The company exited 2020 with nearly 19 million Neighbor's Club members. More than 11 million new identified customers and over 6 million reactivated customers shopped at Tractor Supply, and plans ahead include engaging them with new capabilities, marketing and product offerings.
Lawton also revealed details from its customer checkout survey that asks customers about their top criteria for selecting to shop at Tractor Supply. While responses are typically such factors as price, location convenience, product in-stock and customer service, the No. 1 and 2 criteria over the last six months have been cleanliness and safety.
“Never in my 20-plus years of retail, have I seen those two criteria at the top of a customer's decision-making criteria,” Lawton said. “And so that's why we've invested so much in those areas.”
Given the strong trends in its companion animal categories and the recent growth in pet ownership, Tractor Supply intends to grow its standing as a pet resource. Efforts will include expanding its self-serve Pet Wash locations across 150 to 200 stores and the build-out of 50 to 75 additional pet wellness centers.
Currently, about 1,600 stores have vet services in-store through mobile vet clinics, and pet prescriptions can be fulfilled online beginning this quarter. Its mobile app, launched last spring, now also offers on-demand veterinary advice via call, chat or email.
The company will, however, reduce the reduce the number of new Petsense store openings planned over the long term and expects to close 10 to 15 stores in 2021. Despite this move, Lawton noted that the business was doing well overall, and it remains committed to growing and investing in it.
In addition to naming Matthew Rubin as senior VP and general manager for Petsense last week, Tractor Supply Company will still open 10 new Petsense stores this year.
“I look forward to sharing with you more about the Petsense strategy as Matthew comes in. And it has an opportunity to engage and chart the future of the company, and we're very pleased with the performance,” Lawton noted. “The stores are doing well. The website's doing well. … We do know Pet Online is doing well and you can look at the industry data, and I know Matthew will be looking into [shifting toward e-commerce] as a way to accelerate our efforts there.”