DMNews speaks with John Lazarchic, VP of e-commerce at PETCO

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John Lazarchic
John Lazarchic

John Lazarchic, VP of e-commerce at PETCO, wanted to encourage more product reviewers to the Web site. By tying the promotion to Valentine's Day, the multichannel business improved online engagement


Q: Can you describe PETCO's recent Valentine's Day campaign?

A: This year, we wanted to do something a little different tied to the Web site. So we came up with a Valentine's theme with a tagline, “tell us about the products you love” and the sub-tag was “even the ones you don't.” Customers who rated and wrote reviews about products were offered a chance to win a $500 online shopping spree.

Q: What were the goals of the promotion?

A: When PETCO launched its review feature in 2005, Amazon and a few other major sites had them, but they were not as prevalent as they are today. Because of that consumers weren't apt to just jump in and do it. We knew we had to do something to get them excited. The contests have been a way to continue to grow that reviewer base.

Q: How did this campaign differentiate from others PETCO has been running?

A: We were able to tie the Valen­tine's Day theme around the contest review, and also tie it around the entire Web site. [Our technology partner] Bazaarvoice helped us swap out the paw icons that we usually use for ratings, for hearts during the contest period. We also had a Valentine's Day party in the store for pets. So within the contest window — which ran from January 18 through February 14 — it was all about Valentine's Day. I think that's why we got a much better engage­ment level than we normally had before — because the message was so relevant to owners.

Q: Can you explain the value the reviews bring to the site?

A: As customers write reviews, they become more engaged in the Web site, and the time they spend on the site goes up. While they're there, we see them spend more money. We've also seen the shift in our product mix in people buying better quality products at a higher price or higher margin because of the reviews. We've also seen reduced return rates for products with positive reviews, which has been a substan­tial ROI for us.

Q: What were the results?

A: There was a 19% overall lift in conversion and a 300% lift in rev­enue per contestant. This is a higher number than we normally see.

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