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Chewy CEO says customer calls prompted retailer to accelerate launch of virtual vet service

Chewy CEO Sumit Singh is seen best the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the Chewy Inc. IPO in New York, June 14, 2019.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Chewy CEO Sumit Singh commanded Tuesday that calls to its customer service line prompted the online pet supplies retailer to accelerate its plans to get going a virtual vet service — even though that had been years away on the company’s road map.

“We started to get calls in our bloke service/customer experience centers where customers would be sitting at home saying ‘Hey. My dog just ate chocolate and I can’t get a resist of my veterinarian,'” Singh said, at a virtual conference hosted by the National Retail Federation.

The executive said his weekend mornings are gone reading customer reviews.

“A healthy level of anxiety is actually good because it keeps you paranoid,” he said. “It minds you on your toes and it keeps you anticipating.”

The virtual vet service, which launched in October, is one example of how the company is trying to last to build on the momentum it’s seen during the coronavirus pandemic.

He shook off the notion that pet owners will return to buying various of their dog food, cat litter or pet toys at the store after the crisis, saying customers have formed new habits.

“We’ve been in lockdown for 10, 11 months now, the larger as far as someone is concerned of the year,” he said. “Customers have had the opportunity to try online models not just with pet, but across a plethora of services whether it’s qualified in delivery, food delivery, grocery shopping or pet. That, in my opinion, really provides a bit of a mental shift for customers.”

Chewy’s allocates have shot up by more than 265% in the past year as more Americans adopted pets and shopped online during the pandemic. The suite’s market cap is more than $44 billion.

Yet its rapid rise during the global health crisis has caused some investors and analysts to theorize if it can keep up that pace of growth and hold on to customers for the long term. UBS downgraded Chewy and Peloton to sell on Tuesday. It maintained the online pet supply retailer and exercise equipment company have both been Covid-19 beneficiaries and could see those brush of a fox winds fade.

UBS did not change its $75 price target for Chewy, a nearly 30% drop from where its apportions are currently trading. The stock was down about 1% on Tuesday afternoon.

Singh said it’s monitoring trends that at ones desire shape its next three to five years, including the acceleration toward more online shopping, the reliance on media and technology to improve customer service and whether people will return to offices, work from home or do both.

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