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InnoPet Sells Dog, Cat Food Online, Via Phone

Available only by prescription until two years ago, InnoPet Brands Corp.'s dog and cat food now can be purchased online or via a toll-free telephone number.

InnoPet, Fort Lauderdale, FL, developed the direct channels to satisfy demand not met by the sale of InnoPet Veterinarian Formula in 7,500 supermarkets in 20 states in the eastern United States.

“Offering InnoPet directly to the consumer gives us the ability to instantly expand our marketing efforts across the entire United States,'' Marc Duke, InnoPet chairman and CEO, said at the June 5 announcement of the new channels. “We are setting the stage for global product sales with minimal start-up time and cost.''

InnoPet's Preferred Pet Food Plan provides home delivery with volume discounts, eliminating the need to haul heavy bags from the supermarket.

“Considering the weight of pet food, once people have gotten the food and the dog loves it, it makes sense to have it delivered on a regular basis,'' said John Bieber, vice president of marketing at InnoPet.

The launch was driven in part by calls to InnoPet's customer service line requesting information on where to find the pet food. Initial product promotions have generated a 12.5 percent response rate.

“We know the primary reason they try it is because the dog likes it,'' Bieber said.

More than 800,000 packages containing samples of pet food, coupons, a bounce-back survey card and materials promoting the Web site (www.innopet.com) and toll-free number (887/InnoPet) were distributed through direct mail and in-store displays.

Mail pieces were sent and will continue to be sent to lists of pet owners gleaned from license registrations and responses to pet offers. The bounce-back cards ask owners for information about themselves, their dogs and cats and where they purchase their pet food. Respondents receive another sample and get their information entered into a proprietary database for future marketing purposes. InnoPet will not offer it for rental.

InnoPet also collects information through its “Partners in Pet Food” program with The Pet Savers Foundation, Inc./North Shore Animal League, Port Washington, NY. Both organizations are supplied with food, product information and coupons that they pass along to people who adopt at their shelters. InnoPet, the sole food provider to both groups, reimburses shelters based on their quarterly adoptions and receives names of adopters in return.

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