More Competition for Pet Stores?



It seems that a new company’s thrown its hat into the ring in an attempt to take down the major e-commerce players. Enter Pawp, a direct-to-consumer website that’s targeting millennial pet owners.


According to the company’s website, its mission is, “to make pet parenting simple. With Pawp, you can shop the highest-quality food and products, refill your pets prescriptions, book your preferred service providers, and get trusted information from our original content, all in one place.”


On the surface, Pawp seems to have the right idea. Its no secret that modern pet parents are gravitating toward the ease and convenience of online shopping. In order to differentiate itself from Chewy and the other online giants, Pawp currently offers a curated selection of products from just over two dozen brands with the option to book pet service appointments through its online portal.


Other elements—a personalized profile, purchase recommendations, next or two-day delivery—are straight out of Chewys playbook, and Petcos, and PetSmarts...


To me, Pawp seems to be a Dr. Frankenstein-esque creation that’s cobbled together with concepts from Open Table, Amazon and Yelp, minus the community contribution aspect. While it’s built around a lucrative market, I believe it’s too narrow in its product offerings and its scope of solely targeting millennials. Millennials represent a growing faction of pet parents, yes, but they aren’t alone.


When it comes to pricing, purchasing products from Chewy, in particular, is still cheaper. There’s no added incentives, loyalty programs or discounts for purchasing an item from Pawp. While the company prides itself on the laundry list of standards it holds its partners to, it’s essentially the same set of values every other pet store is looking for.


The only part of its business model that jumps out is the feature to book appointments online. Although there are websites already offering that service, none of them seem to have an e-commerce element. Still, keep in mind that if Pawp does start to see success with this venture, Chewy has enough resources to throw its weight behind an online booking model of its own. 


Theres just not enough ingenuity behind Pawp to take it as a serious threat. Sure, it’ll likely find some sort of niche footing in this industry, but there’s bigger, scarier Goliaths to worry about.


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