Chewy.Com, often called simply Chewy, was founded in 2011 by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day, originally under the name Mr. Chewy. Cohen had wanted to open an animal rescue site but once he saw the number of sites already in operation, he thought he might do better to open a pet food and supply business and donate cash to the rescues already in operation. Chewy donates a portion of every sale to various rescues around the US.
The company is an online retailer who offers more than 30,000 pet products, mainly for dogs and cats. Its primary product is pet food, and it offers a range of options from gourmet to discount brands of foods. Other products include leashes, grooming tools, toys, and strollers. Delivery for purchases over $49 is free and customers can also opt for scheduled food deliveries. Orders can be placed online or by phone.
The company lost money their first 6 months in operation but turned things around. In 2012, Chewy had an annual revenue of $25 million. The next two years saw an increase in customer traffic of more than 500%. The company opened two new distribution centers, one in Florida, the other in Sparks, Nevada, to help meet customer demand. In 2016, after being in business for only 5 years, the company stated annual revenue was $900 million.
In addition to sales, the company also employs artists and writers who are given the task of composing hand-written postcards for all new purchases. Artists also paint detailed images of customers’ pets at random. Customers who submit photographs of their pets to customer service, or through Facebook or other social media sites, such as Twitter, are entered into a drawing a special gift.
In April of 2017, Petsmart announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Chewy for $3.35 billion, which is the biggest E-commerce acquisition in history.
In an article dated February of 2018, Forbes stated that Chewy.Com had surpassed Amazon in pet food market sales.
Not everyone is happy about the acquisition of Chewy.Com Several manufacturers are pulling their products from Chewy’s line up, including Fromm Family Foods, based in Mequon, Wisconsin, and Champion PetFoods, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, and Tuffy’s Pet Foods, which makes NutriSource, PureVita, and Natural Planet. All three companies believe that this move is about money and volume sales, not quality and meeting the needs of their customers’ pets.
Chewy seems to have picked up some customer service skills, however. In January 2019, after a customer left a negative review on their website, Chewy not only responded, but refunded the customers money and made suggestions for another product she might like that got good reviews.
Chewy’s stock has been doing well so far. Stock prices have risen in 2019, perhaps because owner Amazon has been pushing deep discounts and had their customer service reps act as if they are simply bonkers over your pet.
Due to the coronavirus and subsequent quarantine, many pet stores were forced to close. This allowed Chewy.Com to take up the slack and the company’s outstanding second quarter profits for 2020 should cause concern for brick and mortar stores.