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Drools: Betting Big on Online

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

Omnichannel pet nutrition brand Drools is expecting its e-commerce business to grow 40%-45%, accelerated by q-commerce  

Established in 2010 by Fahim Sultan, the flagship brand of Drools Pet Food Private Ltd. is an omnichannel business. It sells online through Amazon, Flipkart and other e-commerce platforms, servicing more than 20,000 PIN codes in the country.  In addition, it is available in over 34,000 points of sale, spanning speciality veterinary (vet) shops, clinics and general trade stores.

The brand exports to more than 22 countries across the globe. In the last two years, Drools’ e-commerce business has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 70% and the contribution of online business to sales has increased from 5% to 28%. The company raised a funding of around $60 million (about Rs 490 crore) from L Catterton in 2023.

Data-driven Decisions
Drools leverages multi-channel marketing, including digital campaigns, brand partnerships, and social media engagement, emphasising product innovation.

Recently, Drools undertook strategic product sampling through quick commerce platforms like Blinkit and BigBasket to target new customers and expand its product reach. “We targeted individuals with past purchases of pet food, offering them samples of new product launch like creamy cat treats,” explained the company’s Sales Director, Rakhi Rana.

“Additionally, we capitalised on existing customer relationships by cross-selling different product samples, aiming to boost sales of our top-selling dog treat—calcium bone and to encourage holistic growth of the pets. Finally, to ensure purchase completion, we retargeted users with push notifications and mailers,” she added.

This strategic and data driven approach proved highly effective, resulting in a 16% and 20% increase in the cat and dog food customer base, respectively.

Bullish on Bharat, Q-Commerce
Drools expects its e-commerce business to grow 40%-45% in the next two years, accelerated by quick commerce.  

We find the rise of quick commerce platforms like Blinkit, Instamart and Zepto incredibly exciting for Drool. These 10–20-minutes delivery models are revolutionising consumer behaviour, and we’re actively adapting by prioritising pet food availability on these platforms,” Rana said.

For Drools, tier 2 and beyond markets represent a massive untapped potential for growth, and its projected growth hinges on effectively reaching these regions through marketplaces.

Educating and Engaging Pet Parents
Post pandemic, the pet brand’s approach to consumer engagement has undergone significant refinement. “We are now deeply engaged with our valued pet parents, implementing a range of initiatives to foster closer bonds,” Rana shared.

One such initiative involves the organising and facilitating daily pet parents’ synergy meetings at local pet shops. These meetings serve as a platform for educating pet parents about importance of pet nutrition as compared to home-cooked alternatives and gathering feedback. The company now plans to launch a back of the pack campaign to raise awareness.

“Building brand awareness and educating pet owners in these new markets requires innovative, localised strategies,” said Rana.

The brand leverages the power of social media and celebrity influencers with collaborations with Bollywood superstars like Jhanvi Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Sara Ali Khan, Kartik Aaryan, among others to educate and empower audiences. Drools also encourages label reading and responsible pet parenting, ensuring the celebrity partnerships align with its core values. “By integrating celebrities authentically into the brand narrative and involving them in meaningful initiatives, we are building a strong, purpose-driven presence in the digital space,” the sales director explained.

Using AI
Rana informed that while Drools has a good understanding of what shoppers like in physical stores, there was a need to decipher the preferences of online shoppers. “So, we started analysing the sentiments and ratings and reviews of online shoppers with the help of AI tools,” she said.

Additionally, the company is revamping its content across platforms according to the need of the customers with the help of AI algorithms.

Marketing Play
Drools uses a combination of traditional and digital channels for its marketing. “Our forte lies in impactful in-store branding initiatives, including compelling pet shop facades and eye-catching boards,” explained Rana.

“Moreover, we boast a robust presence in B2B marketing realms, actively engaging in industry events such as pet fests & pet shows like Pet Fed, FCI, IIPTF etc,” she added.  

Additionally, Drools feature informative articles in leading pet magazines and conduct regular seminars catering to stakeholders such as breeders, veterinarians, pet shop owners, and pet parents under varied programmes and events.  

In the realm of digital marketing, Drools’ targets the Gen Z and millennial demographics through Instagram and YouTube.

Furthermore, it offers ecommerce-exclusive stock keeping units and brands tailored to fulfil specific requirements of online platforms such as varying price points, compact packaging, diverse flavours, and sizes. Similarly, it maintains a select range of offline-specific brands. For instance, VET PRO a veterinarian-recommended diet available on prescription solely through pet clinics.

Supply Chain Strategies
Drools has more than 38 depots and Cost and Freight (CNF) warehouses, covering an area of over 7 lakh sq. ft. This excludes its mother warehouse. This expansive infrastructure forms the backbone of Drools’ direct-to-retail supply chain, currently commanding a 65% market share. “We implement a Distributor Management System (DMS) software to bolster our supply chain, facilitating enhanced inventory management practices aimed at mitigating both out-of-stock losses and excess inventory,” Rana shared.

To meet the online demand surge, Drools has implemented processes reinforced by its ERP solution to increase the frequency of stock replenishment from the central warehouse to its depots, while concurrently enabling real-time inventory tracking across all platforms, including marketplaces and quick commerce channels.

“This proactive approach ensures seamless stock availability, minimises instances of product unavailability, and guarantees streamlined delivery processes,” said Rana.

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