When a pandemic forces Petbarn to adapt, the retailer is ready
Petbarn was less than a year into its digital transformation when the COVID-19 crisis hit Australia. At that point, online sales had risen to 6% or 7% of total sales, but they were about to skyrocket. Customers still needed pet supplies, but fewer were visiting stores, and there was a real risk that government mandates would force stores to close. In response, Petbarn made a bold move.
“Our online sales tripled almost overnight, but we didn’t have the fulfillment network to handle the sudden increase in demand for deliveries,” says Wahby. “We decided to use our 250 stores as fulfillment centers and offer same-day delivery to customers.”
Before Petbarn could promise same-day delivery to customers, it needed to make sure it could keep up. That’s why the team conducted a staged rollout of the offer on the website. After selecting specific locations, they used Adobe Target to expose the service to one audience segment at a time. If volume started to exceed capacity, they could easily “throttle back” and limit exposure to just a segment of the audience. Or if they encountered a problem, the team could immediately remove the messaging and functionality.
The approach was a success, and it set Petbarn up for a bright future post-pandemic. “Same-day deliveries are now a significant part of our online business, and that number is growing rapidly,” says Wahby.
Petbarn used the same staged approach to release its new live chat feature during the pandemic. By carefully controlling audience exposure, the team made sure volumes were manageable as the company ramped up staffing. Now, live chat is central to Petbarn’s customer service model. It has even earned a 92% positive rating from customers—a testament to the company’s careful, measured approach and commitment to delivering on its promises.
Numbers speak for themselves, and Petbarn is listening
Petbarn has put a lot of work into its online shopping experience. Over the past year, overall website conversion rates increased by 44% using personalization. The company stays focused on creating digital experiences that are just as personal and powerful as the in-store experience. And it uses data to guide decisions.
“Before Adobe Target, we always had theories and assumptions, but we never had proof,” says Wahby. “Now, the numbers speak for themselves. We’re constantly trying new ideas and tracking the results—and we see every test as an opportunity learn.”
For Martin, it’s a win-win situation. The work brings enormous professional satisfaction—a sense of accomplishment in moving the needle on critical business metrics. It also means he can enjoy the experience as a customer, whether he visits his local Petbarn store or shops online.