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Petco Expands Same-Day Delivery Services, But Does It Need To?


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Shipt's partnership with Petco marks the first time the company has expanded its reach outside of the grocery sector.

The rollout of Petco’s same-day Shipt delivery service is causing a stir among executives in the retail sector, who speculated why the big-box pet specialty chain “doubled down” on the convenience offering, in a recent post on RetailWire

The retail giant, which has approximately 1,300 stores nationwide, launched its same-day delivery service through Shipt last week—three years following the rollout of PetcoNow, a same-day delivery service powered by Petco’s partnership with Instacart. Officials for the San Diego-based pet retailer touted PetcoNow as the first on-demand delivery service in the pet specialty retail category and the first non-grocery retailer partner for Instacart. 

The retailer’s new partnership with Shipt marks the first time the company, which has focused primarily on the grocery sector, has teamed up with a pet retailer.  

Petco’s role as the first pet retailer to partner with both services prompted RetailWire to ponder the following discussion questions with its network of retail executives: “Is the same-day delivery opportunity big enough to warrant that Petco partner with both Shipt and Instacart? Will same-day delivery increasingly be expected from nearly all retailers?”

Most executives agreed that delivery, particularly same-day delivery, is a natural progression for pet retailers—and it’s a convenience the retailer can’t afford not to offer. 

“The future is NOT same-day delivery. Same-day delivery is the world we live in now. ... Petco is not forward-looking with the new Shipt partnership. They are simply in the present,” wrote Tom Dougherty, president and CEO of Stealing Share, a global branding company. 

Still, others questioned the impact these partnerships would have.

“While it may be an expectation, same-day delivery is mostly unnecessary. Investing in the infrastructure to make it happen requires a critical mass of customers that will take advantage of it,” wrote Bob Amster, principal at Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm. 

Evan Snively, loyalty strategist at Maritz Motivation Solutions, a full-service solution provider in the loyalty industry, pondered how the partnership might impact Petco’s relationship with its vendors. 

“I wonder how some of the major brands feel about this, since in-store is an opportunity to sell impulse treats, etc. Not to say that the same can’t be done via e-commerce, but it shifts the emphasis from packaging and shelf-placement to banner placement, recommended products, and digital assets,” Snively commented. 

Mark Ryski, author and founder and CEO of HeadCount Corp., which analyzes traffic and conversion data, felt the expectation from consumers warranted the retailer’s partnership with both companies.

“By partnering with both Shipt and Instacart, Petco is hedging its bet and maximizing same-day delivery coverage for its customers.”

View the full discussion here.

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