Innovative Culture Propels Chewy to Record YoY Sales
As noted in last week's article announcing the release of the latest installment of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers, Chewy was at the top of the rankings, posting a 37.19 percent increase in year-over-year (YoY) sales for its 2019 fiscal year. For the annual report, Total Retail conducted a YoY comparison of 2019 fiscal year net sales vs. 2018 fiscal year net sales for 160-plus publicly traded retailers, ranking the top 100. So what factors led Chewy, the online retailer of pet food, products and supplies, which is owned by PetSmart, to the No. 1 spot?
A culture of innovation, according to Chewy CEO Sumit Singh, who was interviewed for the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers report.
“We’re innovating every day at Chewy, and it’s rooted in customer centricity and extends far beyond our products and our processes,” Singh notes. “As we move forward, we will continue to pair our technology, product and marketing teams with individual business units to ensure that the boldness of our vision yields equally impressive results.
“The upcoming launch of our first automated fulfillment center in Archbald, Pennsylvania is a powerful testament to our employees becoming evangelists of inventiveness and owners of innovations that drive sales. This state-of-the-art facility — the very best in the pet industry — will highlight the integration of technology, efficiency and customer experience, and will increase capacity and employee experience while reducing cost.
“We will continue to invest behind our talented teams, as well as in technology and infrastructure, so we can continue to innovate. This innovation and perseverance are what has led us to the place we are today, and I believe it will continue to help us deliver strong results as a company.”
In today’s retail climate, in which consumers are reluctant to shop in physical stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital-first retailers such as Chewy figure to have an advantage due to their experience in serving a totally digital customer base. This extends from marketing to operations, among other functions. Couple this with the fact that Chewy is operating in the growing pet category, which boasts a total opportunity size of $100 billion in the U.S. alone, and the company is primed for future prosperity.
It's the authentic, long-term relationships that Chewy is establishing with pet parents that will sustain its long-term growth prospects. Those relationships are being built on the foundations of relevant and empathetic marketing messaging, as well as a commitment to corporate social responsibility — both internally and externally.
“We remain inspired by the adaptability and relentlessness of pet parents everywhere during this time,” says Orlena Yeung, Chewy's vice president of brand marketing. “At Chewy, we’ve spoken about finding our essence in a time of crisis, and it’s really about finding strength in our connections with each other. We’ve been reminded that pets are an essential part of those connections, and we’ve adapted how we respond to customers’ needs both as pet parents and people, communicating with a focus on moments of comfort, empathy and relatability with pets.
“There are a few universal lessons that can be applied across the retail landscape. Most importantly, authenticity is non-negotiable. What we say, how we act, and the culture we promote internally and externally must, at every instance, reflect our purpose and values. A company’s mission cannot be casual or superficial — customers know and see right through it.
“Similarly, COVID has accelerated, broadened and deepened the need for corporate social responsibility and transparency. Companies need to commit to their values, then demonstrate how they live their values in their internal culture, external marketing and community outreach. We’re proud to be able to say that we’ve donated more than $15 million in pet food and products to animal welfare organizations across the country during this time as an extension of our continued commitment to serve the pet community.”
To find out what other retailers made the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers list for the 2019 fiscal year, you can access the complimentary report here. Included in the report are profiles of the top 10 companies.
Related story: Top 100 Fastest-Growing Retailers