Petco’s John Lazarchic On Web Site Improvement
TM: One of the inherent limitations of the average Web site has always been, once you get specific with a search, you stop seeing everything else.
JL: Exactly, that’s good for the customer who is very mission-oriented, such as the dog owner who wants a dog cage who you can throw a few cross-sell items at—but you can’t put too much in front of them and distract them from their mission. But then there’s the customer who says, ‘Hey, I’m going to look at this category.” We try to get them to see value as they’re paging through that category, so it’s more like the old ‘milk in the back of the store’ strategy. They have to walk though the aisles to get to that item and thus see a lot more product. Done right, you will see a surge in sales and conversion rates.
TM: Finally, what is Petco.com’s biggest challenge in the near future?
JL: Our biggest challenge is just making the shopping experience relevant to the user. We want to be able to make the Web site more personalized for the user. Because there are different customers for each pet, the first page can be very irrelevant to them. So the ability to personalize the site based on what we know about them, when they first get here, is really what we’re seeing as a big win down the road for us. But it remains the biggest challenge: the quantity of data and the technology behind that.