E-Commerce Business Ideas for Dog Lovers
Before the pandemic hit, being greeted by my dog at the front door when I got home from work was my favourite part of the day. Since I’ve been working from home, I get to have cuddles and love throughout the day! My dog is in heaven, but I love the extra time we get to spend together.
Which got me to thinking – could I turn my love for this fluff into a workable business idea? Online sales have skyrocketed in the past year. So I did a bit of research on e-commerce business ideas for dog lovers in 2021.
Why Choose a Dog E-Commerce Business?
If you’re looking for a new business venture, going into something dog-related is ideal. Not only does it mean that you get to surround yourself with cute doggy stuff all the time, but the pet market is booming at the moment.
Dog adoption stats have increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. With many people being isolated from others, we’ve bonded with our pets in a whole new way.
Along with this increase in people who now have dogs comes an increase in dog-related sales. From dog food to toys to bedding, pup parents are making sure their furry friends have everything they need and more.
The other good news is that it can all be done online. Whatever you’re selling, whether you’ve got inventory or work with digital products, there’s no need for renting shop space and employing others, unless you want to.
E-Commerce Business Ideas for Dog Lovers
If you love to bake and you love your pooch, then opening a dog bakery might be the right venture for you! Be sure to do your research on what dogs can and can’t eat, and then you can get to work crafting delicious doggy treats.
It’s up to you what exactly you want to offer. Packaged dog treats (that are healthy as well as tasty) will go down well with pup parents and their pooches.
Freshly baked dog treats are always a winner, but might do better in a brick-and-mortar store. If you want to go this route, you can even have a sit-down doggy eatery that offers fresh dog pastries (and small treats for humans!)
You can also branch into specialized offerings, like calming treats or CBD-infused baked goods to relieve pain or anxiety.
Let’s be honest. Even if we don’t see our dogs as our kids, there are few things cuter than seeing a pup in a bowtie, an adorable hat, or a little jacket.
A dog apparel business covers a wide range of items, such as:
- Winter jackets
- Summer jackets
- Dog booties
- Warm hats
- Summer hats
There’s something for everyone (or every pup). If you can find a supplier and set up a dropshipping store, this could be a lucrative option.
You can also extend this to human apparel that’s dog-related. For example, t-shirts or hats with dog-related phrases or pictures on them.
Are you a talented artist? Dog art is a thing! There are a few different ways you could use your skill to create a business.
You can offer hand-drawn pet pawtraits or digital art, based on existing photos. Simply get the client to submit a photo with their payment, and you send them your artwork a few weeks later.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, offer something unique like your pet as a pirate, lord or lady or popular TV character!
If you’re a photographer, you could start a local business doing dog photography. Everyone wants adorable photos of their fur babies, and if you have a talent and can take unique, eye-catching pics, this could be a great option.
Technically, you could turn this idea into products for humans and for dogs. Some ideas could include keyrings, dog tags, even earring with your dog’s face on them! You’ll need to find a printer who can place dog photos onto these products, but it could be a popular niche.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could do doggy bling. Blingify a collar, harness or leash by adding custom designs or even something as simple as glitter. You could extend this to things like dog bowls and bedding as well.
If you like to keep up with the latest dog fashion trends,this could be the business for you!
Is your dog a picky eater? Have you had to fight to figure out how to feed them something they love that’s still healthy? If you have the time and inclination, using what you’ve learned to make healthy, homemade dog food could be a huge opportunity.
People have become a lot more critical of what their dogs ingest. Raw feeding has become popular, and even many those who don’t want to feed raw have made the switch to fresh dog food.
Chances are you’ll need to stick to selling local, as fresh food can’t be shipped too far. But if you’ve got health-conscious dog owners around you, it could be a good option.
Every dog needs toys! This is another excellent choice for a dropshipping business. There’s a large variety of different toys, such as squeaky toys, hardcore chew toys, cuddly toys, puzzle toys and even electronic toys.
They can ship to anywhere, so it’s a good way to take your business international. It’s also a good base to expand upon. If the toy business becomes popular, it’s easy to start including apparel or bedding as well.
Dog Digital Downloads
“Digital downloads” is a very broad topic, but it’s a super easy way to start if you want extremely low start-up costs.
Not sure what digital downloads consist of? Here are a few dog-related examples:
- E-books on training, nutrition or particular dog breeds
- Training/feeding videos or dog-related courses
- Dog audio files (calming, anti-boredom, etc)
- Dog stock photography
- Sympathy cards for losing a pet
- Training material
- Checklists (eg. for the dog sitter, etc)
The beauty of digital downloads is that you can create them on your own computer at no cost except your time. You create it once, and the exact same digital file can sell again and again. All the customer does is pay and download a copy of the file.
Dog tech is huge! Whether it’s dog safety, exercise or play, there’s technology to help. Everyone wants stuff that’s more convenient, more fun, and a novelty.
Some hot dog tech items right now include things like:
- Automatic ball throwers
- Microchipped dog doors
- Dog wearables (smart leashes, harnesses, etc)
- Cameras and microphones for dog-human communication
- Smart toys and games
- GPS dog trackers
- Smart dog crates
These are slightly more high-ticket items than things like apparel or regular toys, so there’s good potential for earning.
Personalized Pet Stuff
People love personalised stuff and even more so when it comes to their beloved pets. You can personalise almost anything with people’s dog pictures or names.
For example, customised items for pets could include things like bowls or beds with the pup’s names on them, or even apparel with their names sewn into it.
But you can take it a step further and create human apparel for pup owners who love their dogs. You can put a personal pup picture on a shirt, a hat, a bag, a bedspread, a cell phone cover, a notebook cover… You name it, you can customise it!
It may require a little more prep work than items that are just standard and don’t have the customisation option. But everyone loves something that’s specific to them (and their pooch) so it’s an excellent option that should be fairly successful.
How to Market Yourself
If you have an online store, it makes sense that the best way to market yourself is also online. There are many ways to advertise your own business online and none of them are as complicated as they may seem!
Create an SEO-Friendly Website
Your first step is creating a website that’s SEO-optimised. SEO—search engine optimisation—isn’t everything, but having a website that’s SEO-friendly will help people find you more easily when they’re searching for stuff on Google.
Get on Social Media
The next step is social media. Don’t neglect this one! It’s invaluable in today’s digital world. Facebook is still one of the best platforms for e-commerce and engaging with customers, so start a business page and share valuable content.
Share Valuable Content
What’s valuable content, you ask? Well, you want to share stuff that your target audience will find helpful and interesting. It’s crucial that you don’t just use your social media to promote your products.
Valuable content means things like:
- How-To Guides
- Insider Tips and Tricks
- New Information
- New Things to Try
- Little-Known Facts
You can share cute, funny stuff too, but the majority of your posts should offer something useful to your readers. Check out this 30 days of social media sharing calendar.
Try to stick to visual content (slide shows, photos with short captions, and so on) rather than walls of text. These are much more engaging – most people avoid reading long paragraphs.
Ready to Go?
Are you ready to get started on one of these e-commerce business ideas for dog lovers? There’s nothing quite as satisfying as mixing your work and your passion for something together, and the dog industry is definitely a worthwhile place to put your effort right now.
There’s a wealth of information online if you’re interested in starting up your own online e-commerce store. All you need is a bit of time and patience, and a lot of love for dogs!
Mike Powell has been working with dogs since he was a child. As an adult, he writes about all dog-related things at Dog Embassy, where he hopes to encourage other pup parents to make healthier choices for their furry friends.