by Michelle Saettler, MobileMarketer.com
PHILADELPHIA – Pet360 Inc., an integrated media and technology company, wants to change the way pet owners interact with the products they buy and the information they consume by building innovative digital experiences.
During the “Customer Engagement Is The New Marketing” session at eTail East 2014, it was reported that mobile site traffic is 46 percent of the company’s total usage. Developing a customer engagement strategy beyond the products a retailer sells is necessary for increasing pages per visitor and time on site, resulting in immediate ROI from customer engagement efforts.
“We really try to aggregate everything a pet parent would want to make the right decisions,” said Rose Hamilton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Pet360.
Sign up to receive Mobile Marketer Daily. The premier mobile marketing publication. Free!
“As an organization we’ve gone through a really interesting transformation: we went from being a very transaction oriented company and selling products, to moving to a customer centricity focus, and at the core of that we wanted to be customer engagement.”
Because it uses responsive design, Pet360’s mobile content has high SEO ranking that reaches more than 12 million pet parents each month. The company powers industry leading sites such as Pet360.com, petMD.com and PetFoodDirect.com.
With over 26 million smartphones in pet parents’ collective hands, marketers should recognize the opportunity to stand out from the crowd with useful, clever, and entertaining content, as Amazon excels and exceeds at selling products. In order to compete in a world where razor-thin margins are now the norm, brands need to have something that’s going to cause the consumer to want to stay with them – above and beyond just a price point.
Differentiation is key; focusing on the customer, creating trust and transparency and ensuring added value are critical to success.
As with any business, customer acquisition, retention and loyalty are critical measures that require a strong and differentiated brand. To set itself apart from the competition, Pet360 has focused on creating valuable and relevant experiences for pet parents. Pet parenting can be challenging and even a bit overwhelming at times. New obstacles can arise at every stage of a pet’s life, and pet parents are in constant need of support. Most will say their vet provides answers to their pet parenting challenges; however, a vet visit takes place on average once per year and only lasts around 15 minutes.
As a result, pet parents are looking to friends, family and various online resources for answers to their questions. The problem is that not every pet has the same needs. A Golden Retriever puppy, for example, has very different needs than a senior Yorkshire Terrier. What works for some pets will not work for all.
The goal of Pet360 is to take the thousands of products, millions of pieces of educational content and countless discussions in online forums and provide each pet parent a relevant experience tailored to their individual pet.
Content is at the core of the brand. Ms. Hamilton asserted that content marketing has been and will continue to be an area of investment and focus for Pet360. From a business model perspective, the efficiency and effectiveness of content marketing reduces the cost to acquire a customer and enables companies to leverage paid channels in a unique way.
Every day marketers are gathering data on the sort of topics that are important to their customers, what questions are surfacing, and where engagement is happening across our sites. They should then ensure they are building out content, assets and tools that help to answer those questions, facilitate dialogue, and use feedback to adjust, and to be nimble.
Pet360 has evolved from a pure play ecommerce business to a lifestyle brand focused on making pet parenting easier. By bringing all three elements (community, content and commerce) together with a layer of personalization, it is able to deliver a truly differentiated brand experience that builds engagement, trust and ultimately advocacy, resulting in higher lifetime value and lower acquisition costs.
“Being able to find a business model that allows you to find ways to facilitate better relationships with customers is critical,” Ms. Hamilton said.
“Social and community are really the future. The benefit is becoming a part of those conversations and building engagement.”