August 2, 2005, 12:00 AM

The web is overtaking catalog orders at PetMed

The web accounted for 54% of all sales during the first quarter of 2005 at PetMed up from 52% for the same period a year ago, says Bruce Rosenbloom, chief financial officer.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


The Internet continues to build as a sales channel for PetMed Express Inc., a direct marketer of pet supplies and medicines. For the first quarter of 2005, the web generated revenues of $23.5 million for PetMed, which compares with web revenues of $18.4 million for the same quarter in 2004.

The web as a sales channel at PetMed, which ranks No. 116 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, accounted for 54% of all sales in the first quarter, up from 52% during the first quarter of 2004, says Bruce Rosenbloom, PetMed chief financial officer.

PetMed, which attracts more than 5.6 million visitors annually to its web store, is undertaking a number of initiatives to drive Internet traffic, Rosenbloom says. A redesigned web site that PetMed launched last November features improved search tools, more educational content and a more prominent catalog quick order application. Another new web feature-“Ask the Vet”-lets shoppers and pet owners send health and medical questions to a PetMed veterinarian or pharmacist by e-mail and receive a response, usually within 48 hours. “We are focusing on posting more health education content on the web site and in our customer communications,” says Rosenbloom.

An expanded call center with 92 full-time employees is also helping to expedite online order processing, Rosenbloom says. The call center is integrated with PetMed’s customer relationship management, e-mail management and live chat programs, which in turn gives service representatives instant access to customer records, including past purchases, while they are communicating online or by phone with a shopper.

With more access to information and more ways to personalize the shopping experience, PetMed is able to ship 72% of all orders within 24 hours and keep its returned merchandise rate to about 1.4% of total annual sales, Rosenbloom says. More personalization is also helping to drive more repeat sales, particularly in the first quarter for 2005. The company says repeat, or reorder sales, totaled $25.8 million for the first quarter of 2005, up 29% from $19.9 million for reorder sales during the same quarter in 2004.

“We will continue to focus on reorder sales in fiscal 2006 by initiating more personalized communication with specific relevance to our customers,” says CEO Menderes Akdag.



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