How Petco turns live shopping events into long-term social commerce activations


Online shopping is one of the hottest spaces in retail, and for good reason: it offers retailers a fun and convenient way to connect with shoppers from the comfort of their homes. Petco stays at the forefront of social commerce through multiple live shopping events, produced in partnership with Facebook, which combine fashion, charity and adorable animals.

Consumers are increasingly exploring and discovering the things they love in social environments and they are looking for faster, more convenient ways to shop and real-time engagement with the brands they love“said Jay Altschuler, vice president of media transformation at Petco in an interview with Retail Contact Points. “Our goal is to be a leader in innovation and the use of social commerce in our category and in the United States”

Initial live purchase event drives 12% increase in online traffic

A key part of Petco’s strategy for its live broadcasts is to provide clear captions and shopping opportunities. Direct shopping is just as new to most consumers as it is to retailers, and Petco wants to make it as easy for them to embrace this rapidly growing trend as possible.

Our biggest breakthrough was seeing live social commerce activations as more than just a moment in time.“said Altschuler.” We engage pet parents and build enthusiasm for our brand at the live event, then extend the experience to even more pet parents through a mix of organic, paid, commercial and influencer products for a three to four weeks campaign.”

Petco’s first live shopping event, The Perfect Fit, took place at the end of April 2021. Actress, model and pet parent Arielle Vandenberg hosted a pet fashion show and campaign. dog adoption featuring rescue dogs from LA Animal Services, who have received a $ 100,000 donated by Petco and Petco Love. Petco also took the opportunity to promote its Youly and Reddy private labels.

The results “exceeded our benchmarks on every level,” according to Altschuler. The event reached over 986,400 people, 44% above the benchmark set by the retailer, and sales were double the cost of holding the event. The experience earned a 14% Engagement rate, 260% above the commitment reference, as well as a 12% increase in overall traffic to Perhaps the most important, all Seven the dogs shown at the fashion show have been adopted.

The retailer’s next shopping event was in July with Petco Field Day, hosted by former Olympian Gabby Douglas and Petco’s National Dog Training Director Darris Cooper. This sports-focused stream included games, demonstrations, and educational content to teach viewers fun and safe physical and mental exercise for their pets.

Petco Field Day was an even greater success, reaching 2.43 million live viewers and getting twice as much return on ad spend (ROAS) as The Perfect Fit. The on-demand version of the event always attracts additional viewers, and Petco has seen a 14.2% increased recall of advertisements, a 5.9% increase in favor and a 5.9% increase recommendations after the livestream.

Petco leverages existing influence relationships

Petco entered social commerce with some built-in benefits. The retailer was already well established in the general social media space before starting to explore the commercial side, making the move a natural evolution for the brand.

The brand made its social commerce debut with Shops and Collections on Facebook and Instagram, which was an extension of its existing social media presence. Petco was already working with influencers to publicize its offerings, and they continued to be an asset in social commerce.

“We know that consumer decision journeys start and are heavily influenced by social media and influencers,” said Altschuler. “With the continued growth of the role of social media in the buying process of consumers – for example, more and more people are researching and discovering brands and products on social media – we saw an opportunity for Petco to make shopping easier in this environment, effectively bringing the purchases to the consumer rather than bringing the consumer to Petco. “

The successful integration of influencers and social commerce included a TikTok 2020 campaign for private label Reddy. Petco partnered with major influencers, including Jason Derulo and Dixie Damelio, in a campaign that made 28.3 million prints and inspired 1,500 User-generated pieces of content, including custom Reddy songs.

“The next generation of pet parents will have different buying habits, and we are excited about this new opportunity to respond to and shape new consumer buying behaviors,” said Altschuler. “Our approach has been to create an experience that stimulates consumer brand preference and product consideration, rather than acting as a purely e-commerce channel.. We see social experience and business capabilities as intertwined and interdependent when creating campaigns. “

Successful live events are built on a “union of human and companion talent”

Hosting a successful live shopping event can be a challenge for any retailer, but Petco had an additional factor to consider – the animals themselves. Hosting a live event with animals can be unpredictable, but “part of the joy of creating animal-specific content is that anything can happen,” Altschuler said. “The union of human talent and companion animals is a special thing to see, and these relationships are very real on and off set.”

A lot of work was done to ensure that all pets on the air were safe and comfortable during production, and there was a lot that could be done to ensure a great experience for buyers as well. Petco had a team dedicated to interact with fans in real time while adding relevant products to the screen. Additionally, the remote and on-site teams worked together to coordinate the event and ensure it was both marketable and interesting.

Petco plans to continue experimenting and expanding in the social commerce space in 2022, with the goal of staying ahead of buyers’ expectations. The company is testing new ways to make ads and content purchasable, and the “test and learn” approach used by the retailer in 2021 will continue to define its strategy going forward.

“Our Facebook Live events are a great example of bringing creativity, social media and commerce together to connect with pet parents in a new way,” said Altschuler. “In addition, we have developed a more robust store strategy on Facebook and Instagram. In the future, we plan to apply our approach to other emerging platforms and social partners, and will continue to experiment through different types of creative activations. “

Petco will join Facebook, Zox and Clientricity to discuss live streaming and live shopping during the 2021 Retail Innovation Conference, November 16-17. Registration for this virtual event is free.

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