The retailer announced today that it is selling dog apparel, toys, accessories, and other products chosen by editors of The Dodo, a division of Vox Media and the most-viewed creator of content about pets and animals globally, with 115 million followers on social media.
Walmart is hoping the collection, which is being sold in select Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com, will convince more of the newest generations of dog owners to think of Walmart as a one-stop destination for fun items as well as basics like food.
Right now the collaboration has only produced products for dogs, but a cat line could follow.
In addition to the new merchandise, Walmart Insurance Services will be begin offering The Dodo’s pet insurance program, Fetch by The Dodo, as well.
Walmart already is taking a sizable piece of the $124 billion Americans spent on pets last year, but the partnership with The Dodo could give it increased access to millennial and Gen Z pet owners.
Pet specialty retailers like Petco, Pet Smart, and Chewy increasingly have made “pet parents” – pet owners who pamper their dogs and cats like beloved family members – their target marketing focus. With The Dodo collaboration, Walmart is making a play for pet parents who are price conscious but still want to pamper their pets.
Ninety-seven percent of The Dodo’s audience has pets, and 95% see pets as members of their families, YuJung Kim. group publisher at The Dodo, said.
With this collaboration, she said, The Dodo was looking to partner with a retailer “where shopping for a pet is as seamless as shopping for any other member of the family.”
“That’s why for us it really was a no-brainer to collaborate with Walmart,” YuJung Kim said.
While Walmart has partnered with other pet brands previously, this collaboration is unique because of the high level of involvement in product selection by pet-obsessed members of The Dodo and Walmart teams, Melody Richard, vice president, pets, Walmart U.S. said.
“It is really a collection of made by pet parents, for pet parents,” Richard said. The collection was designed not only with what is best for the pet in mind, she said, but also with a focus on what makes life easier for the pet parent, with products like a dog raincoat that is easier to put on, or a dinner bowl that slows down dogs who gulp their food too quickly.
Walmart also is offering a “Walmart Pet Lovers’ Box with the Dodo” that can be ordered on a one-time-basis, or as a repeat monthly order, with a different, seasonally themed assortment each month.
The individual products range in price from $5 to $20, and the pet lovers’ box is $19.99.
With the pet lovers’ box, Walmart and The Dodo are striving to offer “something that will be the best value in the market,” with toys, treats and other surprises, Richard said.
“What we have to be able to bring to customers is affordability and accessibility,” she said.
The collection is being sold in approximately 1,600 Walmart stores – about a third of the of the number of U.S. Walmart stores.
Richard said expanding into products for cats would be a likely next move.
“We know we have lots of cat moms and dads that are probably saying ‘What about us?’, she said.
“If customers respond the way we believe they will respond, we’re really bullish on what the future could be for The Dodo and Walmart,” Richard said.