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Launched in May 2019, Pet Commerce helps dogs shop online. Brazilian pet store chain Petz has introduced a feature that combines artificial intelligence and facial recognition to understand which products a dog is interested in. By showing videos of various pet products and toys and tracking the dog’s reaction to it (such as how they tilt their head), the online site adds the best-liked products to the customer’s cart. The videos are shown in blue and yellow, colors dogs see best. The service is currently only available for dogs, with a possible expansion to cats in the future.

We know this sounds like an outlandish April Fools’ campaign (think Google Tulip). But there are two tail-wagging takeaways:

Pets (and owners) with needs. The global pet care market is expected to reach USD 202.6 billion by 2025 and Brazil, with 132 million pets, is the third largest market for pet products, behind the US and UK. People are spending more money on their pets than on themselves or family members. They will do anything for their pets, a member of the family that provides health benefits, companionship and opportunities for socialization. As the needs of these animals grow more important in the eyes of consumers, they must be on your radar! What steps can your business take to show you recognize and value those needs? This is no small opportunity. Think beyond a bowl of free treats!

From fringe to fur. We know Pet Commerce is a bit silly, but it’s important to remember that today’s fun experiments can quickly become tomorrow’s mainstream. Years ago, facial recognition and eye-tracking technology was the stuff of science fiction. But now biometrics and emotion tracking are almost ubiquitous, being used in Japanese taxi ads, Madison Square Garden, cars, and even casino security. It’s no wonder this technology has finally reached our furry friends. If a pet retailer has found a way to harness this technology to make its customer experience more relevant, you’ve got no excuse for holding out!