A Bangkok native and animal friend, Harprem Doowa, 26, is the co-founder of online pet store Petloft (www.petloft.com, facebook.com/petloftthai) . Launched just over a month ago, the one-stop online shop offers everything from dog and cat food to flea and tick medication as well as customer service that advises and answers any pet-related inquiries customers may have. Petloft delivers nationwide.
WHY DID YOU START AN ONLINE BUSINESS FOR PET PRODUCTS?
I first saw that, due to my schedule, I didn't have time to buy food for my pets. I also saw the growth of online business in developing countries and how Thailand is prime for the same trend. Along with the bad traffic and the weight of pet food, people prefer getting products delivered to their homes. Thailand is also one of the top 10 countries in terms of pets per capita. Seeing this trend, I combined the opportunity with my passion for pets, and Petloft was created.
WHAT MAKES YOUR WEBSITE UNIQUE FROM OTHERS OUT THERE?
Most online pet shops are a side project of pet store owners. However, as we do not have a [physical] store, we focus entirely on the website. One way we do this is by investing in our own back end systems including logistics, inventory management systems, warehousing, website development and customer service. We have a team of 20 working on this project, and hopefully will be able to offer our service to other countries in Southeast Asia.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE RETAILING?
Your investment and risk is much lower than opening a physical store. If we had opened a pet store, we would be restricted by our location. If we had to shut down, our losses would have included the construction of the store, the rent, the staff, and everything that comes with having a physical store.
ARE THERE ANY PET-RELATED TRENDS AT THE MOMENT?
Thai people love pets and with the growing standard of living, they are increasing the amount they spend on their animals. They are buying higher quality products and premium brands. Also, the number of people that own cats and small dogs is increasing rapidly. In fact, most of our buyers now are owners of small dogs and cats, so products catering for smaller pets are also popular.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER PET SERVICES YOU WANT TO SEE IN THAILAND?
I would love to see people taking their dogs out for walks more. In other countries, the government helps maintain parks that enable people to take their pets out for walks - something we very much lack here. We need a place where families and pets can picnic and enjoy Thailand's beautiful weather. What a perfect Sunday afternoon that would be!
WHAT IS ONE LESSER-KNOWN THING YOU WISH ALL PET OWNERS KNEW?
One piece of advice I would give to pet owners is to not feed their pets human food as there is generally too much flavour and salt. Your pets might love the food, but the excess salt can damage their liver, and you may end up harming them.G
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- Writer: Thanita Phuvanatnaranubala