Lowe’s and Petco have decided to join forces and give hardware-shopping families one less stop to take care of their pets' needs. The two companies announced on Thursday that they are piloting a store-within-a-store concept at 15 locations across the South by April 2022.
It may sound like an odd marriage, but Lowe’s said the research speaks for itself. As the pandemic has forced many people to work from home, many consumers have found a new level of comfort, security, and emotional connection with their pets. A Lowe’s study showed that more than 100 million new pets entered U.S. homes since the start of the pandemic.
"Our pets' place in our hearts and homes has never been more front-and-center, and our responsibility to provide them with a safe, healthy and stimulating home environment is an essential part of Petco's Whole Health philosophy," said Nick Konat, Petco's chief merchandising officer.
"Bringing Petco's pet care expertise, high-quality products, and veterinary and grooming services to Lowe's helps make it easier than ever to create healthy, happy homes for pet parents and the pets they love."
What pet owners will now find at Lowe’s
While Lowe’s already carries a smattering of pet-oriented products – dog beds and cleaning supplies, for example – its partnership with Petco will allow it to expand its selections to pet nutrition and health and wellness supplies and services.
If all goes according to plan, the Lowe’s and Petco arrangement is expected to offer vaccination clinics, microchipping, prescription pest prevention, and mobile grooming as the concept expands. The partnership will also place Petco employees in-store alongside Lowe’s home improvement specialists.
More store within store partnerships expected
If retail experts are reading their tea leaves correctly, what Lowe’s and Petco are doing is a harbinger of things to come. Kohl’s and Sephora have already teamed up to create at least 850 Sephora shop-in-shops by 2023, as have Apple and Disney, and Ulta and Target.
One retail expert said the shop-in-shops idea isn’t new, but it may be necessary to keep the doors open and the cash registers ringing.
John Cui, associate professor of operations and information management at Georgetown University, told ModernRetail that shop-in-shops are on the rise as more brick-and-mortar retailers have been struggling to encourage consumers to keep shopping in stores.
“Because brick-and-mortar retail stores are trying to survive, they’re trying to add more in-store experience,” Cui said.
Offering stores within stores can also be good for a retailer's relationship with consumers.
“The idea is that you are getting an added layer of service from a sales perspective. They know the product better. It’s not just something on the shelf,” said Lanny Geffen, director of customer experience at Fuse Create. “I think that there’s a deeper level of relationship and consumer experience when it does get to being a shop-in-shop.”