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Previously we reported on where to buy the cheapest dog food online. But as we all know, price is only one factor that goes into any buying decision. There are many other factors to consider when looking for the best place to buy dog food online.
For me, the ease of the transaction is incredibly important. When shopping online, slow-to-load web pages, inaccurate site search results and a less-than-efficient check out process drive me nuts. Other elements to consider when looking for the best place to buy dog food online are selection and authoritative information.
I went in search of gluten-free dog food online. Petsmart.com, Petco.com, Petflow.com and PetFoodDirect.com all offer it, but the shopping experience on each site had its pros and cons.
On each site I entered “gluten-free dog food” in the search field. Pet Flow and Pet Co were great. Those sites gave me their selection of gluten-free dog foods very quickly.
I can’t say the same for PetSmart. The first thing that came up on Petsmart was gluten-free CAT food, followed by one gluten-free dog food and then several gluten-free dog TREATS. Then more gluten-free cat foods followed.
Pet Food Direct provided gluten-free dog food in their results, but the response time was unbelievably slow.
Pet Food Direct also disappointed on the check-out process. After six steps to buy one bag of dog food, the site froze on me. I “refreshed” and the information I had entered on that screen disappeared and I had to enter it again. All in all it’s a seven-step process to check out on Pet Food Direct. It’s also seven steps on PetCo – but without any glitches. PetSmart has the check out process down to five steps but the winner is Pet Flow. In just four steps on Pet Flow you are checked out!
Finally, I put the sites to the test in terms of what I could learn about gluten free dog foods. Pet Smart was the biggest disappointment here. It wasn’t readily apparent where the articles are so I selected “Food Center” from the drop down menu and drilled down, selecting Dog > Food Center > Natural & Organic > Natural and at this point, the site offered me a set of articles. Turns out there were no articles on gluten free dog food, but there were articles!
Conversely, it was very easy to find articles on the Pet Co site. I typed “gluten free dog food” into the search box and it returned a tab for 16 products and a tab for 1006 articles. Unfortunately once I clicked on the article tab I discovered “No matches were found for all of your search terms. Here are results that match some of your terms.” A quick scan through a couple of pages and I didn’t see “grain free” in any of the stories and I gave up looking.
Pet Food Direct has an article on the Benefits of Grain Free Dog Food. It’s listed under the “nutrition center” tab and you have to just scroll through a bunch of articles until you find it.
Once again, Pet Flow is better than the others in terms of ease of finding content and the quantity of the content. I can’t give them an “A” because they have the link buried at the bottom of the page, but once you find the “blog” link, there’s a wealth of information on the site. And the articles section has a search function of its own so I entered “grain free dog food” and got three articles. It was quick, accurate and good information.
When you couple these experiences with where to buy the cheapest dog food online, I’d say it’s a close call as to where the best place to shop for dog food online is. I’ve graded my experience, based on what’s important to ME. What’s important to YOU when shopping for dog food online? Let me know and I’ll do the research for you.