Sites like Groupon, Gilt Groupe and Living Social have changed the way we shop for clothes, restaurant reservations and even things such as gym memberships and apartment cleaners. Now, a new breed of daily deal sites is after our pets as well.
Like many New Yorkers, financial analyst and MBA grad Matthew Krunkel had scored great deals on clothing and restaurant meals courtesy of flash-sale sites like Groupon and Gilt City. But many of the products and services he saw advertised just weren’t relevant to him, so he’d delete the e-mail.
Thinking about how these sites could target more specific shopping niches led him to a new business venture and service for New Yorkers — a Web site that allows pets to get in on the sale site act, too.
Recently on ThePetDeal.com, owners could score a $39 grooming session — 51 percent off the original price!
His big idea, ThePetDeal.com — a sale site specifically for pet owners — launched last month, offering discounts on local services and products. Recent deals include $80 worth of dog or cat grooming at SoHo’s Happy Paws for just $39, and 51 percent off dog-walking and cat-sitting from Doggie Patrol.
Discounts offered on the site range from the practical — dog treats and grooming services — to what Krunkel calls more “esoteric” offers such as doggie fashion or a professional photo shoot with your pet. He also hopes to partner with city animal shelters to offer pet-deal credits to people who adopt.
Another new site,
Pawsley.com, combines the sale-site model with social networking — think Facebook for dogs meets Groupon. The founder, New Yorker Mike Pacifico, was inspired to create Pawsley when he couldn’t find a “cool site” on the Web to show off his English springer spaniel, Maeby, and connect with other dog owners. Like on Facebook, Pawsley users can create profiles for themselves and their dogs, upload photos and videos, and join groups connecting them to other users. Pacifico added pet product and services deals as “a cool new twist to keep people coming back.”
Like Krunkel, Pacifico spent his pre-pet Web days crunching numbers on Wall Street. As a fan of sale sites, he knew that dog owners would be attracted to deep discounts — and that pet businesses would love the word-of-mouth advertising that Pawsley could provide.
“How cool would it be for a business to offer a deal, have someone buy it and then have all that person’s friends know that she bought it? That’s what Pawsley offers,” he explains. (When Pawsley members buy a deal, it shows up on their user profile.)
Not surprisingly, given the runaway success of Groupon, there’s a growing pack of pet deal sites that also includes PetSimply.com and BarkingDeals.com. Both offer discounts that average 40 to 50 percent off retail
prices. Pet owners can also snag bargains on traditional sites such as Groupon, which periodically caters to pets in its Home and Garden section, and Ideeli, which has hosted a number of sales on designer pet furniture. An Ideeli sale that ends tomorrow, in fact, offers up to 80 percent off Harry Barker dog bowls and storage containers.
New York is not exactly lacking in pet stores — the city is home to everything from big-box retailers such as PETCO to smaller, more upscale pet boutiques. So do pet owners really need to turn to the Web to spoil their furry friends? Yes, says, Krunkel, who finds the brick-and-
mortar pet-store and service scene in New York to be
“Even if you go to a directory like Yelp.com, it’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for,” he says. “People with pets seemed to be going to the first place they saw in their neighborhood, even if they weren’t in love with it.” He hopes ThePetDeal.com will make New Yorkers more aware of pet-centric businesses in the city.
As for Pawsley, the ultimate goal is to become the place for dog owners to share their pics, videos and thoughts, says
Pacifico. Offering treats to that community is icing on the cake.
“The one clear winner in all of this is our dog, Maeby,” he says. “From custom IDs to organic treats and epic toys, she’s sampled it all.”
By REBECCA WALLWORK
Last Updated: 10:16 AM, June 12, 2011
Posted: 8:04 PM, June 11, 2011