How is the recent rebranding of Petsense impacting the retailer’s performance?
American rural retail chain Tractor Supply rebranded its pet-exclusive retailer Petsense last year. A year after, GlobalPETS gathers the insights of the company and marketing experts in how the business is going.
Matthew Rubin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Petsense, tells GlobalPETS that the company’s branding strategy has allowed it to develop a “crossover from customers, with Tractor Supply customers shopping at Petsense and vice versa.”
Rubin further mentions that the parent company’s customers are now visiting Petsense for premium pet foods and products, as well as grooming services.
On the other hand, Petsense-only customers are now using Tractor Supply “for lawn and garden supplies, clothing and other product categories that are complementary to their lifestyle,” Rubin says.
A significant part of Petsense’s rebranding was the creation of its loyalty club, known as its “Neighbor’s Club.” According to Rubin, the integration of the Neighbor’s Club initiative is paying off, as it now has over 30 million members and is a “key benefit.”
There are 192 stores operating across 23 states, 3 of them were opened in the last quarter to July 2023. By the end of the year, the company aims to open 10–15 new locations.
Attachment with Tractor Supply
Petsense is still strongly associated with its parent company, a connection that is evident within the branding itself, “Petsense by Tractor Supply.”
Trone’s Brand Experience Strategist Hunter Ellis suggests that compared to Tractor Supply, Petsense does not have as many customers or as much brand awareness as a stand-alone company. Keeping the “by Tractor Supply” serves as a “boost in terms of awareness,” he adds.
Catering to the premium customers
Trone’s CEO Douglas Barton recalls that the pet company’s previous logo had a very different look, while now it has a more “premium and sleek” style.
Before the rebranding, Petsense was spelled with a dollar sign (Petsen$e), whereas now it has a paw print in the P, and the dollar sign has been removed, showing their “pull away from being a bargain or value-driven store,” Barton notes.
Catering to the premium client base opens the business up to more opportunities such as pet grooming, healthcare service, wellness and preventative treatment, Trone’s CEO explains.
Targeting suburban areas
Unlike other major retailers, experts note that Petsense is targeting mid-small suburban areas. “It seems like Petsense is strategically trying to not be where PetSmart is or some of the other big box retail stores like Walmart.”
Tractor Supply is trying to reach an audience with gardening or agriculture backgrounds, so the company chooses to locate its stores away from large cities and position them closer to its desired clientele.
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