Special Delivery for Man’s Best Friend

Anthony Mosavi
March 19, 2020

Looking for ways to keep your dogs happy and busy while at home alone? How about a monthly surprise box full of dog toys and treats! 

Enter BARK, an innovative direct-to-consumer startup company that produces products for dogs and their owners. BARK delivers a box with treats, toys and chews to dogs owners once a month. It is a service that speaks directly to pet owners' great love and desire to treat and spoil their pets.

BARK finds itself in an exploding pet care market. According to Global Market Insights, the pet care products market was valued at over USD 55,763 million in 2018. The new research study published by the global market research film projects that the Global Pet Care Market will surpass USD 269.9 billion by 2025.

Pet industry trends

  • Pet ownership is increasing, especially amongst millennials and Generation Z. 
  • The pet industry is characterized by a direct-to-consumer trend, where niche product designers sell directly to customers rather than through big retailers.
  • Premium pet foods are becoming the norm - pet owners are rejecting traditional dog food for more healthy, natural food products.
  • The demand for pet treats is rising at the same rate as the demand for healthier pet food.

BARK’s winning strategy 

According to CB Insights, BARK’s success lies in the fact that the company focuses on just one demographic and just one product: dog lovers and the BarkBox.

The founders targeted millennials. It is well-known that the birth rate among twenty-somethings are very low and this demographic is also not interested in marriage. What do well-to-do, single professionals who are not interested in a relationship or marriage, spend their money on? You guessed it - their pets, luxury goods, and traveling.

CB Insights quotes Gale, a consumer insights consultancy, that has found 44% of millennials see their pets as “starter children”. And they love to treat their “children”.

BarkBox founder Matt Meeker, himself a young pet owner, spotted a business opportunity while shopping for his dog. He found he was confronted with a bewildering variety of products, not knowing what to choose. That’s when he came up with the idea to provide a box that already contains treats and toys, eliminating all the confusion.

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BARK is not the only subscription service for pet products, but it is the biggest and has been growing since 2011 when the company was founded by Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin and Carly Strife.

Since then, BARK has served more than 2 million dog homes, and more than 600K dogs received BARK toys each month. The company has over 7.5 million followers on social media.

To cap it all, BARK enjoys a 96% customer experience satisfaction rating.

Moving beyond subscriptions 

The team at BARK realized that some owners want to see and feel the physical product before they commit to spending their hard-earned money. So BARK formed a retail partner network, Target being one member, where dogs and their owners can go shopping. Other nationwide retailers that stock BARK products are Bluestone Lane, Amazon and Urban Outfitters. Through its retail partner network, BARK has been able to expand its customer base beyond subscriptions. 

In addition, the company has an e-commerce site, BarkShop.com, where anyone can find their products online.

The fact that BARK’s products are not only available via subscriptions has ensured that the company has not suffered the same fate as some companies in the retail industry that depend solely on subscriptions for revenue. 

With a business model that goes beyond subscriptions, BARK has pinpointed a target market that was ready for a fun product delivered once a month like a gift packet, helping young pet owners to have healthy, happy dogs.

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