Wag.com Offers to Take Heavy Lifting out of Pet Ownership

Jul 07, 2011 11:06 PM  By

Quidsi, the parent company to ecommerce sites Diapers.com and Soap.com, is now going to the dogs—and cats, and birds, fish, reptiles, gerbils and other small domestic livestock. This week the company announced the launch of its new site, Wag.com, catering to pet owners who would rather order up their pet supplies online than lug those large sacks of dog food and kitty litter home from the local market.

The new site opened its doors with 10,000 SKUs of pet-related items: not just food but treats, toys, grooming supplies, clothing and pet health products. Cat and dog owners can also click through to species-specific special boutiques with tabs like “Posh Puppy”, “Canine Classic” and “Culinary Cat”.

Landing pages in those special boutiques emphasize a carousel of large product shots above the fold, with clickable product categories listed in the bottom half of the page. Visitors to the boutiques can clik on those oversized product shots to “Quick Shop” the item from a pop-up that lists sizes and colors, shows prices, and can insert the product into the user’s shopping cart.

Wag.com shares a shopping cart with the other Quidsi shopping sites, Diapers.com, Soap.com and BeautyBar.com. New users need to register to get an account and then log in with that account to shop, but visitors who have already purchased from one of the other Quidsi sites will be able to use that existing account to buy at Wag.com. On the Wag site, tabs in the top left corner let visitors switch to the Diapers and Soap Web sites for further browsing.

“Quidsi is all about making our customers’ shopping experiences more convenient and their lives easier,” says Earl Gordon, marketing director for Wag.com. “Adding the ability for pet owners to get all their consumables and non-consumables in one convenient way is a key value prop for our sites.”

Customers who buy from the Wag.com site by itself will get free two-day shipping on orders above $49. But shoppers who include purchases from more than one of the Quidsi sites can earn that same free two-day delivery by spending only $39.

Apart from the incentive to use the other Quidsi sites, the blanket offer of free shipping from the Wag.com product line may turn out to be one point of difference between the site and its online pet-supply rivals, says associate marketing director Matt Lindenberg. “It’s a pretty common thing among our competitors to advertise free shipping for orders over $59, but then exclude things like bags of pet food or kitty litter—all the heavy items that you’re actually most likely to want to buy online,” he says. “We offer free shipping on our whole inventory. And if customers shop some of the other sites, they can get up to the $39 limit very easily.”

Gordon says Wag.com’s opening inventory of 10,000 items is reasonably competitive with the offerings at most local brick-and-mortar pet stores. (But click here for a blog post from Multichannel Merchant senior editor Tim Parry on the limits of online product selection at Wag.com.)

In a separate news item from Quidsi, WWD.com is reporting that Quidsi will open a brick and mortar store for its BeautyBar cosmetics and personal grooming brand. The store, planned to occupy 1,600 square feet in an upscale mall in Manhasset NY by the end of the summer, will feature 75 high-end brands from BeautyBar’s product line, possibly including Philosophy, Bliss and Malin + Goetz, along with makeup artists and two treatment rooms. The aim will be to get some of these products actually into the hands of interested buyers—something Beautybar.com currently does by offering online shoppers three free samples.

The store test is all the more interesting because Quidsi was purchased last year by online retail powerhouse Amazon.com for $500 million.