You may have thought that shopping was only fun for humans. Turns out, pooches love it too.
Pet company Bark & Co. today launched a week-long pop-up shop called “BarkShop Live” in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood that lets our four-legged furry friends shop for themselves. The shop allows dogs to play with toys in an open, specially curated space, using technology to help their human owners track what they like and don’t like.
As each dog plays, a BarkShop belt they are made to wear interacts with RFID tags in all the toys. It sends radio signals to a mobile app on the smartphone of the dog’s owner, allowing them to see what their dog prefers playing with. The app also saves a recap of the pooch’s playtime, and allows its owner to simply tap and purchase their dog’s favorite item, which can be shipped directly to their home. The pop-up shop is running until Sunday.
“We made this investment as an experiment to see if there’s a way for dogs to do their shopping instead of humans,” said Matt Meeker, CEO and co-founder at Bark & Co.
The pop-up shop is available by appointment only, which dog owners can schedule for their pets for $30. The amount of the ticket can be applied towards purchasing products for their dogs inside the BarkShop Live shop. The brand has sold 150 tickets so far with the space catering up to five dogs at a time.
The play area features some of Bark & Co.’s most popular toys, which have been made available to its subscription box subscribers and through its e-commerce store so far. The shop is a test run for the brand as it looks for newer ways to expand its retail footprint.
“We may do more of this either as a permanent setup or more pop-up versions ,” said Meeker. “It’s really about extending the brand, attracting new and old customers in new ways and selling them the best products and experiences out there.”
Since launching in 2012 with BarkBox, a monthly subscription box of treats and toys for dogs, Bark & Co. has expanded its offerings. It has created its own products and launched BarkPost, a publication for dog owners that began as a company blog as well as BarkShop, an e-commerce store which opened in 2014.
BarkPost in particular has been a major hit for the brand, and now reaches over 10 million unique visitors every month with viral hits like the Dog’s Best Day series, which has been viewed more than 60 million times. It has also partnered with brands like American Express, Subaru, Procter & Gamble and Merial’s NexGard for content. Just last month, Bark & Co also announced that it had raised $60 million in new funding to grow and expand further.
“To create really great experiences for dogs, we’ve realized that we need to create really good experiences for their humans too,” said Henrik Werdelin, co-founder of Bark & Co. “There aren’t too many cool things you can do with your dog right now, except maybe going for a walk or to the park.”
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