During the pandemic, Aussies were forced. to stay home, resulting in a higher adoption rate of pets. We sat down with David Young, the Managing Director of PETstock, to discuss the pandemic and its impact on the retailer.
What have been the biggest changes seen in retail, particularly at PETstock, since the COVID-19 outbreak?
“The health and safety of our team and customers have been our priority throughout this period, and some of the big changes have been how we operate our store network day-to-day. Ensuring social distancing measures are in place, additional cleaning is occurring, reduction in company travel etc. were things we put in place immediately. But our customer’s shopping habits have changed also,” said Young.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a shift in purchasing habits; with more and more customers choosing the shopping option they feel most comfortable with given the circumstances. As an essential service, we’ve been able to keep our stores open, allowing customers to choose to either shop in-store (with COVID-19 safety measures in place), zero contact Click and Collect or use our other online shopping options such as Autoship or Same Day Delivery. Our online product purchases have increased but we’ve also seen pet owners’ value in-store services such as pet grooming, DIY Wash, PETschool dog training and our vet services more than ever before. Spending quality time at home with their pet has also seen pet parents become more engaged with their pets and in many cases also become more educated, which is fantastic.”
“To assist with this change, at PETstock we’ve focussed on innovative ways to deliver educational and informative content to our customers through our digital channels with our AT Home With PETstock series of videos bringing tips, demonstrations and advice to pet parents in the comfort of their own home. As a business, we’ve had to adapt to the changing landscape very quickly,” Young told Power Retail.
Could you please provide some examples of how PETstock has responded to changing customer’s needs amid COVID-19?
“Being an essential service, all PETstock stores nationally have been fortunate enough to stay open throughout the crisis, enabling us to serve and support our pet community. For the past couple of months, we have focused on offering convenient and safe services to our customers, including EFT payment only, safe in-store social distancing measures, online home delivery and our 15-minute Zero Contact Click and Collect option at all stores,” Young told Power Retail.
“Though we have been able to adapt to short term changes and the needs of our customers, we have also set out long-term business objectives to ensure our customers are supported over the next 12-months and beyond when the full financial impact is likely to be felt by Australian pet owners. Our support includes the commencement of our PETstock Vet Chat service – real-time vet consultations via text or video chat, Contactless Home Delivery, Same Day Delivery, 15-minute Click and Collect, and our At Home With PETstock video series. We hope that with these convenient services, we can provide ongoing support to aide Australian pets and pet parents during what will be a very difficult and uncertain year.”
What are some of your predictions of what the pet retail industry will look like post-COVID-19?
“With pet owners spending more time with their pet than ever, I think we will see a more educated and knowledgeable pet parent post-COVID-19. And whilst choice and convenience will remain the key drivers, how they engage with us will have shifted to be more aligned to our digital channels,” he explained.
“However, in-store pet services will remain as important as ever, and already in states and territories where restrictions have eased, customers have made their way back into stores for a complete shopping experience for their pets. Community has always been important to us here at PETstock, and now more than ever, we will continue to provide a place for pet parents to get the advice they need, from our friendly and helpful team, and to purchase the best products for the health, happiness and wellbeing of their pet.”
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