In retail trade, the participation of large chains of stores through the internet has become increasingly indispensable. Some brands invest in their own e-commerce, while others take advantage of so-called marketplaces, which function as large virtual storefronts. Although counterintuitive, the opposite movement is also gaining strength: the arrival of brands native to the digital world at physical points of sale. This is the case of Petlove, which opened, this Thursday 6, a 600 square meter store in the Santana neighborhood, in the north of São Paulo, in an investment of 2.8 million reais. The investment is part of a robust plan to invest 40 million reais for store openings by the end of this year.
The Santana unit is the brand’s fifth physical operation. In addition to two kiosks, there are three stores — the other two in the neighborhoods of Morumbi and Tatuapé, both in São Paulo. The metropolis of São Paulo has been used as a guide for the expansion plan for physical stores, which should soon gain traction for other states. “Our idea is to have 10 stores by the beginning of next year, apart from the kiosks. We are testing three different store concepts to collect information and understand which are the best formats to expand”, says Petlove CEO Talita Lacerda. The company intends that in three years one third of its revenue will come from the physical operation.
While its rivals are notable for betting on megastores, Petlove wants to grow in a format closer to the “neighborhood”, focusing on an assortment formed by exclusive products and an environment with a leisure area and digital integration. Each store model can range from 250 square meters to 1,000 square meters. The idea, according to Lacerda, is to test the different models to choose the most appropriate one to take the franchise model to other states. “We are investing 40 million reais in this phase 1. And the other waves of investment will depend on the model to be chosen. Part of the expansion will be via own stores, but another part will be through the franchise model”, she adds.
In a way, the expansion through physical stores dates back to the company’s origins, when its founder, Marcio Waldman, owned a veterinary clinic, at the time called Petsupermarket. After nearly going bankrupt in the 2000s, Waldman saw an upward curve in the sale of pet products over the internet and turned his strength to it, ending the physical operation of his clinic. Today, however, Petlove has become one of the three major retail companies focused on pets in Brazil, with estimated sales for this year of approximately 1.2 billion reais, an increase of more than 40% compared to to 2021. In the Brazilian market, only two other retailers reach billionaire revenue: this is the case of Petz and Cobasi. For consultant Alberto Serrentino, founder of Varese Retail, the opening of physical stores by a traditional e-commerce brand makes sense to meet the interests of consumers. “Consumer journeys are not ‘single-channel’. There are many categories where physical contact with the product, service quality and customer service make a big difference. It is a path taken in Brazil by Amaro and Mobly, and in the United States, above all, by Amazon”, he says.
The company also received in recent weeks a contribution from Globo Ventures, the business accelerator of the Marinho family, owner of Rede Globo television. Part of Petlove’s physical expansion has even been supported by a round of investments made a year ago, when the company raised 750 million reais in an investment led by Riverwood and which also had the participation of funds such as Kamaroopin, Softbank, Kaszek and Monashees. “Behind these investments, there is a long-term vision, considering that we are inserted in a market worth more than 50 billion reais, which is growing and fragmented”, explains Lacerda. Without specifying a date for this, the CEO says that the company is studying, for the future, its IPO on the stock exchange.
In addition to the expansion of physical stores, Petlove wants to grow its area of health insurance plans for pets. With the incorporation of PortoPet, Porto Seguro’s pet health plan, the company has found a new niche to grow. “We are establishing partnerships with large companies, such as P&G and Coty, which offer the health plan as a benefit to their employees. We already have more than 20 agreements closed with other companies”, says the CEO. It is possible to purchase the plans individually. The most expensive plan costs BRL 99.90 per dog per month and includes, in addition to support for an affiliated network, a discount and free shipping for medication purchases.
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