Claiming that rapid growth over the last few months has pushed up customer demand, Pets.com announced Wednesday that it is opening a 140,000 square-foot distribution center in Union City, California.
The San Francisco, California-based pet supply online retailer said that it opened a 75,000 square-foot section of the distribution center Wednesday and will complete construction of the building by the holiday season.
The new building is nearly five times the size of the company’s previous distribution center and will allow the firm to increase its product offerings to 40,000 items. The figure is quadruple the number of items found in a typical pet superstore, the company said.
“Our business has grown exponentially in the past several months, and our new distribution center will enable us to provide a superior customer experience as demand skyrockets,” said Pets.com CEO Julie Wainwright.
Distribution Key to Success
Pets.com claims to be the online market leader in an industry that is estimated to rake in some $23 billion annually (US$) from U.S. pet owners. Some of that spending is expected to move online in the future.
The company cites its distribution link as crucial to success, a credo that is backed up by many Internet analysts. Pets.com says that its merchandising team buys directly from manufacturers rather than from distributors, which allows them to offer a broader selection of items.
Wainwright, who was the CEO of Reel.com before joining Pets.com earlier this year, said that the new distribution center will allow the company to better its customer service from the time it takes the order to the time the box leaves the door.
“We’ll do whatever we have to make sure that the customer has a positive experience when shopping with us,” she said.
Pets.com benefits from having the backing of the largest e-commerce retailer in the world. Pets.com received first-round backing in March from Amazon.com and a second round $50 million capital injection from the company and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
The company was founded in 1998 as a spin-off of WebMagic, an e-commerce incubator. Among other ventures, WebMagic launched Toys.com, which was folded into eToys in 1998.