#RICE24 Community Convos: Justin Tichy, Chief Operating Officer, Petco  - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

#RICE24 Community Convos: Justin Tichy, Chief Operating Officer, Petco 

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up from $123.6 billion in 2021. And a lot of these consumers are millennials and Gen Z, who have adopted entirely new ways of browsing, buying and engaging with brands.  

That’s why companies like Petco are doubling down on the omnichannel customer journey, and designing experiences that are memorable for pets and pet parents. 

We’re thrilled to have Justin Tichy, Chief Operating Officer of Petco, on our speaking faculty and a new part of the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo community! 

As COO, Justin oversees all operations and execution for Petco’s nearly 1,500 pet care centers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. This includes the health and wellness company’s veterinary, grooming and training services, to ensure holistic alignment and management of the customer experience.  

A sales and retail veteran, Justin brings to Petco an impressive history of accelerating business growth through operational excellence that delivers outstanding customer experiences. With more than 25 years of experience leading high-energy, results-oriented teams, his expertise lies in driving transformative growth at large, industry-leading retail organizations.  

Prior to joining Petco, Justin served as President of Sales at Confie, one of the largest privately held insurance brokers in the United States. Previously, he held key leadership positions at Best Buy Co., Inc., Target Corp., and Walmart Inc

Check out the Q&A below to learn more about Justin’s impressive background! (PS: He’ll be speaking in the C-Suite Corner on Thursday, June 6 at the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo. His panel will be a dynamic conversation on: Retail Fundamentals – What Keeps You Up at Night?) 

Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (RICE): What do you enjoy most about your role?  

Justin Tichy: I’ve worked in retail for more 30 years and have loved every second of it — from the early days of my career loading trucks and driving forklifts, to the awesome opportunities I have at Petco to spearhead major strategic initiatives. What I love most about serving as Petco’s Chief Operating Officer is working directly with all of our Petco team members (we call each other Petco partners). Every single one of our Petco pet care center partners is passionate about doing what’s best for pets and their families, from our partners in the aisles to our veterinarians, dog trainers, pet groomers and more. We have some of the most dedicated and compassionate people in retail. Their commitment to providing the best quality of care is truly inspiring. Serving as a source of support and guidance for them so, in turn, they can help pets be healthy and happy, is my grounding and constant objective. I strongly believe employee experience and customer experience go hand in hand.   

RICE: What excites you the most about the retail industry? Is there a challenge or trend you’re most excited to tackle?   

Tichy: I’m most excited about all the new and unique ways we’ll continue making pet health and wellness solutions available. Our objective is to inspire and lead pet parents through a personalized, 360-degree experience that blends the best of Petco’s digital and physical footprint. This comes to life in several ways, including:   

  • Petco pet care centers, which feature a well-rounded suite of high-quality services and supplies that make it easy for pet parents to prioritize their pets’ health and overall wellness. On a daily basis, veterinarians, dog trainers, groomers and knowledgeable Petco partners work together and walk families through everything they need to know to care for their pets’ most individual needs.   
  • A growing network of in-store veterinary hospitals and mobile vaccination clinics that provide high-quality veterinary care with cutting-edge technology — from a pet’s first vaccines to treatment for medical conditions and everything in between.   
  • Personalized shopping experiences through the Petco app, which enables pet parents to manage their pet’s complete health and wellness portfolio — an offering that is unique to us, leads to better health outcomes and keeps customers coming back.   

RICE: What do you believe are the key trends shaping the future of retail?   

Tichy: The evolution of customer-first partnerships. As a retailer, understanding your strengths is key. The best brands define their ‘lane’ and focus on mastering it. In recent years, we’ve identified key players in spaces outside of the pet industry and have come together to reach new pet families and deliver on our mission of improving lives.  
We collaborated with Nationwide to craft customizable, data-driven pet insurance and care solutions, and help families of all budgets and U.S. geographies prioritize their pets’ needs. We also launched Petco store-in-stores at Lowe’s to help customers conveniently cater to their pets’ needs as they upgrade their home setup, and increased access to veterinary care — particularly in rural communities — through mobile Vetco Vaccination Clinics that stop by select locations. With Marriott, we’re making traveling with pets safer, easier and more memorable with a curated a travel collection of pet travel essentials and over 80,000 vacation properties that meet Petco’s standards for pet safety, health and wellness.   

RICE: What do you believe is the most underestimated leadership trait today?   

Tichy: Understanding your team’s needs and challenges, and constantly doing everything you can to improve their experience. Every person, team and location are different. My favorite part of my job is visiting and working with Petco pet care center partners. It fills me with energy and motivates me to always do what is right for them. In retail, you’ve got to stay close to those who directly support and take care of customers. It creates loyalty as well as a positive and collaborative culture, which in turn delivers the best possible customer experience.

Looking for more details on this year’s event and our incredible speakers? Be sure to check out the official Retail Innovation Conference & Expo content hub.

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