Petriotics Delivers the Best for Your Pets - Doggy or Kitty Style

Nathalie Rosa Bucher, Mar 10 2016

Petriotics is a monthly delivery service bringing healthy pet food and supplies to animal owners in Lebanon, while helping local animal organisations at no extra cost.

The brainchild of Nader Zaatari, co-founder and director of the startup. The genesis of Petriotics lies in a social network he established for the animal community in 2013. He got to know animal organizations and pet owners more intimately, and started thinking of ways to engage them more actively.

“I wanted to connect animal rights organisations with more supporters,” he told ArabNet. He wondered why pet owners weren’t donating to animal organisations and whether it could be possible to sell cat and dog supplies to pet owners and have a part of that donated to these organisations.

With a seed funding of $25,000 from AltCity, he was able to explore the real needs of animal owners (which he calls “pet parents”), and conduct research to focus on developing a concept.

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Given the absence of verified research available about pet ownership, Zaatari worked with vets and animal organisations to gain insights and collect information.

Lebanon has an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 pet owners, and is considered a growth market. Anyone who attends public events cannot but notice the increasing number of young men and women with puppies.

“Animal rights organisations have played a significant role in spreading awareness,” said Zaatari.

“Six years back we had a very different picture,” he added. While there still are issues such as animal abuse, unregulated puppy farms, and low adoption rates of abandoned puppies to tackle, more people are developing a better understanding of animals and animal rights, said Zaatari, who happens to own 13 adopted dogs.

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Among the key findings that Zaatari and his team (now seven members strong) discovered was that 60% of people face problems when sourcing pet supplies. Much of this has to do with time constraints and traffic:

“We found the task of sourcing cat or dog food to be time-consuming and there were also issues around distribution, as most people go to the nearest shop or to a selling point that is on their way to work or another regular trip. There, choice can often be limited, offering only one to three brands.”

“When it comes to food, users are generally consistent and stick to the same brand, however, when it comes to treats and toys there is more variety,” he added.

Taking into account that everybody is on a limited income and that sourcing good food and toys is not always easy, Petriotics proposes to animal owners a box of 4-6 healthy treats, as well as quality toys and accessories, delivered to their house.

Every month’s box has a specific theme based on a trend or a special occasion such as Christmas or Valentine’s day.


It’s Convenient, AND You Save a Few Bucks

The startup’s promise is to deliver healthy products at maximum value for money. Customers can choose to purchase a one-time trial box or an open subscription package for deliveries on a monthly basis (or every two months for light consumers). The boxes are delivered to customers’ house or office for free.

With the Petriotics box, customers save 10% on the retail price of the items in their box, and up to 30% when they subscribe for longer periods. For bundle orders, customers can also benefit from an even more attractive discount

Zaatari also encourages customers to order the boxes at their office for additional exposure, and offers them a further discounted rate when they do so.

At present, the payment method is cash on delivery but Petriotics is also developing an online payment solution.

“You Shop, You Donate”

10% of the profits goes to an animal welfare organization in Lebanon: Animals Lebanon, BETA (Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or APAF (Animals Pride Freedom). “The aim is to build a community rather than a customer base,” Zaatari said.

The model is influenced by similar concepts such as Amazon’s Smile Slogan “you shop we donate.” With Petriotics, the slogan became “you shop you donate”, to put emphasis on the customer’s role. “Our subscribers get a sense of satisfaction for their contribution. We give them credit for this,” Zaatari said.

Expanding the Community

Petriotics main revenues come from the sale of customized or surprise monthly boxes. For now, the startup is focusing on a customer base of 40 early adopters - both cat and dog owners in and outside Beirut.

The goods and toys are sourced locally from importers, which are either veterinarians or small companies. Petriotics aims to make these products accessible to everyone

In the three months since they started deliveries, Zaatari said they have recorded an 80% customer satisfaction rate, and have engaged the remaining 20% of customers who have submitted their feedback and suggested improvements.

“We are listening to our current subscribers to further understand what they want and how we can serve them better,” Zaatari said.

For example, he found that animal owners are happy to receive surprise boxes, but that a model that contains too many features does not work well. Hence, some of those have been removed.

The startup has begun pushing to grow its customer base in March 2016, and is planning to expand in the MENA. Countries in the GCC, particularly the UAE, could be their next market, given the presence of a large expat community that is more likely to embrace the culture of keeping pets and caring for animals,

Zaatari intends to grow his team to 10 members by end 2016.

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