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03/09/2022

Petco Revamps Membership Program, Claims Great Dane-Sized Benefits for Chihuahua-Sized Price

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. is expanding the benefits for its paid membership plan, Vital Care, adding new dog-related rewards, introducing a plan tailored for cats, and taking the next step in retail partnerships. 

In order to improve accessibility to the program, Petco said it is launching an affiliate program that allows employees and customers of retail partners to use Vital Care rewards. Kicking off in spring, the affiliate program will include Rover.com, the San Diego Padres, Companion Protect, Central Garden & Pet, and more. 

Petco is also partnering with Hill's Pet Nutrition to leverage its Food, Shelter & Love program, which supports shelters. The company will be offering Vital Care benefits and discounts to shelters across the country to provide post-adoption support and keep adopted pets in their homes. Several pet adoption agencies have signed on to launch Petco's Vital Care Shelter Affiliate program, including the Jacksonville Humane Society, Oklahoma Humane Society, Brandywine SPCA, Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, and Friends of Pima Animal Care Center.

Loyalty Tracking to Be a Major Business Venture

Retailers across the world are leveraging membership programs to establish brand evangelists and create a source of continuous first-party data to be used across several business functions, including product development and marketing. 

[Related: 10 Hottest Retail Loyalty Plans in 2022]

Petco’s expanded membership program ties into a larger trend toward retail partnerships. For example, Nike Membership’s retail partnership with Dick’s Scorecard allows Nike consumers to use rewards across both brands. Starbucks is also looking into innovative partnerships, allowing consumers to pay for their coffee using crypto by working with Bakkt. Petco is leveraging a similar strategy by launching its affiliate program. 

While free or “freemium” loyalty programs currently take the lead, research from McKinsey shows that consumers spent an estimated $25 billion to $30 billion on paid loyalty programs in 2019, about a 25% to 50% growth rate from the previous year. Additionally, 63% of consumers were already members of at least one paid loyalty program.

Vital Care Membership Breakdown

Vital Care launched in October 2020 and currently has 160,000 pets enrolled. The membership costs $19.99 per month and benefits can be used in-store, online, or in the Petco app.

  • $15 Pals Rewards monthly for health and wellness needs 
  • $20 Pals Rewards for routine exams at a preferred vet or unlimited routine exams at participating Petco vet locations
  • 20% off full-service grooming for dogs
  • 20% off all litter for cats
  • 10% off all nutrition
  • An additional 5% off nutrition and litter when used with Repeat Delivery
  • Coming Soon: $20 off pet boarding, dog walking, or pet sitting services on Rover.com

Petco will be highlighting its program’s benefits through a dedicated "Petconomics," marketing campaign that highlights the membership's "Great Dane-sized benefits at a Chihuahua-sized price.”

Watch a segment of the Petconomics campaign below:

Jenny Wolski, senior vice president of omnichannel experience at Petco said that over the last two years, families have welcomed millions of pets into their lives, and with inflation posing a challenge, the Vital Care program keeps financial health in mind. 

"Caring for our pets shouldn't be complicated or break the bank. With benefits valued between $320 and $404 per year, plus helpful resources every step of the way, the plan saves pet parents both time and money,” said Wolski. 

"With personal finances top of mind for everyone right now, clearly and cleverly illustrating the smart 'Petconomics' of a Vital Care membership for pet parents is foundational to our role as their partner in pet health and wellness," said Katie Nauman, chief marketing officer at Petco. "Looking at this membership through the lens of personal finance gave us a timely and relevant way to connect with pet parents while also reinforcing the straightforward wellness and economic upsides to enrolling." 

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