Cover Story: Top Dog
When it comes to cross-channel marketing, PETCO is at the top of its game.
The specialty pet products retailer sells its merchandise in more than 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores across the country and an e-commerce website, regularly using its online channel to bring customers into its stores and vice versa. But the buck stops in the e-commerce department.
"While my department is e-commerce, our entire multichannel integration is run through it," says John Lazarchic, vice president of e-commerce for the San Diego-based company. "The offline marketing department knows how important the online component is to marketing and promoting our brick-and-mortar stores, so it usually comes to us to see how we can support its efforts."
Having a multichannel presence is important to PETCO, says Lazarchic. "We all know that multichannel shoppers spend more money and shop more frequently than shoppers who confine their buying to one sales channel."
Email as a Leash
To bring prospects into its stores, PETCO relies on online tools — most notably paid search and search engine optimization programs. These programs direct folks to either a pop-up window or PETCO.com, where they can sign up for monthly e-newsletters. The e-newsletters offer information about store events in their local areas, coupons they can print out and bring to local stores, and the PETCO Foundation (PETCO's nonprofit foundation).
"Consumers today are looking for value, so special offers and discounts are more important to the average user than ever before," Lazarchic says. "Email is an important way for us to communicate with our shoppers and distribute coupons and offers that bring them into the store."
PETCO takes a serious approach to email marketing. It offers targeted content in its e-newsletters — e.g., cat owners receive different information, specials, promotions and coupons than dog or bird owners. Also, when customers first sign up for its e-newsletter, they receive a sequence of five emails over a five-week period. According to Lazarchic, "The emails educate people and bring them into a relationship with the PETCO brand and each channel."