The pros and cons of AI in pet retail - GA Pet Food Partners

The pros and cons of AI in pet retail

You may have heard the letters “AI” or “AI Technology” frequently used in the media. From opening your phone with Face ID to interacting with chatbots to solve a problem, the use of AI technology is increasing. But is this just a buzzword? Or will it be something that changes aspects of life forever? This Knowledge Centre article will delve into what AI is, how AI will develop, and the pros and cons of AI in pet retail.

AI Defined

First things first, what is AI? AI is an abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence. According to the Oxford Dictionary, AI is defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. While AI has existed for a while, recent advances in technology and data have meant that AI technicians can build systems capable of completing complex tasks.

AI will develop over time, not just for humans on a personal level but for businesses too. Companies use AI more frequently than you realise. From marketing to customer service and product design, the possibilities are endless. But how can pet retailers utilise AI? And what are the pros and cons of AI in pet retail?

How can AI be utilised in Pet Retail?

We traditionally know pet retailers for offering a unique shopping experience, being knowledgeable about their products, understanding pet needs, and much more. Many pet retailers may wonder if AI can assist them in enhancing their offerings to their customers. This section of the article looks at how AI can benefit pet retailers.

Increased efficiency

A considerable advantage of AI is making tasks more efficient while adding value. AI is driven by processed information and data to find the fastest way to complete jobs. Not only will this help to improve the business’s speed, but it will also minimise any human errors that may appear. Dave Walker, a Digital Marketer, states, “AI is not just the accuracy of the data but how quickly you can get it to make decisions”. As a pet retailer, an example of how AI may increase your efficiency is stock management. AI can predict future demand based on historical sales data and trends to forecast what products you need in your shop and when. This will allow you to maintain an optimal inventory and ensure you don’t run out of key lines or have too much stock of poor sellers.

Increased efficiency - AI in retail

Long-term cost savings

Initially, for some AI technology, it can be costly to implement. However, over time there can be many cost-saving benefits. As discussed above, if you have a more efficient business, you can ultimately satisfy your customers’ needs more effectively. For many pet shops, budgeting and spending wisely is key to success. Often to assist in promoting their shop offering, pet retailers hire professional photographers, graphic designers and animators. This can come at a cost and occasionally not have the desired effect that was initially set out. With AI, creating images and assets by providing your requirements is now possible. The AI will then create suitable photos based on your keywords to aid your promotional material, both physically and online. A win-win for pet retailers looking to save money.

Content Creation

At times it can be hard to come up with ideas for content. Here is where AI can step in and provide the inspiration you require, whether for blog articles, social media posts, newsletters or any other content you’re creating.

Brick-and-mortar pet shops often have an online presence with websites or social media channels to help drive sales in-store. A fantastic way to showcase your expertise as a pet shop is to have an online blog on your website. Using an AI chatbot tool can help to brainstorm a list of topics; all you need to do is provide it with context, and it can help to give you ideas.

Meanwhile, regarding social media posts, AI tools can brainstorm post ideas, hashtag suggestions and image captions in seconds. In addition, it can also analyse existing content and use this to write engaging social media posts.

Whilst providing inspiration, it can also create the blog content for you in a style that you require/determine. An added benefit of using an AI tool to write all of the blog content is the amount of time it saves. Firstly, you don’t have to write the content; it can be done in under thirty seconds by AI. Secondly, the amount of time to research a subject will be heavily reduced. It’s important to note that once the AI creates the content this should be checked to ensure that the tone of voice is correct.

Identifying trends in the market

All businesses will generate data regardless of size. Large corporations hire data analysts to provide valuable insights and identify improvement areas. However, with the increasing presence of AI, we are seeing larger businesses using AI to assist them.

For many pet shops, hiring data analysts is not an option due to the significant costs that come with this. Currently, many pet shop owners will identify trends in the market by reading industry magazines. With the increasing presence of AI, pet retailers can use this to analyse their own data and help with forecasting and predictions.

What are the risks of AI in pet retail?

As you have read, AI has many benefits in pet retail. But there are also risks involved when looking to utilise the technology. This section will focus on the challenges of AI in pet retail.

Lack of Authenticity and Emotion

Lack of Authenticity - AI in retail

Regarding efficiency, AI is a fantastic tool that can aid any business. However, it lacks authenticity and emotion when it comes to producing content. AI bases its decisions on what has happened in the past and cannot create new ideas. When making decisions as a human, we will factor in emotions. Conversely, AI can’t do so and only makes decisions based on parameters that have been provided. When it comes to pet retailers, authenticity and emotion are crucial. Interacting with the community is a big part of what makes the pet shop successful, and with that comes feeling. Often pet store owners have a great passion for what they do and look to help the needs of each customer that enters the shop.

Loss of Brand Identity

Building a good brand identity plays a significant role in differentiating your business from the competition in the market. It visually represents the core values and communicates what the pet shop brand is about. Many pet retailers use AI to assist with content on their websites, social media, emails and newsletters. This can be beneficial because it can help to improve the speed at which the content is created. However, AI relies on data for content, meaning that the tone of voice and brand identity can become lost quickly. As a pet retailer, you want customers to connect with your brand and having lots of AI-generated can put them off. According to an AI-powered customer service platform called Tidio, only 36.9% of readers were convinced that AI-generated text was created by a human. This shows that there is still some way to go before it can gain people’s trust.

Changes to job roles

Changes to job roles - AI in retail

As AI develops, so does the increase in automated tasks. Inevitably this will lead to changes in job roles for humans. Some analysts have warned that AI may replace aspects of the labour market, which may be true for specific job roles in the future. However, the development of AI is a fantastic opportunity for humans to focus their efforts elsewhere or learn new skills. An example of how AI may change the job roles of pet retailers is the systems in which customers purchase their products. Traditionally, customers have been served by a shop worker at the till. As we have seen in supermarkets, self-checkouts may become the future for pet retailers if they implement AI.

Ethical concerns

A big concern for many with the use of AI is ethics. As highlighted in this article, AI relies on data to perform; this can sometimes include the personal details of people being stored. In addition, there are ethical concerns related to the nature of the content AI creates and the data it pulls. We have always relied on humans to use their judgement regarding privacy. AI, on the other hand, may see simply as content to post without considering any implications that may occur. AI is not concerned with people’s data protection, only with using the data to fulfil a task. Regarding pet retailers looking to implement AI, the customers’ data privacy is paramount.


To summarise, AI will develop in modern society. Believe it or not, we already use AI more than we think, from opening your phone with Face ID to interacting with chatbots to solve a problem. Even Spotify, Amazon and Netflix use AI extensively to help with search or personalised recommendations. AI will only develop over time, not just for humans on a personal level but for businesses too.

For pet retailers, there are several ways that they can utilise AI to assist them with the day-to-day running of the business.

Firstly, AI represents an excellent opportunity to improve efficiency because it can conduct a specific task much faster than a human. Secondly, AI can save costs for pet retailers in the long term because they can minimise the amount of work that they outsource to photographers, graphic designers, blog writers etc. In addition, AI is great for content creation. Many pet retailers have blogs on their websites or social media; if you require ideas, this can be helpful. Without a doubt, another pro of AI is to identify trends in the market. Pet retailers can use AI to monitor if there has been an increase in sales and apply effective stock management tools.

Whilst AI has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages that pet retailers should be conscious of.

When it comes to producing content, it can be very robotic and lacks authenticity and emotion. This is a significant consideration for pet retailers because building a community is a large part of the shopping experience. Loss of brand identity is another challenge because AI relies on data for content, meaning customers may find it hard to connect with your brand without emotion. Some analysts believe that AI will lead to changes in job roles; this could be true for pet shops that look to implement self-checkout tills instead of a worker at the till. Finally, many ethical concerns surround AI, mainly regarding the storage of data and how this is used to form AI content.


Rajnerowicz, K. (2023, July 6th). Human vs AI Test: Can We Tell the Difference Anymore? Retrieved from Tidio:

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Matthew Aiken, Marketing Executive

Matthew Aiken

Marketing Communications Expert

Matt graduated in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in Business & Management. Here he discovered that he had a passion and interest in Marketing. In his spare time, he enjoys anything fitness related and getting outdoors. He also has a French Bulldog called Harley and a Persian cat called Bonnie Blue.

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Article written by Matthew Aiken