This sponsored article appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Pet Age Magazine
2019 has already been a big year for Animal Supply Company (ASC) headquartered in Irving, Texas. In February, the company announced that Goldman Sachs and Summit Partners purchased a majority share of the company. With its new investors by its side, the talented teammates at ASC are focused on what they do best: connecting trusted brands with independent pet retailers through operational excellence and innovative solutions.
ASC’s priority is to provide a simple and rewarding customer experience for their retail and brand partners. “We’re able to deliver on this promise to our partners through the expertise of our people,” said Don McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer. “Since our founding over 30 years ago, our focus as a team has been building the knowledge, connections and innovations the independent pet channel needs to compete in a constantly changing and complex marketplace.”
“One of the ways we’re helping them compete is by executing on the basics: ensuring the ordering process is user-friendly, having the highest level of efficiency in our warehouses, ensuring accurate and timely orders on our delivery vehicles, and then making sure our retailers have a positive delivery experience at the store,” added Tim Batterson, ASC’s Chief Operating Officer. From improving fill rates to seeking out the highest quality product assortment, ASC is doubling down on its commitment to provide the very best to its partners.
24/7 Mobile Access for Today’s B2B Buyer
Designed specifically for the needs of the independent pet retailer, the Animal Supply mobile app is a simple and personalized way retailers can order products through Animal Supply Company. Initially introduced in November 2018, the first version of the mobile app launched with features such as search by scanning a barcode, connected ordering between web and app, custom shopping lists, order tracking and more.
“We understand that our B2B customers expect the same digital experiences and features that they encounter as consumers,” said Angela Spears, SVP of Digital Strategy and Marketing. “That’s why we originally developed the app, and it’s why we’re working with our technology partners to continuously evolve it.”
ASC will introduce new features to the app and its ordering website throughout 2019. Planned improvements include new features designed to upgrade the user experience such as in-app initiation of returns and integrated promotions that are instantly applied at checkout. With advanced search powered by the company’s new Product Information Management software, both web and app will offer rich, user-friendly product content, upgraded images and searchable product descriptions such as search by ingredients.
Launching a Digital Solution to Connect Independent Pet Stores with Online Shoppers
Pet parents, like other modern shoppers, want choice when it comes to caring for their pet. That means a wide variety of high-quality products, and the ability to purchase from their favorite independent shop both in-store and online.
That’s why ASC expanded its technology investments to include a solution for independent retailers to ship product to their consumers using one of ASC’s 10 eCommerce fulfillment centers. Called Animal Supply Connect, the solution allows pet shoppers to make purchases from a retailer’s online store, and ASC then prepares and ships the orders. Products are typically delivered within two business days.
“There is a world of possibilities for retailers who embrace their local roots, yet can reach beyond traditional walls to expand their consumer base,” Spears said. “Embracing digital solutions that provide pet shoppers the option to shop where they want, when they want is the next frontier for independent pet specialty. It’s all about providing consumers both digital and physical shopping experiences – so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.”
“We have designed a platform that provides our independent retailers access to technology that levels the playing field,” added Spears. “This helps them achieve what once seemed impossible: competing in an ecosystem that’s been dominated by Amazon and Chewy.com.”
ASC will also help retailers integrate with Connect by introducing smart plug-ins with multiple leading eCommerce platforms. These plug-ins will allow for a simple connection to Animal Supply. Retailers interested in getting more information can visit: animalsupply.com/connect or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A with Angela Spears, SVP of Digital Strategy & Marketing
Q: In your 2+ years at Animal Supply Company, how have you seen the company change?
A: There is a recognition that historical business models must evolve to achieve meaningful value to our customers in today’s experience-driven market. Emerging trends, and the blend of online and in-store consumer shopping preferences are driving retailers to think and act differently. This means we have to diversify our business to create value-added products and services that help retailers succeed.
In order for us to generate more value for our retail customers, we have to understand more about their consumers and market changes that impact them, and then make decisions and investments accordingly. We have stepped outward and forward beyond traditional boundaries to do so, and it is energizing our organization.
Most importantly, we are united as a team, and if I have learned one thing in my time here, it is that we have the best people in the industry.
Q: What is the vision for mobile app?
A: The vision for mobile is so much bigger than a new ordering experience. It’s going to become highly personalized for the user, more intuitive, enabling retailers to have more powerful information in their hands wherever they go. It’s changing our business processes, models, and functional responsibilities. It’s changing everything we do, and we are better because of it.
Q: What are you most excited about when you think about the future?
A: The endless opportunities. Independents gaining ground in the online frontier. The emerging products that will change our pets’ lives. The role the distributor plays in the value chain. The growth of the overall category which is approaching $100B. This industry is full of passion, conviction and opportunity.