Petco pilots experiential store concept for fur babies
Amazon.com’s encroachment into pet food sales has been making the big players in brick-and-mortar pet supplies rethink their strategies. Now, Petco is trying its hand at an experiential store concept to get customers through the physical door.
The chain recently launched a pilot of the new concept called PetCoach in San Marcos, CA, according to CNBC. The store dedicates only about one-third of its space to inventory, with the rest focused on grooming, veterinary care and pet-related services like dog walking. Petco is also testing a membership program at the new location. The company has plans to use PetCoach as a testing ground for features and then expand to additional locations.
A high-end in-store experience may differentiate Petco from its e-commerce rivals. But Petco’s main brick-and-mortar competition has also been pursuing an experiential pet care concept.
In 2016, PetSmart launched a high-end luxury concept called PetSmart Pet Spa in Oceanside, NY, and a second in Franklin Township, NJ the following year. It has not announced any further expansion of the store concept. PetSmart has also upped its main-line offerings with options like same-day delivery of products in some major metropolitan areas.
PetSmart has also made big online moves recently as well, acquiring popular online pet products retailer Chewy.com last year.
Petco, which was purchased by CVC Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 2015, has also been working to beef up its omnichannel offerings. In 2017, the company acquired PupBox, a subscription service once featured on the television program, Shark Tank.
Whether Petco, PetSmart or both end up providing the ultimate pet store experience, there appears to be plenty of demand for services that allow pet owners to spoil their furry friends. A survey earlier this year indicated that 72 percent of Millennials own pets and 67 percent of those consider their pets to be their “fur-babies.” This quasi-parental bond is reflected in their spending — dog owners shell out $1,285 per year and cat owners $915, according to the study.
- Petco tries to ‘Amazon-proof’ its business with a new store – CNBC
- Will PetSmart’s luxurious pet spa concept catch on? – RetailWire
- Will Chewy.com help PetSmart gobble up the online market? – RetailWire
- Petco Acquires Shark Tank-Featured Pet Subscription Service Company, PupBox – Petco/PRNewswire
- Millennials spend like crazy on their ‘fur-babies’ – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will determine whether Petco’s new concept is a success? Will more experiential concepts like those being piloted by Petco and PetSmart be essential to physical pet supply business in the U.S.?