Arken Zoo and Precis Digital optimise for omnichannel using Google Ads store visits

Arken Zoo are a truly omnichannel company, with almost 100 retail outlets and a thriving ecommerce store. To take their digital strategy to the next level, they restructured their organisation to embrace the unique demands of an online/offline business, and worked with Precis Digital to measure the offline impact of their digital advertising.

Arken Zoo is Sweden's biggest specialist pet retailer, offering pet food and accessories, as well as services such as veterinary care and pet grooming. Founded in 1987 with just eight stores, they quickly expanded and now have 97 outlets. In addition, the business launched an ecommerce site in 2012, which has since grown to offer customers the quality of service, product assortment and knowledge they expect from the brand’s physical locations.

Understanding omnichannel

In 2015, Arken Zoo became part of Musti Group, where it has since been joined by pure-play online pet retailer VetZoo, among others. At around the same time, the company began a transition to a broader omnichannel strategy, bringing in a dedicated manager and team in Stockholm to oversee efforts throughout the Nordics, adopting omnichannel KPIs including store visits and cross-channel sales, and using internal development resources to implement omnichannel features such as subscriptions and click-and-collect.

Measuring omnichannel

Part of the inspiration for this new approach was a simple insight derived from comparing the performance of Arken Zoo with that of pure-play businesses under the Musti Group umbrella. “We noticed that online performance for pure ecommerce companies looked better than for an omnichannel company, and started to think about why that might be,” says Anton Jacobsson, Head of Omnichannel at Musti Group. “We realised that digital marketing plays a vastly different role at a company like Arken Zoo. Traditional ways of performance measurement were failing to take offline sales into consideration, leading to undervaluation of the investment.”

To address this problem, Arken Zoo worked with Precis Digital, a data-driven marketing agency. The key to their solution was finding a way to accurately estimate footfall traffic, which the team achieved using store visits data from Google Ads. By including this metric in their KPIs, Arken Zoo and Precis Digital were able to accurately measure the impact their digital marketing was having on offline revenue and traffic. “By looking at the in-store effect of online activity we’ve been able to capture the full return of our digital investments,” says Mickey Cavonius, Senior Digital Specialist at Precis Digital. “In turn, this has increased our understanding of how to allocate resources to maximise omnichannel growth and performance.”

Since the data revealed that a majority of store visits were being driven by mobile activity, one of the brand’s first actions was to launch a hyper-local mobile campaign, targeted at mobile shoppers in close proximity to an Arken Zoo store. “We implemented geographic radius targeting around our stores for brand and generic searches, and set a bid strategy to ensure top position,” recalls Mickey Cavonius. “Today these campaigns account for approximately 50% of store visits coming via Google.”

Valuing omnichannel

The result of this work has been beneficial to both Arken Zoo’s operations and bottom line performance. With a clearer understanding of the interaction between online and offline, Anton’s team have worked with their marketing counterparts to remove silos and reduce friction from the customer experience. Alongside this, targeted optimisation using the store visits data has enabled an increase of almost 100% year on year in average store visits, and a decrease of 52% in cost-per-store-visit.

“Since we started the partnership with Precis Digital in June, we have seen our store visits double compared to last year, in spite of the warmest summer in 200 years,” says Anton Jacobsson, summing up the success of the project. “Retail traffic and revenue in relevant stores also increased over the same period, and we are confident that our digital investments have played an important part in that success”.

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