Zolux stays focussed on market trends and customer needs and is now seriously taking into account environmental issues.
ZOLUX Group began as a simple seed store in the centre of a Charente-Maritime town in France, back in 1933. Madeleine and Fernand Haurit, the great-grandparents of the family who still runs the business today, started out by selling agricultural seed, then bird seed and grain for small animals. The business grew year after year, went on to specialise in pet products, and is now a key player in the pet market.
Today, the company describes itself as ‘creator-manufacturer-distributor’ of supplies for cats, dogs, small animals, fish, birds and reptiles, and its 5,000-item catalogue includes innovative and distinctive products, along with basic essentials, marketed to over 60 countries.
In 2012, the group decided to focus also on healthcare and acquired Laboratoire Francodex, which specialises exclusively in animal health.
Creative ideas and concepts
Zolux has a passion for creativity and innovation. It is committed to bringing new ideas to the growing pet market and not only using price as a sales pitch.
The idea is to propose innovative concepts to stores – especially the bricks-and-mortar ones – and to consumers, together with a fast and precise service.
Complete in-store concepts have proven to generate more traffic and purchase decisions in stores, sometimes on cross-category lines. This adds value to the consumer experience and, in turn, to stores sales. Products are not just displayed on shelves, they are integrated within a consistent range and enhanced in a way that consumers can easily imagine having them at home or using them with their pet.
Made in Europe
Some 80% of the group’s sales are from products made in Europe, in the company’s own factories or in those of close partners. The main manufacturing base is in the north of France.
“This is a structural axis of development,” says CEO Matthieu Haurit. “We have invested a lot in manufacturing over the past 10 years, for several reasons: it allows us to better control quality, as well as production costs, and to bring solutions to partners who are asking for private labels. But more importantly, it is a concrete and immediate way to limit our carbon footprint, because our main markets today are European ones.”
Caring for the future
Natural and organically certified products, respectful packaging and recycled materials are increasingly a part of the eco-conception of products. Dog and cat snacks have been available in bulk for several years already and there are ranges of organic snacks for cats, dogs and small animals. A range of organic shampoos will soon be launched by Laboratoire Francodex, made in a production unit certified for organic cosmetics, respecting the Edencert label standards.
Packaging reduction is also a deep concern, as well as finding closer suppliers. The company’s teams are trying to find solutions to replace plastic in packaging, say Category Directors Stéphane Leprêtre and Emmanuel Huret.
An international vision
Meanwhile the company has been selling internationally since the early 2000s, with an export team that now totals eight. The brand can be found at professional fairs all over the world, either as a direct exhibitor or sharing a booth with local distributors. The company has nine distribution platforms across Europe, a subsidiary in Poland since 2006 and another in Italy since 2009. And a new subsidiary is under preparation for 2020, according to Export Director Grégoire Wolski.
Engaging end consumers
The best way to make pets and their owners happy is to better understand their needs and desires. The company uses social media to dialogue with end consumers every day and wants pet owners to participate in their product development. Marketing & Communications Director Claire Brice explains the company has created a community of pet owners called ‘Zolux Tribe’, who give reviews on products at different stages of their development. This helps the company’s R&D department make the right decisions when needed