Petco takes the lead with lower prices, wider product availability, and customer-friendly online shopping. Specialized services such as dog training and grooming are appealing extras. Pluses aside, some reviewers report tardy deliveries, orders that never arrived, and unsatisfactory customer service from Petco.com.
According the Petco reviews and our independent research, the strength of the stores and e-commerce platform lies in prices that often beat PetSmart and in the wide selection of products. Sales are constant online and free shipping is included in purchases of $49 or more. Specific brand-name and product sales are particularly helpful, yielding an extra 5-15 percent off. And a loyalty membership, Petco Pals, offers the equivalent of a 5 percent discount on purchases (must be claimed within 45 days) as well as access to exclusive deals and preferred pricing.
And yet, the few current Petco reviews posted by shoppers express dissatisfaction with online customer service. At Site Jabber and Reseller Ratings the Petco reviews report weak performance when it comes to fulfilling orders in a timely fashion or, in some cases, fulfilling them at all. One shopper says an item ordered shortly after Black Friday had not arrived two days before Christmas and another reports ordering emergency supplies and paying for next-day shipping only to receive the item three days hence. Several Petco reviews gripe about the site being out of date, with one noting that an order for a bird cage was initially accepted but a subsequent email indicated the item was on backorder and yet another weeks later said the order had been automatically canceled because the item was still not available. Reviewers also write that unfulfilled orders are difficult to cancel and refunds hard to claim. We read one post asserting that store employees are sometimes short on knowledge about the inventory.
Petco offers a smattering of services -- dog training and grooming, occasional preventive-care clinics -- at many of its brick-and-mortar stores. Six-week group training classes cost $110 and a private one-hour session costs $70 (buying a four- or six-session package reduces the per-session price); rescue dogs always qualify for a discount. Grooming fees start at $72 for a package that includes bath, hair brush and cut, nail clipping and cleaning, and ear cleaning. Vet clinics operate at select locations on a rotating basis. (The Petco website hosts an advice blog, called Wholepets, featuring articles on pet care.) Petco recently set up nine Pooch Hotels that offer doggie daycare, boarding, and a spa center. And several years ago it established a subsidiary chain of Unleashed by Petco stores that are far smaller than traditional outlets and cater only to cats and dogs.
In sum, low prices and product selection are the primary reasons to choose Petco.