Pets at Home

The Problem

The go-to retailer for all your pet care needs, Pets at Home is a rapidly growing business with over 450 UK stores. Keeping pace with the changing face of retail, they have invested in many different technologies to fulfil their different store-based tasks over the years. But this reactive approach to technology selection has created the need to manage multiple device types, across different operating systems running specific software applications to meet each task.

Supporting such a fragmented technical estate had become unsustainable and Pets at Home had lost visibility of the equipment each store had as well as its age and performance. It was time to take back control.

Pets at Home

The Solution

As an existing hardware and software partner to Pets at Home, we recognised the challenge they faced and suggested the consolidation of their hardware estate to bring everything into a single device. The concept quickly cemented itself at the core of Pets at Home’s long-term technology strategy. This marked the beginning of the ‘ACE’ devicea project that would innovate Pets at Home’s in-store operations and communication, making life easier for store colleagues by empowering them to work differently and spend more time with both their valued customers and their beloved pets.

The Project

Defining Clear Project Objectives

Working closely with key stakeholders from Retail Operations to Finance and Service Delivery, we took the time to understand their individual goals. The project success criteria were clearly defined as:

  • Ensuring alignment with the wider business and technology architecture
  • Providing full visibility and full control of devices
  • Minimising security risks
  • Supporting current and future application needs
  • Improving the working lives of store colleagues

Device Selection

With everything from a colleague and support perspective planned to eventually sit on the ACE device, success hinged greatly on making the right hardware choice. Assessing multiple options, everything from tablets to handheld terminals was evaluated. It was agreed that the Zebra TC52x delivered the best solution for today with the greatest flexibility for the future.

In parallel to the ACE project, Pets at Home was developing a colleague collaboration strategy around Microsoft Office365, and this device choice also allowed us to recommend implementing voice communication for colleagues across all stores.

Further improving the colleague experience and increasing the ROI, we implemented a Blue Parrott C300-XT headset with built-in Push-to-talk to enable the new Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie feature on the device.

Previously limited by a low number of each device type in stores, ACE presented the opportunity to supply a good number of devices per store to comfortably run all tasks.

Software Development

With a new centralised Android operating system, to support ‘ACE’ all software applications needed to be redeveloped and this required significant resources. Pets at Home invested hugely, establishing their 90-strong in-house development team dedicated to building their proprietary software platform, Aurora.

Comprising of a suite of apps, the majority have been built by the Pets at Home team in their entirety with select specialist applications built in to ensure consistent presentation across the Aurora platform. Our Label IQ price labelling solution is one of those specialist applications, with software development supported by the TPP team.

A Fully Managed Service

Putting Pets at Home firmly back in control of their technology estate, the addition of our managed service offering gives them total visibility, all managed on a single platform.

With the powerful insight and detailed analytics provided, Pets at Home’s vision of how their devices are performing is now clear and they can make informed future decisions on the management and growth of their hardware estate.

Seamless Deployment

With over 450 stores across the country, a highly coordinated implementation plan was devised that considered the many moving parts. To support a smooth rollout, we enlisted the support of retail IT implementation specialist, KFP.

Staging and kitting each store’s devices ready for delivery, KFP engineers took care of the deployment, signing each store off upon completion.

It was critical to the success of the project for this to go well. A slick operation, in just five short weeks we had implemented an impressive 7,000 devices and headsets across all Pets at Home stores.

The Result

A single device with unified communications that runs their dedicated software platform, all supported through centralised visibility and management – this is just the start of ‘ACE’.

Together, we’re already thinking about the next colleague enhancement and TPP will be on hand to support Pets at Home through the process of getting the best possible value out of the ‘ACE’ solution.

More than empowering their store colleagues and improving store operations, how do we now take this same technology and enhance the customer experience?

Today, Pets at Home is leading the way with its revolutionary approach to in-store technology. We’re proud to be their trusted advisor and strategic partner and what we love about working with Pets at Home the most is their engagement and how they break down barriers to enable leading solutions as they strive for the best in class. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, they are driving innovation with all their strategic partners, and we continue to successfully rise to that challenge.

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