How about a business that helps dog product vendors set up Tupperware party-esque gatherings?
The Tupperware party concept was the brainchild of Brownie Wise, a customer who held Tupperware parties on her own just because she loved the product so much. She was later hired by Tupperware after they discovered she was outselling their local retail distributors.
This wise marketing tactic (pun intended), known as a party plan, hinges on intimate social interactions and a relaxed atmosphere to inform participants of a product’s value. The event is hosted by a commissioned salesperson. Participants are given a nominal token gift to attend, though many come along just for the fun of it. Through such an environment, most attendees end up making a purchase, either because they have been won over by the product’s value, or because of the subtle social pressure to do what everyone else is doing.
With that in mind, I thought: what other kinds of products could be sold in such an environment? There already are party plans for kitchen utensils, home decor items, jewelry, skincare, cosmetics, lingerie, and sex toys. What else would make sense?
Ah, dog products!
Dog owners love to socialize. You can see this at dog parks. Dog owners love to have their dogs socialize with other dogs. And dog owners are willing to spend money buying fun and useful new products for their beloved canines. Selling dog products via a party plan seems like an obvious idea, doesn’t it?
Although this idea could be extended to other pets, such as cats, birds, hamsters, fish, ferrets, etc, the camaraderie just isn’t the same. Owners of such pets don’t regularly get together, though it is certainly a possibility. Dogs and dog products, in my opinion, have the most potential for a party plan.
Dog product parties could be held at dog parks or the sales representative’s house. Various dog treats could be laid out like appetizers. Water bowls too. Pooper scoopers would need to be easily accessible, and perhaps some paper towels too. Colorful catalogs of the dog products could be offered along with free treats in “doggie bags.”
For the dog owners, their dogs would have a chance to taste-test various products before buying them. That alone is worth the trek to a dog product party. How many times have you purchased a seemingly tasty dog treat, only to find Fido spitting it out in disgust?
As a business that helps dog product vendors set up such parties, it would need a detailed How-To guide and package of reference materials to get a client set up. The business would recruit sales representatives in various target markets, help prepare the necessary materials (catalog, order forms, invitations, doggie bags, pooper scoopers, etc), track the number of participants & sales to offer success metrics, offer tips and best practices, etc.
By outsourcing these marketing efforts, a small dog products vendor wouldn’t need to hire a full marketing & sales staff. It could be a cost-effective way to earn potentially massive sales, especially for boutique vendors like Three Dog Bakery or Polkadog Bakery. (If you guys want to do this, drop me a line!)
Large pet shop retailers like PetSmart and Petco, however, probably already have the marketing muscle to pull this off alone. But the market could support quite a few dog product parties right now, especially since they are tied to geographic social networks.
If this party planning business took off, it could begin offering such services to other products too. I’m sure you can think of a bunch right now. Off the top of my head: environmental products, spices, snacks, wine, toys, wedding favors, scrapbooking materials, school supplies… What do you think?