How Lean Tech has helped a family business punch above their weight in the Pet Industry
Starting out as a small independent bricks and mortar business back in 2018, Dec’s Pets has grown from a local pet store into one of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the nation.
The brainchild of Declan, (the clue is in the name) and Anna O’Keeffe who have over 15 years of experience in the pet industry They work alongside a team that also consists of their 3 children Dec (Junior) who looks after all things digital and the eCommerce side of the business, Aoife who is the head of the Grooming Department and Joe who heads up the Marketing team.
“We are a small team but that doesn’t mean that we shy away from new initiatives, ideas and innovations and we aim to be first to market with a number of creative projects that solve problems for pet consumers.” Dec Senior says.
“Not only is it now reaching customers nationally it’s also got international customers. The joy of being online means now we can reach a global audience and bring global products to our Irish audience too.”
Dec and Joseph had been tormenting Mum and Dad for a while about building a website and taking Dec's Pets to a global audience so when Dec returned from Australia with his ideas and newly acquired sales skills and passion to succeed, along with Joseph’s creative mind they eventually gave in!
The website has been live for over 2 years now and their sales have skyrocketed due to their creative social media and ecommerce prowess. Declan Snr has been an experienced Pet Store Manager for many years so he understands the customers and what they want. They’ve built a loyal customer base and are ready to conquer further afield by getting more innovative products from around the world to the Irish Market. Their Vending machines have also been a huge hit, never seen before in Ireland.
Dec’s Pets has one of the most functional and technologically advanced websites in the eCommerce space. In 2021 they created a family-friendly website design which wasn’t created from an off the shelf package and is entirely bespoke. Their main goal is for users to view and buy their products online with ease and more visibility for our company's brand presence in the eCommerce market as a whole.
Using Woocommerce with Wordpress, a custom build was created for the new site. Back-end services were rewritten in PHP, removing the use of any heavy plugins such as Mailchimp and Stamped.io. Their whole aim is to have a lean, fast and extremely mobile friendly website. Custom graphics and integrations have been made, such as the unique ID Tag Builder, which features a 3d scroll animation and striking marketing videos. We have a number of other features that sets us apart from some of our competitors including:
● Loyalty platform
● Currency switcher
● MP4 functionality on product pages
● Live chat
In 2022 and in the first year of the website going live Dec’s Pets decided to partner with Greenspark so we could make a positive impact and for our customers to be involved in this as well. With every order over €50 they plant a tree and rescue plastic waste and they have now planted over 3000 trees and rescued over 5000 plastic bottles. No one in the pet industry is doing anything like this and they are the first to market with this effort of being a greener business.
Alongside all of this, what they have done from day one is put all of their online orders in recycled boxes. They partnered with Re-box to use recycled boxes from them. This has been a huge initiative from Dec’s Pets and something we are really proud of. Too many businesses in our space are buying boxes and inserting non eco-friendly packaging into them.
Their aim is to be the first carbon neutral Pet Brand in Ireland next year and they are well on the way to achieving this.
A few other things to note that have helped Dec’s Pets to become a greener business are as follows:
● Their courier is using electric vans
● Refill scheme where customers get a discount if they bring in their own containers
● Recycle all packaging
● They have a water butt that collects rainwater
In fact, Dec’s Pets won the eCommerce Startup Website Of The Year award at the 2023 Irish eCommerce Awards.
This was a defining moment for the team as they realised they must be ‘doing something right’ after all to get such prestigious recognition.
Not only is it the family aspect, it's the people in the background like Jade and Aaron who keep the shop orders running smoothly and the customers happy. The secret to their success is good teamwork, efficient use of technology and innovation but most of all it’s the customer service hence the tagline ‘Ireland’s friendliest pet store’.
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