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Trusted by Google: Fargo’s recognized for service

Clint Howitz and his dog, River, are shown inside dogIDs in their south Fargo office. The Fargo-based company was recently recognized by Google by receiving an invitation to join its Trusted Stores program. Nick Wagner / The Forum

Fargo - An e-commerce site based in Fargo that specializes in personalized dog accessories – – was recently selected to join the Google Trusted Stores program.

The designation is awarded to sites that demonstrate a track record of on-time shipping and excellent customer service.

Some shoppers are apprehensive about making purchases from an unfamiliar website, so Google’s endorsement will likely mean more sales for the company.

In order to qualify, owner Clint Howitz had to integrate with Google so the company could track orders.

“Google Trusted Stores is actually monitoring our performance on filling orders, exchanges and returns, and all those things that would indicate whether we’re doing a good job or not,” Howitz said.

The Google Trusted Stores badge is located in the bottom right corner of the company’s website. Shoppers who click on the badge will see that dogIDs has a 100 percent rating for customer service and a 97 percent rating for on-time shipping.

The program also offers shoppers a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection plan free of charge.

Customer service has always been a top priority for dogsID. The company has a “no questions asked” return policy and all products come with a lifetime guarantee.

“Our tagline is ‘Only the best for man’s best friend,’ ” Howitz said. “If we’re saying that, we better stand behind everything we do.”

Howitz launched dogIDs as a hobby business in 2005 when he noticed the market for personalized pet accessories. In 2010, he decided to pursue the venture full time and moved the operation out of his basement and into its current office.

Today he employs a staff of 10. They personalize items such as collars, leashes, dog tags, bowls, beds and more.

“What we’re trying to do in general is make personalizing your dog easier and more practical so it happens more often,” Howitz said. “Safety is one of our driving forces.”

One of the company’s most popular items is the ScruffTag personalized collar where the customized tag is built into the collar and rests on the back of a dog’s neck. Howitz said this is so popular because if a dog is lost, no one needs to reach under its neck to see the tag and risk getting drooled on or bit.

Most of the company’s sales are online because selling personalized products in stores can be complicated, but Howitz recently partnered with Eddie and Barkus in Fargo and Two Rivers Veterinary Hospital in West Fargo to see how an ordering process might work.

Another new exciting partnership for the company is with the American Kennel Club.

For Howitz, the business remains all about dogs. While dogIDs does sell a few cat tags, he has no plans to expand that line of merchandise.

“That passion for dogs is what has been driving us, and we’re going to stay focused on it as much as we can,” Howitz said.