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  • This pet care company did what Steve Jobs did for a mobile phone. Now, its mission is to become the Apple of its industry.

    Throughout the pandemic, people spend more time at home than ever before—and more time to spend time with their pets. Whether they raise dogs, cats or reptiles, owners will quickly discover the advantages and disadvantages of the new environment, including more good time with their beloved animals, and more exposure to less-than-ideal tasks, such as shoveling garbage box.
    Jacob Zuppke, President and COO of AutoPets, proudly said that in his five years of raising cats, he has never scooped a litter box. This is not because he left unpleasant housework to others. This is because AutoPets’ Litter-Robot has become a fast-growing success for this 22-year-old company, and it completely eliminates this task.
    Litter-Robot starts at $499, and comes with additional features, which is much more expensive than ordinary, concise options. But the product’s price tag reflects its level of innovation-a trash can of the same caliber simply does not exist. “This is a household appliance,” Zuppke said. “It solves what I define as the most onerous housework. I prefer to take out the trash or wash the dishes-things that other appliances can solve.”
    Litter-Robot meets a long-neglected need; many companies interested in solving pet-related problems disproportionately focus on dogs. In fact, according to Pet Food Industry data, about 51% of American cat owners believe that retail channels treat cats as “second-class citizens.” Now AutoPets has solved the biggest problem facing cat families, and it is committed to providing more solutions.
    “There are many problems in the market,” Zuppke said. “The trash can is just one of them. The next one we solve is the cat tree. We think the design of the cat tree has been around for decades: traditional, carpeted, and multi-forked. So we designed several Different cat trees, I call them modern and beautiful furniture. Our cat trees have carpets, sisal, holes and hiding places-they solve the core problem of providing a playground for your cat, but we are one It was done in a beautiful way.”
    Despite the high price, there is still a clear demand for AutoPets’ solutions. The company has experienced a five-year growth of 1,000%, a 90% year-on-year growth in 2020, and a year-on-year growth of more than 130% in the first quarter of 2021.
    Zuppke cited the pandemic and the purchasing power of millennials as factors in the company’s recent outbreak. “People, especially millennials, are beginning to treat pets like children and also postpone having children,” he said. “And it’s possible to spend a lot of disposable income on pets, which really makes our business more attractive now.”
    In the past year, AutoPets was launched in the European Union, the United Kingdom, and China. Today, its highest-rated products are sold in more than 10 countries/regions around the world. But the company’s important influence has not been recognized by some people. Zuppke pointed out that many people don’t necessarily associate AutoPets with its most iconic products. Articles often refer to the company’s Feeder-Robot (one of its newer products) as “Litter-Robot’s Feeder-Robot.”
    In the end, AutoPets strives to position itself as the dominant pet care company-making it the first thing consumers think of when they talk about pet care products, just like Apple when they talk about personal electronics. “We have done a great job building the iPhone,” Zuppke said of the garbage robot, “but we haven’t taken a step back to build Apple.”
    “As a consumer, I like Apple. I will buy almost anything from Apple,” he continued. “[AutoPets] does not have such a business. Therefore, we have been working on this for a while, this summer we will start a rebranding, put everything into one flagship store, and really tell our business in a better way And brand story.”
    In order to achieve its ambitious goals, the company not only emphasizes the efficacy and advantages of its products, but also promotes a lifestyle rooted in the emotional connection between people and animals. “It’s about what we can do for pet parents,” Zuppke said. “Not shoveling the litter box will have a different relationship with my cat. I have been hearing this story with important people who moved in with me: one has a cat, the other does not, and then there is an argument about who will scoop it. Or If the other half is pregnant, the partner will suddenly inherit the responsibility of the litter box. All these little things have become an emotional bond with the pet, and we need to tell this emotional story. Therefore, our rebranding is actually around this point. Designed.”
    Currently, AutoPets products are sold in 13 PetPeople locations, and it is expected to reach 30 by the end of the year; the brand exists in the form of “shop-in-shop”. But the company’s restart will include, for the first time, an independent store-a store that meets the needs of modern retail space.
    “We understand that the world is constantly changing, and retail now needs to be an experience, not just a shopping mall,” Zuppke said. “This is our purpose for establishing a pet shop in the future.”
    A great storefront is another page torn from Apple’s script. It is difficult to find consumers who are not familiar with the glass curtain wall, illuminated signs and Genius Bars of this tech giant. Creating a comparable experience for pet care consumers is a powerful first step, positioning the company as the first choice for meeting all pet care product needs-and ensuring its status as a lifestyle brand in the process.
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    Post time: Jun-17-2021
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