The Petco Problem (Amazon, Duh)


A Petco opened near me about a year ago. It replaced a Pet Food Express. The Petco folks hired very well. The staff is great. They’re friendly, helpful, and definitely love animals. Those are all nice attributes. But for me those attributes can’t offset that Amazon is almost always significantly cheaper.

I feel  bad for Elisabeth Charles who heads up marketing for Petco. I signed up for Petco’s rewards program and one of the results is I am mailed constantly at least daily in e-mail, and at least a couple of times a month via postal mail. I can’t blame ’em for trying, but I’m not impressed with the approach.

The e-mails scream things like  “30-50% off with free shipping!” Then something like “Only two days left to save 30-50%!” then “last chance to save 30-50%!” Then the cycle loops back to the beginning.

That’d be nice if it was 30-50% off something that mattered vs. some fairly arbitrary MSRP. But it isn’t, so it’s just a relentless parade of e-mail hyperbole where 30-50% off adds up to 13% more expensive than Amazon.


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2 thoughts on “The Petco Problem (Amazon, Duh)”

  1. I agree about your point on pricing, especially when you consider Amazon prime which means you’ll get the cheaper product faster from Amazon than Petco, who, BTW, only commits that the product “usually” leaves the warehouse within the same business day. I disagree on the value of the staff though. Not for you, obviously 🙂 , but I think for a sizable portion of pet owners, browsing the pet store with like-minded “pet parents” (is that petco ?) is part of their desired experience that they might pay a little more for. Not much, but maybe a little. It’s a big part of the reason some of us introverted nerds (redundant?) still go to Fry’s even though I can find a better selection of technology components on line.

  2. I’m sure experience is a big part of it for a lot of folks and I hope that’s a sizable enough group to make the store worthwhile — I’d rather have it there than not since it’s not big enough to house a Fry’s! It has come in very handy a couple of times for non-food related purchases.

    If it was just a case of the physical store being more expensive than Amazon for food, I probably wouldn’t have been motivated to post, but Petco’s online store is just as expensive as its brick and mortar sibling unless you subscribe to regular deliveries (which are still more expensive than Amazon’s non “subscribe and save” option).


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