Fish4Dogs won the GlobalPETS Forum Award 2019 at the 20th anniversary event at Amsterdam Beach, in The Netherlands last week.
Graham Smith, CEO of Fish4Dogs, was presented with a trophy and addressed peers from the international pet sector on the importance of the ‘customer relationships’.
This was the burning issue that judges considered when looking at the merits of nominees and how they had adapted to changing customer needs and expectations.
Fish4Dogs, which was founded in 2004 and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade in April 2017, demonstrated how it broke down its market into different segments: international distributors, trade retailers and direct customers and specific interest groups within them.
Fish4Dogs’ success story is grounded in ‘the partnership we create with our customers on the emotive journey of dog ownership’, Graham told the audience.
“Whether it is a one-to-one relationship with one of our international distributors, a pet shop implementing our loyalty scheme, or a new puppy owner getting their first puppy pack from one of our ambassador breeders, we are a genuinely-trusted part of their journey,” he said. “These relationships are the reason we continue to succeed.”
Ultimately, Fish4Dogs tries to make every relationship personal – recognising the needs of individual customers and delivering what they need in a dynamic way,” Graham told delegates.
“Our relationships with our distributors are formed country-by-country. Selecting them takes time, as we want to build partnerships with those whom we feel most share our business ethics. We are also careful about the countries we choose to build these partnerships in – they must have a pet-friendly customer base with the right demographic and purchasing power for our premium product.
“At a time when some pet food brands are pulling away their support for smaller independent retailers, we take pride in working closely with every shop. As well as offering our marketing experience and support, each store has a dedicated member of the sales team who works to understand their unique needs and supports them.
“And for our direct customers, we are a partner and specialist supporter in the welfare of their dog. Because we put this ahead of all else, our relationship is naturally empathetic and strong. We further enhance these relationships by on their individual needs, be they professionals – breeders, trainers and groomers – or those who are family pet owners, where the dog is an important part of the family.”
He went on to highlight how the company’s role as ‘trusted advisor’, supported by veterinary and nutritional experts, meant it was able to recommend the right products for dogs throughout their various lifestages and to address particular needs.
An ‘omni-channel’ approach for each customer group was replicated and localised across 34 countries, he said, which generated great customer loyalty – and in turn produced staunch brand advocates who recommended Fish4Dogs as the ‘champions of fish’.
“Our community is one of passionate dog owners, pet professionals, and businesses that seek to create and maintain long lasting and profitable relationships with their customers. Our business replicates this community, and that’s what makes us successful,” Graham concluded.
Corine van Winden, CEO of GlobalPETS, said: “Fish4dogs is the deserved winner of the GlobalPETS Forum Award 2019. The company has demonstrated close collaboration with its local business partners over the years and stayed up-to-date and relevant in consumer communication across a range of platforms.”