleven pet supply retailers saw falls in organic traffic year on year. The biggest fall was seen by Pet Planet, who lost 61% of their traffic from mobile and 55% of traffic from desktop. Though all retailers are losing traffic in similar levels, Pet Planet must ensure they are not losing traffic to their competitors in a limited pool of customers.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Pet supply retailers could look to ‘reviews’ and ‘people also ask’ results, in order to build trust with potential customers and help educate them directly from the SERP.
‘Reviews’ are the most used universal search result, with the highest volume being achieved by VioVet, who have secured a total of 17,300 ‘reviews’ results. Despite securing the highest volume of traffic and highest DA, Pets at Home are only achieving the third most Universal Search results. However, Pets at Home are appearing for the biggest variety, including the highest volume of ‘people also ask’ appearances, indicating strong longtail keyword performance.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Pet supply retailers can look to their range of products for inspiration and guidance on longtail keyword strategy, including key terms such as ‘next day delivery’ and product weights to appear for users showing high-purchase intent.
As indicated by their strong performance in ‘people also ask’ results, Pets at Home are ranking for the most longtail keywords, appearing in the top three positions for 27,210. Although Animed and Pets & Friends are ranking for similar volumes of longtail keywords overall, Animed are appearing in the top three for 612 longtail keywords – three times that of Pets & Friends who are ranking in the top three for 212. Animed are also appearing for a further 2,823 in positions 4-10, showing great potential to improve their top-three position portfolio further.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019. Pet supply retailers can use Facebook ads to drive awareness of low-traffic bricks and mortar locations, along with generate visibility on key product lines.
We’ve included examples of Pets & Friends recent Facebook ads below. Pets & Friends have used Facebook ads to drive seasonal product awareness during the hot weather and have also made use of the carousel format to grab user attention for a number of pet concerns.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Generating informational content will help with longtail keyword performance (and ‘people also ask’ results), and pet supply retailers can look to include shareable content such as infographics to make on-site content engaging on social media.
Meta is the favoured social platform of ten pet supply retailers, the exception being Zooplus who have secured more appearances on Pinterest. Targeting Pinterest is a smart strategy we’d usually advise for brands in the home and fashion spaces, due to its visual nature and shoppability, but with the platform also carrying a generally more affluent audience than other social channels, a strong performance here can prove profitable for a brand in any space.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Pet supply retailers should ensure their site is accessible for all as vision deficiency does not exclude pet ownership. In fact, pet supply retailers are in the unique position that at least some of their customers will be shopping for guide dogs or other assistance animals!
Generally speaking, pet supply retailers are performing reasonably well when it comes to accessibility. However, with 1,727 alerts, Animed are the unfortunate exception. These alerts include having very small text, redundant title texts, and redundant links – the latter two potentially causing barriers for visitors who use screen readers to read the site.
Q2 2023 winners leader board
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 pet supply retailers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Get the full 80-page Q2 2023 report
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.