Winning in The Pet Industry: How Ratings and Reviews Can Help?

The devoted pet owners love their four-legged furry friends, and they are willing to spend big money to keep them happy and healthy. 

From finding the yummiest treats to spoiling them with a fun new squeaky toy to finding a cozy spot for them to sleep, they’re on a constant lookout for top-notch pet products.

The pet industry is booming in Canada. It’s worth about $4.2 billion now and is expected to grow to $5.3 billion by the year 2025(1)*.

From 2020 to 2025, the annual growth rate is a robust 7.2%, indicating it is a good investment opportunity(2)*.

But let’s face it: with so many choices out there, how can businesses stand out and win over customers?

The answer is ratings and reviews!

Over half of Canadians think that ratings and reviews are essential for all types of pet products, making customer feedback a key element in promoting these items. 

A study by Caddle showed impressive results: without using paid ads, there was a 67% boost in the visibility of a pet brand’s website due to consumer ratings and reviews(1)*. 

This resulted in a significant 140% jump in how often the brand appeared in unpaid search results, proving that reviews greatly enhance online visibility and recognition. 

Additionally, clicks from organic (unpaid) searches went up by 80%, clearly linking customer feedback with increased interest in the brand. 

These stats highlight the importance of ratings and reviews for pet-related businesses looking to stand out in a competitive market.

ratings and reviews
You might wonder why ratings and reviews have such a strong impact. Let’s explore this.

More than half of Canadians, about 56%, consider ratings and reviews important when they decide on pet-related purchases. In this emotionally driven market, they serve as quick indicators of trust.  

In a world where time is a luxury, they are the digital word-of-mouth that helps pet owners navigate the endless sea of products and services. 

An honest review from a fellow pet parent can be the deciding factor that wins a customer’s business. 

For brand owners, leveraging ratings and reviews is no longer optional – it’s a must-do if they want to stay competitive. 

To help you understand better, let’s examine the current pet industry landscape, identify common challenges, and discuss ways to overcome these challenges. 

This includes influencing consumer buying choices through trust-building product reviews and using customer feedback to enhance products and services.

The Pet Industry Landscape in Canada

A survey in 2020 found that 58% of Canadians have at least one pet and see it as a family member, showing the trend towards humanizing pets. 

Pet lovers deeply care for their pets, which has helped the pet industry grow substantially. From 2020 to 2025, the annual growth rate is a robust 7.2%, indicating it is a good investment opportunity(2)*. 

We see this expansion in the variety of products, such as food, toys, clothes, and accessories for cats and dogs. Pet owners have a wide selection to choose from, which reflects their high demand for quality and innovation.

In Canada, people are ready to treat their pets, with about 20% planning to spend more on pet products in six months. Pet health and happiness are top priorities for owners. This leads to a more robust demand for premium food and pet care services.

Caddle’s surveys also revealed where pet owners like to shop most. They look for discounts on pet food but visit speciality stores for toys and clothing. 

Walmart is very popular for wet food; dry food is bought chiefly at specialty and discount grocery stores. Overall, Walmart has a large portion of this market, as detailed in the infographic provided.

representation of top store types for pet categories, including wet & dry, dog’s clothes, accessories & toys etc.

Despite rapid growth, the pet industry does face challenges that affect retailers’ success. We’ll look closely at these common issues next.

Critical Challenges for Pet Industry Retailers

Shifting Buyer Habits: 

The pet care market is seeing quick changes in what customers want. Nowadays, many pet owners prefer products that are both environmentally friendly and ethically made.

A Nielsen Company survey found that 72% of pet owners would spend more on products that are good for the planet.

Higher Demand for Stock and Fast Delivery:

Pet store owners are facing more pressure to keep up with stock requests, including specific items, sizes, and colors that their customers want.

Keeping track of inventory and predicting what customers will buy is challenging due to the wide variety of pet goods available. As more people shop online, pet stores need to be creative in managing timely and effective home deliveries.

Around-the-Clock Shopping Needs:

People research and shop for pets any time of day or night, not just during store opening hours. When stores are closed, potential pet parents can’t ask staff questions or visit to check out animals or products themselves.

Retailers must find a way to connect with shoppers around the clock, meeting the expectation of immediate and round-the-clock service without costing too much.

Competition from online retailers:

The pet care market is getting more challenging, with more companies starting up and existing ones growing their pet-related products and services.

Now that pet shopping is more online, it’s easy to reach customers, but there’s also a lot more competition.

To get noticed and bring in visitors to their online pages, stores have to make sure they present their content in the best way possible. This is crucial for online sales, where many shops compete for the same customers.

Brick-and-mortar pet stores are facing a big challenge from online sellers offering lower prices. Even though more people are going back to shopping in physical stores, there’s a clear trend of shoppers using both online and offline stores.

Right now, nearly 4 in 10 buyers shop this way. In the pet industry, not only are existing stores moving into the online world, but new online-only stores are popping up, too.

As shoppers keep wanting to shop across different channels, retailers need to know what customers want in each channel.

So, how can you get ahead with your Pet Care Marketing Strategies?

Shifting to Online Platforms for a Seamless Omnichannel Experience

Omnichannel means giving customers a seamless shopping experience, whether they buy in-store, online, or through an app. 

For pet stores, this approach is becoming vital. It gives customers the convenience to shop how they want—online, face-to-face, or with home delivery. 

Online sales now make up 21.7% of the pet retail market, and it’s growing competitive. 

To stand out, pet businesses should polish their online stores and perhaps specialize in just one or two types of pet products. Being an expert in a specific area can set a brand apart.

To better serve customers and integrate in-store and online shopping, businesses should update their loyalty programs. Pet store owners must meet customer needs, primarily as economic changes affect spending habits. 

Although in-person shopping is popular in Canada, an excellent online shopping experience is essential, too, especially for those who like to shop both ways. Customers often order wet (38%) and dry dog food (34%) online for in-store pickup. 

However, for home delivery, pet clothes (48%) and toys (60%) are more popular. People are less likely to have pet food delivered – only 20% for wet dog food, 32% for dry dog food, and 35% for dry cat food.

graphic representation of online options used for pet categories - wet dog food, dry dog food, dry cat food

For any business operating online, online reviews are crucial, as they greatly influence the company’s ability to attract customers and keep a good reputation.

Online Reviews are Key to Your Online Store’s Success

Online reviews play a crucial role in your online store. They can significantly boost your sales by providing customers with positive feedback from others, which builds a loyal customer base who support you and your products. Here are the reasons why online reviews are vital:

  1. Boost sales.

When shoppers see that other customers have had good experiences with a product or service, it encourages them to make a purchase. This is because people often rely on the opinions of others to help decide if something is worth buying. 

Reviews can be much more convincing than regular adverts as they come from fellow consumers and provide fundamental insights into the shopping experience.

  1. Build Trust.

The online market for pet care was valued at about $23 billion in 2022 and is expected to nearly double to $45.6 billion by 2030, growing at an average rate of 8.92% per year. 

With so many pet brands out there, it’s hard to know which ones are dependable and produce good-quality products. 

When you can’t physically check a product, customer reviews are precious. Reviews can help build a business’s credibility online, mainly if there are many positive remarks about the product’s quality and the company’s service. 

Companies with customer reviews are trusted 63% more, making customers more likely to purchase from them.

  1. Boost your search engine visibility.

Most businesses aim to appear at the top of search engine results. Achieving this is often a time-consuming process, but customer reviews can help effortlessly. 

Customer reviews routinely include product names—keywords that tie back to your business online—making your business more likely to show in relevant searches and alongside positive feedback.

  1. Help customers choose products.

Shopping online can be more challenging, with customers spending significant time examining products, reading reviews, and comparing alternatives before making a purchase.

Reviews play a crucial role by giving shoppers a clearer understanding of the product’s attributes, such as material, size, and form. For instance, an item that appears too tiny in pictures might actually be the right size, according to customer feedback, which could reassure hesitant buyers.

  1. Solve Problems from Feedback.

It’s a fact: not every review will be glowing. But that’s okay. Mistakes happen, and customer feedback can spotlight areas for improvement. Some negative reviews could come from misunderstandings or frustrated customers.

However, if many negative reviews share the same issues, there’s likely something you need to fix. 

For instance, if 15 reviews compliment your products but criticize a problematic checkout process, it’s probably time to make buying from you more accessible and faster.

Remember, negative reviews have turned 94% of shoppers away from a business. So, addressing these common complaints can significantly help your business.

How To Find Success

The pet industry is growing fast. Pet businesses need to sell an omnichannel approach and improve their online shopping by using customer ratings and reviews. 

By keeping up with what consumers want and making the most of content created by users, pet businesses can do well and evolve with pet owners’ needs.


Caddle understands that products without reviews or with only a few can turn customers away because it looks like hardly anyone has bought them or the brand needs to be well-known. 

However, gathering enough good reviews quickly to help a product succeed takes a lot of work. 

That’s where Ask Caddle comes in.

Caddle offers a solution by sending out sample products to its community of pet owners who are interested in natural and organic foods. 

These people then write detailed and helpful reviews. Better reviews like these benefit brands and are also valuable to retailers, who rely on the quick collection of numerous reviews to boost sales.

Caddle also helps brands gather feedback before launching new items, which means products are well-received from the start. 

With many high-quality reviews collected and shared with retailers, and by improving products based on customer feedback and engaging with buyers, brands can stand out in the busy pet food market.

  1. Source: Caddle report on Ratings & Reviews | April 7-10, 2021 | n = 1,048, Caddle report on Ratings & Reviews | December 12, 2020 | n = 1,510
  2. Source: Sector Trend Analysis – Pet food trends in Canada, Ministry of Agriculture. Canada

*Disclaimer: all other data is collected and presented by Caddle