IRVING, Texas — As the pet retail landscape continues to shift, a major pet product distributor has plans to help smaller, independent retailers get plugged in to the growing e-commerce channel.

E-commerce is changing the game with a vast number of offerings, unmatched convenience and subscription orders. To this effect, Animal Supply Company (ASC) announced plans to partner with major online platforms to give traditional independent and pet specialty brick-and-mortar retailers a leg up on the competition and begin developing their presence online.

“Having an online presence is the next frontier for independent pet retailers,” said Angela Spears, senior vice president of digital strategy and marketing at ASC. “The specialty pet channel is distinguished by a focus on high-quality products, service and expertise, all of which can live and serve consumers in a digital space.

ASC suggested its partnerships with major e-commerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, Shopify and eTailPet, will allow these smaller retailers to grow beyond their brick-and-mortar capacity and customer base while maintaining a neighborhood pet store reputation.

According to the distributor, retailers can choose templates, utilize digital tools and access customer service support to create their own websites, then choose between 5,000 pet products ASC warehouses to “add to shelves.” ASC will automatically receive any orders made through the retailers websites and execute the shipping and delivery of those items on behalf of the retailer.

“By partnering with Animal Supply Company, our goal is to provide pet retailers all the tools and educational support needed to tap into this opportunity quickly and efficiently, so they can focus on growing their business to the next level, not trying to understand the nuances of an online platform,” said MaryAnn Bekkedahl, senior vice president of business development at BigCommerce.

The pet product distributor launched its own digital fulfillment and delivery service, Animal Supply Connect, in April 2019. The decision to launch the platform was made to drive sales for independent pet retailers while handling logistics for them.

“Animal Supply Connect enables independent retailers to grow their local roots and create an unmatched shopping experience for pet parents. It’s a win-win for pet parents, who can continue to support their neighborhood pet store, whether they choose to shop in store or online,” Spears added.

Animal Supply Company also rolled out a website and mobile app for its retailers back in 2018.

The implementation of Connect is part of a larger push for innovation by ASC’s new owners, Summit Partners and funds managed by Goldman Sachs, which purchased a majority stake in the company and provided capital investment to support its growth in February 2019.

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