How Walmart has gotten more and more into pet care over the years
Several years ago, Walmart added pet pharmaceuticals to its offerings. Soon thereafter, Walmart formed a relationship to offer pet insurance. Later, Walmart formed another relationship with Rover.com to offer Walmart shoppers discounts on pet services offered by Rover.com. These relationships did not satiate the team from Rogers Arkansas. Last month, Walmart announced that it would be offering doggie day care, dog bathing and even dog birthday parties in its stores!
Doggie Daycare arrives at Walmart
That’s right, Best Friends Pet Care has announced that it will be offering doggie day care and more in 10 Walmart stores in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. Doggy daycare will be available to Walmart shoppers in 1.5-hour increments. Dog bathing will also be available while one shops. Lastly, in the event you want to host a dog birthday party inside a Walmart Superstore, you can rent out the doggie daycare area for a private party.
How did pet care facilities and Pet Camp react to Walmart offering doggy daycare?
The minute the story of doggy day care at Walmart broke, there was a plethora of condemnation cloaked in the form of questions from pet care facility owners around the country:
- How could this work?
- Won’t there be too much turnover of dogs and staff to operate safely?
- Don’t Walmart shoppers just want the least expensive price?
- Will Walmart shoppers pay enough for quality pet care?
Honestly, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon for two reasons. First, I suspect that the folks at Walmart are pretty smart and that the risk to them of failure of these new ventures is pretty low. Yes, doggie day care in a Walmart might not work and there might be questions about the quality of the pet care offered at a venue that specializes in low prices, but the risk of failure probably falls more on Best Friends than it does on Walmart.
Walmart probably knows how much it needs to generate per square foot of store to make money and has calculated how many more shoppers are likely to come into a store to shop if they can drop their dog off for day care at the same time. For all I know, Walmart knows how long the average shopper spends in a store and has priced doggie day care in 1.5 hour increments to either get shoppers out in less than an hour and a half or to get them to stay longer (and presumably spend more money). In other words, Walmart has access to way more data to make this decision than those of us in the industry looking on in wonderment or amusement.
Second, Walmart and I are the same age and 60 years into things we have yet to cross paths. I’ve never been inside a Walmart (full disclosure, I was once in a Walmart parking lot in Nevada) and I don’t think anyone from Walmart corporate has ever been to Pet Camp (but they are always welcome to visit). I’m pretty comfortable with my arm’s length relationship with this behemoth. Walmart can implement doggie day care anyway they want and we’ll keep doing it our way. No superstore, no yellow smiley faces, and no racing for the cheapest price at Pet Camp – I think there are better ways to live better.
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting small businesses.