Chewy, the online retailer selling pet food and supplies, has enjoyed a “higher degree of marketing efficiency” from its communications, and is seeing many new customers turn to its site as they stay indoors due to COVID-19.

From a budgetary perspective, the company has “scaled back on marketing where we believe it’s not prudent to overspend during this time”, Sumit Singh, Chewy’s chief executive, explained on a conference call with investors. (For more, read WARC: How Chewy is building a “recession-resilient” business.)

Alongside an underlying need for careful financial stewardship given the wider economic climate, Chewy’s remaining expenditure is generating a heightened return, too.

“There is a higher degree of marketing efficiency and a greater yield, and the dollar invested is going much further,” Singh said.

As a consequence of COVID-19, the company has recorded accelerating demand from existing customers, and a wave of new visitors to its site.

“We have seen a strong influx of organic demand, and we’re utilizing and doubling down on our relationship- and content-driven marketing in this time to be able to reach consumers – and utilising those channels to be able to educate consumers, not only on the benefit of health and wellness, but also on how to engage with pets during [the time people must] stay at home,” Singh said.

Chewy is also putting a data-management platform at the heart of efforts to reach consumers. “We continue to remain disciplined and data-driven in every investment-related decision that we make,” Singh affirmed.

“The data-management platform, combined with our ongoing optimizations in marketing data science, is enabling us to more efficiently target existing and new customer audiences across the industry, resulting in more efficient use of our marketing spend.”

While Chewy is attracting new users, Singh admitted the firm cannot be “sure of the quality of the cohort that we’re acquiring” with regard to long-term value.

“[We] are banking on those efficiencies during this time, fully realising that we don’t really know the quality of the cohort that we’re acquiring,” he said.

“We stand ready to ensure that we're engaging with customers and reinvesting for long-term retention purposes … So, we might have to go back and actually invest a little bit of that back into retention. But we'll continue to be data-driven and disciplined around that as well.”

Sourced from WARC