The top line of Pets at Home’s September 2018 investors’ presentation neatly sums up where the pet care business places itself: “We are here to make sure pets and their owners get the very best advice, care and products.” Like other retailers in these competitive times, its focus over the last few years has moved far beyond the basic supply of products – pet food and accessories – towards a Brand Engagement strategy that aims to supply everything a customer could need for taking care of a pet. A large part of this commitment came through its two largest market sector growth areas in 2017, which were veterinary services and grooming.
The Pets at Home website provides extensive information and advice for those considering buying a pet or looking for help, plus tips for the pets they already have, with pages devoted to different animals – from cats and dogs to small animals, birds, fish and chickens – and their care. Related articles on the dog advice page include what’s involved in taking a dog on holiday and how to avoid travel sickness. The Groom room provides information on the company’s 290 in store grooming rooms, with a location finder, seasonal offers and a before-and-after gallery, where customers can post pictures of their dogs in both an initially unkempt and post-pamper, fluffed-up state.
The Very Important Pets club has 6m members, with benefits including a 10% off welcome voucher, savings and offers tailored to your pet, a quarterly magazine, upgrades at the groom room and a £10 nose-to-tail health check at one of the group’s 450 vet practices.
Another key benefit is that members can pay £10 to join the VIP pet-finding service. Should a pet goes missing, a lost pet alert can be sent though the Pets at Home app to all VIP members in the area who will help look for the pet. The website features a gallery of the many pets that have been found through this service.
Pets at Home recognises the value of loyalty that comes through the VIP club, which is accounting for a growing proportion of its revenue. According to the company’s annual report, in the 12 weeks to January 2018, VIP club members used their cards in transactions that accounted for 68% of revenue, up from 66% in January 2017.
The club is a prominent feature on the Pets at Home app and customers are able to access member benefits by scanning their membership card with their phone. Customers can also sign up to the club through the app, putting Pets at Home among the small minority of retailers currently enabling shoppers to do this.