Everyone has a different set of criteria when it comes to deciding what makes a supplement great. The Lintbells team has a bit more experience than most when it comes to identifying what customers want and has been reviewing the key points and trends so they can pass on some tips to the trade.
In line with the trend for ‘natural’ in the nutrition category, Siobhan, Lintbells Learning and Development Executive and Vet Nurse says it’s important to pet owners that supplements are ‘natural and wholesome’. Retailers can emphasise this by signposting to natural supplements from the natural pet foods category or even creating a ‘natural’ category. It can help to reassure pet owners that although a supplement might seem ‘scientific’ it can also be made with completely natural and sustainable ingredients.
But Lintbells also finds that many customers like to see scientific proof and evidence too. Adam is Lintbells Business Engagement Lead and says Lintbells has lots of accessible information about their products and the benefits of each ingredient, such as essential fatty acids. The ‘see the difference’ guarantee is something that can be leveraged to give pet owners more confidence to trial.
Louise, Lintbells Operations Manager, thinks that packaging plays a key part in buying decisions with recyclable packaging high on wish-lists. Knowing what suppliers are doing in this respect can give retailers the edge. Lintbells is in the process of rolling out 100% recyclable/biodegradable packing materials, including pallet wrap and the majority of packaging used in its products is also recyclable.
Lintbells Technical Manager and Vet, Rachel says that while a supplement has to be efficacious, pet owners also rate palatability really highly – as they will be giving the supplement long term. Explaining, or even demonstrating, that the product is easy to give is a useful skill in the retailing toolbox.
Safety is another important criteria and the benefit: risk ratio must be high. The retailer’s ability to demonstrate that they are a trusted professional who sources reputable products from reliable sources counts for a lot in this sector and pet owners don’t always purchase on best price alone because of fears over counterfeit products. Building reputation and relationships is a great way to help establish trust with local pet owners.
Of course, affordability is also key in the buying decision, so the right pricing for the value and the quality of the supplement receives a lot of attention at Lintbells. Alethea Maillard, Lintbells Head of Marketing says the ‘see the difference’ guarantee works well when first introducing a Lintbells supplement to a shopper and retailers should consider the mechanics they use at this crucial first point of use. She continued, “Following that first purchase, a positive experience means the customer will come back again for repeat purchase and loyalty mechanics can be useful as a way to ensure they always come back to your outlet to stock up. Our supplements give demonstrable results so it’s worth putting in added effort in that first introduction, while being aware that although cost can be a barrier, it’s not the only barrier and we always aim to offer an affordable solution.”
Customer Service Manager, Liz says the customers her team talks to want the products to be fast-acting, especially as they are often purchased for problem solution, “It’s a real benefit of our products that pet owners notice changes in their pet early on and it gives them reassurance that they are doing the right thing.” It is important that supplements give an appropriate time frame to assess their action, which varies from product to product – Lintbells YuMOVE Dog is clinically proven to work within 6 weeks, while YuCALM Dog could work in as little as 1 hour.
Alethea points out that while a supplement has a lot of expectations to meet it’s important that retailers have an in-depth knowledge of how a product performs across a wide set of criteria, “We only make products for which we can substantiate a demand, based on what our customers say. That means that retailers can feel confident about the Lintbells range, our ethical and product credentials and the support we provide them and their customers.”
Retailers can receive support and training on the use of supplements and in-store merchandising from Lintbells by calling 01462 416866.
 Study conducted by Royal Veterinary College.Data on file.
 Scholey A, Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods, Nutrients. 2014 Oct 30;6(11)
For Lintbells, every product starts with a pet in need. Based in Weston in Hertfordshire, Lintbells researches, formulates and manufacturers high quality, innovative natural supplements that aim to improve the lives of dogs, cats and horses. It’s a commitment the company takes very seriously and has resulted in products that support health and wellbeing, skin and coat condition, digestive health, joint care and behavioural support.
Established in 2006 by John Howie and John Davies, Lintbells has a strong focus on scientific validation of its products, working with experts such as the Royal Veterinary College and New Zealand’s Marlborough Research Centre. But it doesn’t stop with the science because helping pets is at the core of the business.
At all levels of the Lintbells’ organisation there’s a realisation that collectively, everyone has a responsibility to help keep pets healthy and happy by providing effective, high quality, pet supplements at affordable prices.
And it seems those efforts are increasingly appreciated by pets and their people. By the end of 2017, over 300 million YuMOVE tablets had been sold to pet owners in more than 15 countries.
For more information, visit www.lintbells.com