First Look: Petco’s New Pet Care Center Concept Store

Petco’s new concept store is a physical manifestation of its omnichannel customer experience, while keeping some especially unique shoppers in mind.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
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Designed through data, Petco’s concept store in San Marcos, CA, aims to improve the in-store experience for both pet owners and store employees.

The new pet care center is intended to be a physical manifestation of the retailer’s omnichannel customer experience," Petco CEO Ron Coughlin noted on LinkedIn.The remodeled store, one of more than 1,500 Petco locations, now has a refreshed layout complete with a robust nutrition center, digital signage to make navigating the store easier, and many more features for a seamless shopping experience.

The biggest inspiration on this project – and always – were pets, their parents and our Petco partners,” a Petco spokesperson tells RIS. “Using customer and employee survey insights as well as call center data, we zeroed in on areas where we could most improve our in-store experience, with emphasis on how it integrates into consumer journeys that began online." In addition to stores, Petco also operates a complete online resource for pet health and wellness at and on the Petco app.  

"This came to life through a new wayfinding system that accommodates pet parents’ shopping habits by digitizing signage with imagery corresponding to specific categories.”

In addition to a streamlined layout featuring new digital signage to make navigating the store easierthe Petco pet care center is centered on providing maximum levels of convenience to pets and their parents. From integrated check-in for veterinary services and grooming, to dedicated areas for buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPUS) and curbside order pickup, the location boasts seamless shopping throughout.

The concept store also offers exclusive experiences, such as in-store VIP events for Pals Rewards and Vital Care members. There’s also a robust nutrition center complete with JustFoodForDogs fresh and frozen food, as well as on-site nutrition experts, reinforcing Petco’s commitment to caring for the whole health of pets.

Store Design for a Different Shopper

When designing a store that includes some especially unique shoppers, a lot of out-of-the-box decisions need to be made. To make the new San Marcos location as pet friendly as possible, Petco closely collaborated with its team of expert veterinarians and pet behavioralists.

small pets

The new floor plan includes privacy barriers for veterinary patients and grooming clients that are shy, varied floor surfaces to prevent four-legged slipping, and raised small animal habitats to prevent stress from visiting dogs.

“We’re even revamping our in-store lighting to simulate natural sunlight patterns and create a more soothing environment as bright retail lighting can be a stressor to pets and people,” Petco says.

In addition to running retail and services, in tandem with Petco Love (formerly the Petco Foundation), an independent nonprofit organization, the company works with and supports thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country. Through in-store adoption events, Petco has helped find homes for more than 6.5 million animals. 

“We see this new pet care center concept as a true test-and-learn lab – a place where we can test and try new things quickly, learn from how they perform and leverage those learnings across our broader brick and mortar footprint,” the retailer says. “We’re looking forward to hearing feedback from pet parents and our Petco partners that can then be used to deliver improvements to pet care centers nationwide.”