Pet Supermarket: a fifty-year-old, highly successful pet specialty retailer with over 200 stores across a dozen states. Having only recently transitioned from brick-and-mortar operations to omni-channel, it is incredible that they are now shipping products out to their customers faster than any of their competitors. They are becoming increasingly more successful in their eCommerce offerings, but how have they done it?
On the latest episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives podcast, our host and co-founder Kailin Noivo sits down with Matt Ezyk, the Director of eCommerce at Pet Supermarket to unravel the company’s transition from brick-and-mortar to omnichannel.
Their insightful conversation digs deep into the importance of considering customer experience at every step along the way, and explores how combining in-store experiences with digital channels can enhance the customer journey, leading to loyal, lifetime customers.
Digital versus In-Store Shopping: Which One Do You Choose for a Pet Store?
We’ve all been to a pet store. It’s an experience like no other!
You can see the animal you want to adopt, pick them up, learn about them, buy their habitat and food, and take them home.
Can that really be replaced with online services? According to Matt, the answer is a succinct NO.
Nothing would ever replace that experience. But, it could definitely be enhanced.
When he took over the eCommerce operations of Pet Supermarket, he looked at what was going well for the company and how he could supplement that with digital services to enhance the customer experience. Nothing could replace what it was like to go into a store and meet the animal you were looking to adopt, and so he didn’t try to remove that from the customer journey.
Instead, the customer journey could start off digitally by having information pages on animals that could be adopted, so that potential customers could learn everything they needed to know prior to going to the store and picking out the animal.
Tech to Enhance the Customer Journey
Once a customer has their animal, their situation has changed, they now need to make sure they can provide everything that the animal needs: food, stimulation, and a home. Pet Supermarket has leveraged different technologies and services to fulfill these consumer needs, thus keeping the customer loyal and online.
In the modern day, with the likes of Deliveroo and Amazon Prime, when we want something, we want it then and there. Pet Supermarket saw this and focused their attention on ship-from-store. This allows them to get customers their products within hours of ordering (if not less), meaning that they are faster than all of their competitors. They further offer subscription options for repeat purchases, such as food, so that the customer doesn’t need to think about reordering, it just arrives when they need it!
Matt shares that they are also leveraging predictive AI to make suggestions to customers when shopping online. Say you were browsing cat food, the AI would understand that you were shopping for a cat and suggest other products a cat owner may need, such as litter or cat trees. Not only does this make for a more seamless customer journey, but it has boosted the company’s revenue and margins – it’s a win for everyone!
Matt Ezyk on Allowing Customers to Choose How They Wish to Shop
Even with all these exciting offerings, Matt makes it clear that they never force the customer down any path. It is up to them how they interact with the business. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t force your customers to walk down certain aisles of your physical store if they didn’t want to, so why would you do it digitally
Many of Pet Supermarket’s customers have been loyal customers for decades, and they don’t want that to change. If they were to force their customers to do something, chances are they would look elsewhere and they could lose out on that loyalty.
Networking is Your Best Friend: Matt Ezyk
Matt couldn’t have gotten Pet Supermarket to where it is now without relying on external partners to help build the tech base and get it moving. He did build his own team but the external partnerships were invaluable. However, when outsourcing any aspect of business, it is crucial you trust the partner to build the part correctly and support you if things go wrong.
One way to ensure you find partners you trust: network! You never know what you’ll learn from fellow eCommerce professionals and who you may need to lean on in the future.
As Matt says: “The more people you know, the easier it is for you to open yourself up to more opportunities.”
Listen to the Full Episode Below!
Listen to this episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives with Matt Ezyk to learn how to transform an organization from brick-and-mortar to omni-channel.
👉 Apple: https://apple.co/3OONxO0
👉 Spotify: https://spoti.fi/45BkeW3
Matt Ezyk is an eCommerce leader with a wealth of experience in digital strategy, agile management, business process optimization and more. He is now the Director of eCommerce at Pet Supermarket, a successful pet specialty retailer with over 200 stores across a dozen states.
With over twelve years of experience providing eCommerce leadership and managing Salesforce implementations for multiple high-profile organizations, Matt is always one step ahead of change in the rapidly evolving eCommerce landscape.