Nov 19, 2020
Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better.” tagline appears to also apply to fur babies and their “90 million” pet parents, too.
The retailing giant announced last week the launch of Walmart Pet Care, an omnichannel program that offers pet insurance and services such as dog-walking and pet sitting.
Melody Richard, Walmart’s merchandising vice president, pets, said that the retailer’s new program was designed in response to a spike in pet adoption and ownership rates that coincided with the novel coronavirus hitting the U.S .
“As the most shopped omnichannel retailer for pet products, our new pet care services and support offer our customers trusted, convenient services that provide the exceptional care their pets deserve,” she said in a statement.
Walmart has partnered with Petplan to offer insurance for cats and dogs. The retailer’s customers can get up to 10 percent off the policies offered that cover “veterinary fees due to accident, injury or illness, including chronic and hereditary conditions.”
Each of the insurance plans include access to $1,000 worth of online veterinary appointments, and members can also schedule appointments and file claims through Petplan’s digital service.
The retailer has teamed up with Rover to offer dog walking and pet sitting services to customers. Through Rover’s website or app, Walmart customers can book appointments with over 300,000 providers in local communities across the country. Walmart customers using the service will receive a $20 gift card to spend with the retailer after using Rover the first time and then again after their fifth appointment within a six month period.
The new services that are part of Walmart’s offering appear to be an attempt to level the competitive playing field with Petco, PetSmart and other pet speciality retailers that offer grooming, training, vet care, etc. to their customers. Walmart introduced its PetRx pharmacy online and in-store service last year as a lower-priced alternative to rival services marketed by drugstores and speciality chains.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Can Walmart effectively negate some of the perceived service advantages offered by pet speciality rivals by partnering with third-party providers such as Petplan and Rover? Do you expect other non-specialty retailers in the pet category to begin offering similar programs to Walmart’s?
“Walmart is smart to leverage partnerships to round out its pet portfolio. Doing so mirrors its expansion into services and healthcare for people.”
“All smart, but expected moves by Walmart. You’ll see other retailers offering more services to match, lest they be left behind.”
“This is an interesting move for Walmart. Pet insurance is a fairly niche market, as stats show that only 2 percent to 3 percent of pet owners actually leverage pet insurance.”