Lithys 2016: Petco - Total Community All Star

Lithys 2016: Petco - Total Community All Star

brand-logo.pngCompany: Petco

Contact: Melanie Morrill (Mgr, Social Media and Content)

Community: Petco Community

Lithy category:  Total Community All Star 


With more than 50 years of service to pet parents, Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that focuses on nurturing powerful relationships between people and pets. We do this by providing the products, services, advice and experiences that keep pets physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged and emotionally happy.


Our road to Lithium


Having pets undoubtedly means having questions about pet care. As a leading pet care retailer, Petco understands that pet parents often turn to online search first when they have questions, but also that the internet is fraught with misinformation about proper animal care. The concept of a Petco owned community was born out a clear need for expertly crafted and reviewed content that is based on years of animal care experience and knowledge.


In 2012, after careful review and consideration, we chose Lithium as our platform provider and launched the first iteration of the Petco Community, called “Pet Talk Place.” Our goal was to live our brand values and realize our vision of being the “trusted source” for pet parents. In order to realize this goal, we needed a best in class platform that would allow us to connect with our customers, and connect our customers with each other—ultimately driving down customer service costs by providing a space for self-serve resolutions.


Despite fantastic results in the first few months following the launch of Pet Talk Place, we realized that we had run out of things to talk about, and there was growing need for fresh and relevant content. At the same time, we noticed a shift in customer expectations in terms of responsiveness. People wanted more content, and they wanted it fast. To address both of these issues, we implemented LSW in 2013. With LSW, we now have access to questions that are top of mind for our customers, and can determine the priority in which those questions need to be addressed based on frequency and influence of the person posting the question. We create at least five unique pieces of content each week, spanning all pet categories.


The benefits of having both Community and LSW


In 2012, we decided that if we were to going to successfully fulfill our goal of being the “most trusted source” for pet parents, we needed a clear digital customer experience strategy to help us shift from talking at our customers, to actively participating in conversations our customers wanted to have. In order to do this, we set out to rethink our approach and start with the basics—discover pet parent needs, put a plan in place to address those needs, execute based on those needs and then continue to reassess and build on our successes. The Lithium community platform—in conjunction with LSW—is what allows us to execute against that strategy.


The Petco Community combines expert information with peer-to-peer advice for a comprehensive site that provides blog content, forums, lead-generation contests and a unique knowledge base, each serving the range of pet verticals. LSW allows us to share community content with members, associates and prospective customers quickly and consistently. Having both tools means we are able to serve our customers wherever they are in the social web, on their terms, and in a consistent manner.


The enhanced reporting functionality offered by LSW not only enables us to better share our customer care story with leadership, it provides a more sophisticated reporting structure that demonstrates our support of the KPIs our social teams were goaled to achieve.


Our results


In short, with a Total Community approach, we have managed to meet digital customer expectations tenfold. One of our finest accomplishments this year was earning the “Facebook Responsive Badge” before any of our competitors, and before any other retailer, making us best in class in terms of social customer support. This means we are responding to 90% of our customers within five minutes of contact. To put that into perspective, four years ago, our average response time was 16 hours. Needless to say, our gains in efficiency have allowed us to respond to three times the volume of comments and questions, in a shorter time and in a manner that allowed us to build on each learning in the form of meaningful content.


Strong content and participation in our community has resulted in tremendous improvements year over year in terms of community health and traffic.


Community Health:


Average CHI score 2013

Average CHI score 2014

Average CHI score 2015





Traffic Totals for FY15:

  • 62% increase YOY Total Page Views: 3,942,000 (FY14: 2,430,000)
  • 68% increase YOY Visits: 2,852,000 (FY14: 1,702,000)
  • 65% increase YOY Unique visitors: 2,533,000 (FY14: 1,538,000)
  • 28% increase YOY Total Registered Member: 15,008 (FY14: 11,726)
  • 22% increase YOY Completed registrations: 3,282 (FY14: 2,685)


An unexpected benefit from all of the content we have created for the community came in the form of efficiency in our social and digital ad spend thanks to pixels that allow us to retarget users with relevant promotions and sales that are based on content consumption behaviors. Our overall Facebook spend per ad has decreased by 60%, thanks to these efficiencies.