At Pets at Home, the strategic focus is firmly on engaging with the customer via a multichannel approach that brings together stores and online to enable convenient shopping. The retailer gives both existing and potential customers reasons to stay in touch that cross channels – from regularly delivered subscription flea treatments through to services such as the development of in-store vet practices. In half-year results, to October 12, Pets at Home said: “Our group strategy is… centred around encouraging customers to shop with us through more channels and use more services.” Already at that time, it said, around 28% of customer revenues were directed towards its services, both its Vets4Pets practices and its Groom Room salons.
Multichannel services have been boosted through the introduction of in-store tablets – or Pet Pads – that customers can use to share their details and those of their pet, replacing paper forms. The pads use IBM Sales Assist technology to enable staff to give customers more product information and to answer shoppers’ questions.
Loyalty is a key strategy for Pets at Home. The retailer has a steadily expanding VIP club that accounts for a growing proportion of revenue from the site. By January 2018, the club had 3.8m active members - up from 3.7m a year earlier. VIP club members enjoy a 10% discount in store, and can also help to support animals in need when they use their card in a transaction. The VIP Club features prominently on the Pets at Home app; the retailer is among the small minority of Top500 retailers that enable shoppers to log in or sign up to the club via the app, and to keep the VIP club card on their phone. Existing members can scan their membership card from the app in order to add in their details.
Members of the VIP club used their card in transactions that accounted for 68% of revenue in the 12 weeks to January 2017 (up from 66% in January 2017). This high level of participation enables the retailer to maintain a single view of how most of its customers spend with it, both online and in stores. That in turn should enable consistent service and relevant offers for customers. Certainly it’s an approach that seems to be working for its shoppers and, in turn, for the bottom line. Pets at Home reported revenues of £223.3m in the quarter to January 5, up by 9.6% on the same time last year, including omnichannel revenues from merchandise sales of £13m, a 77% improvement on the previous year.
Chief executive Ian Kellett said: “We again saw the benefits of our omnichannel capabilities, providing customers with innovative and convenient ways to shop, particularly through order in-store and subscription services. This unique combination of capabilities is brought to life by our store colleagues, who provide the friendly expertise, advice and service that our customers really value.”