A combination of effective SEO, referrals and media coverage helped boost the Posh Puppy Boutique's sales by 67% from 2011 to 2012.
More people are letting their fingers do the shopping as a Rocklin, Calif.-based merchant discovered last year.
The Posh Puppy Boutique (http://www.poshpuppyboutique.com) saw a 67 percent increase in its annual sales of designer dog clothes, beds, pet jewelry, grooming products and accessories from 2011-2012. The family-owned business does not sell animals.
The Posh Puppy's road to success began after founder Jennifer Kirk left corporate America to raise her four daughters then turned her attention to ecommerce. She began devoting her attentions to pet clothing after watching her kids dress their Chihuahuas. She believed there was-and is-a market for designer dog clothes and high quality accessories appealing to fashion-conscious pet owners.
Over time Kirk's clothing products expanded to include T-shirts for small dogs such as Chihuahuas and other "teacup" breeds of dogs and cats. The Posh Puppy also sells a wide variety of raincoats and outerwear for Great Danes, Rottweilers and breeds known for their hunting and athletic skills.
Fashion accessories cover the gamut from inexpensive collars to $6,000 paw cufflinks. They top out at the $150,000 La Jeune Tulip diamond dog collar. Many Posh Puppy items-especially clothing-are hand made, often in the US.
Heavy online demand for these fashion-forward pet products eventually caused Kirk to abandon e-Bay and open her own website. Outgrowing four previous locations and with requests from people in the greater Sacramento area, Kirk opened a 1,200-square-foot retail store at 6040 Stanford Ranch Rd. Ste. 200, Rocklin, CA on May 17, 2012.
Kirk found there is a significant demand for these products, especially those that can be custom-made to precisely fit individual pets. She compares measuring a dog's neck circumference, girth and distance between neck and base of tail to a human going to a tailor: the goal is getting garments designed for one person, or in this case, pet.
While having ready access to 20,000-plus products helps grow the Posh Puppy's business, frequent public interaction and constant use of social media are also critical, Kirk said. Actively engaging her customers generates referrals. Paying careful attention to search engine optimization techniques allows the Posh Puppy to keep its #1 Google rank.
One key goal of the SEO techniques is attracting the 43 million households with dogs and 37.5 million with cats, according to the Census Bureau's 2006 report on pet ownership. Of those groups roughly 40 percent of dog owners and 34 percent of cat owners have annual household incomes exceeding $35,000, the report states.
Kirk is also a frequent promoter. She has shown her firm's products on "The Katie Couric Show," "Good Morning America," Sacramento's "Good Day Sacramento" and other television programs. Posh Puppy products have also appeared on the pages of print publications ranging from Vogue magazine to the Placer Herald newspaper and in Disney's "Beverley Hills Chihuahua II and III" movies.
In addition to its website, the Posh Puppy frequently publishes new unique blog posts and interacts daily with the public through its Facebook page.