Barking Up the Right Tree

At a recent pet products show, I came across Foppers Gourmet Pet Treat Bakery located in Logansport, Ind. Returning from the show with some samples, I offered them to my fickle dogs, who immediately grabbed and wolfed down the biscuits. That was the only barometer I needed on the taste of the biscuits.

Before we actually tested the product in c-stores, I placed a display in one of my favorite local stores to verify my initial impression. When in town, I generally stop and get my morning wake-up coffee at this store, and since we had extra samples, I distributed them to customers over the next several days. The following week, a customer whose dog I fed some samples approached me saying he now has to stop at the store every morning because his dog (get this, his name is Pavlov) barks as soon as they are near the store.

In the clinical test stores, the results were equally outstanding. Our only problem was that sometimes the stores ran out of product before we returned to tabulate the weekly sales. With the availability of several sizes and many new future flavors, Foppers works as a program rather than an incidental inventory item. The jumbo 9-inch bone (retails for 99 cents) was a hands-down favorite, while the small bone (three for 99 cents); the bag (99 cents); and the medium bone (two for 99 cents) also had good sales.

Also, the packaging is very functional (22-24 units per box), and the display size (9 x 7 x 5/ inches) meets the demands of the c-store industry by not taking up valuable space. But beware — if you run out, the customer (and their dogs) will definitely let you know.

This particular test was based on a direct-store delivery pricing strategy, and the accompanying chart provides a detailed analysis of our tests for this product, including information on sales per week, gross margins and the circumstances of each test.

View sales stats by test store for Foppers Gourmet Pet Treats.

Michael Hahn is founder of Diversified Marketing, a convenience store consulting firm specializing in product testing, evaluation and placement. Hahn worked in the c-store industry for nearly 30 years, including owning several stores, working for a 1,500-store chain, and being a category manager, direct-store distributor and broker. For more information, e-mail michaelhahn@ If you are a manufacturer and would like your product tested by Diversified Marketing and reported on in Convenience Store News, contact Don Longo, [email protected].
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