How will a new breed of technology protect our pets?
Pet recovery is a big business that helps unite families with their beloved pets. Merck Animal Health’s HomeAgain® program, a pet recovery and protection service that helps locate lost pets, has located more than three million pets during the last two decades.
The business historically focused on providing pet-tracking microchips through veterinarians in a business-to-business (B2B) model, with pet owners registering for related monitoring and recovery services through its direct-to-consumer (D2C) site. To meet a growing demand in the market for pet wellness information, products and services from trusted companies, the HomeAgain team embarked on a transformation of its D2C platform, enabling an improved customer experience for existing and prospective customers and accelerated business growth.
As the legacy technology enabling the website was not cloud-based or scalable, it was limited in its effectiveness and the user experience it could deliver. Removing these limitations was requisite for Merck Animal Health to meet the needs of and better communicate with their pet-owning customers.
Transforming the buyer experience and the business
Engaging with customers differently meant operating the business differently – all within a new technology platform – and would require strategic alignment of its operational and organizational structure to deliver a more holistic and engaging customer experience.
Prioritizing the customer journey89%
Almost 90% of CIOs/CTOs surveyed are refocusing their business function on the customer journey.
HomeAgain business leaders recognized that a complete transformation was required to modernize the tech stack supporting the program, including the website, subscription tool, customer data and marketing technology.
While there were many challenges that were technical in nature, the solution couldn’t simply be a technical solution – it needed to be strategic as well as aligned with its business growth objectives.
Leadership knew that achieving success required bringing in a team that was collaborative, had prior experience with complex digital transformations and could recommend and implement the technologies that would enable the HomeAgain program to meet its business goals.
Transformation at every touchpoint
EY professionals recommended the cloud-based, scalable Adobe Commerce platform. It would enable the business to provide a more robust customer experience, increase customer acquisition and retention, drive higher sales conversions and support the rollout of new products and to additional regions.
“Collaborating with the EY team and Adobe helped HomeAgain achieve a reimagined and elevated B2C commerce experience. The result is the growth of their D2C channel and ambitious growth plans,” says Giri Durbhakula, Managing Director, Technology Consulting, Ernst & Young LLP.
A network of technology partners and vendors became the foundation for a platform and technology stack that could deliver a more effective and consumer-focused experience. Technologies for e-commerce, customer relationship management, membership subscriptions and billing, supply chain and marketing were integrated and connected with back-office systems. New processes and better integration of internal functions were critical as well.
“Internal business alignment was a huge part of this project. This wasn’t just a website redo – it meant going through every aspect of our system and improving legacy processes, asking ourselves ‘Is there a better, more efficient way of operating?’” says, Bob Scheller, Executive Director at Merck Animal Health.
It meant going through every aspect of our system and improving legacy processes, asking ourselves - Is there a better, more efficient way of operating?
Agility and proven experience in complex and scalable e-commerce delivery was essential, and the EY team delivered on critical milestones to prepare the business for integrating Adobe Commerce, including:
- Customer data migration
- API development
- Architectural improvement and platform support
- Digital commerce experience design
- Back-end integration to supply chain procurement and financial reconciliation
- Subscription-based customer transactions
In developing the scalable subscription-based D2C commerce platform, EY teams focused on data migration and quality, technology integration and user experience design. The customer experience – for both pet-owners and veterinarians – was important, so creating a feature-rich, supportive environment was paramount.
Collaborating with the EY team and Adobe helped HomeAgain achieve a reimagined and elevated B2C commerce experience. The result is the growth of their D2C channel and ambitious growth plans.
A dynamic digital ecosystem
Healthcare (including pet care) has always been cyclical or episodic in nature: a customer issue prompts interaction with a provider, who addresses the issue. Then the customer disappears until the next issue arises.
HomeAgain’s new platform, however, creates continuous connection with customers, allowing the company to deliver personalized content, concierge services and subscription services.
This positions the business well for not just what’s needed now, but also what’s needed next. From new product offerings to new markets, HomeAgain has the platform to deliver.
The new cloud-based Adobe Commerce solution paves the way for additional insights, interactions and revenue – all while delivering a great customer experience and increasing brand loyalty. Ultimately, it will help fuel growth of Merck Animal Health’s consumer business on a global basis.
Digital experiences powering growth50%+
Over 50% of C-suite executives surveyed are significantly prioritizing digital experiences as part of their growth strategy.
The broad benefits of a B2C focus
As a result of these changes, HomeAgain is deploying its enhanced D2C engagement strategy and e-commerce platform globally. Pet owners are able to subscribe for pet monitoring and recovery protection, purchase products related to their interests and explore resources and information about pet care.
“The HomeAgain team embarked on a very forward-thinking way of changing its business. They are delivering on customer expectations, expanding how they serve their customers and utilizing technology to do that. I’m excited to see where Merck Animal Health will go with this next,” says Tom Swanson, Head of Industry Strategy and Marketing, Health and Life Sciences at Adobe.
Both the business and its customers benefit from this transformation in equal measure. The refreshed D2C approach has provided more incentive for customers to share their personal data, enabling the program to better tailor their online experiences, increasing loyalty and sales conversions.
The HomeAgain team embarked on a very forward-thinking way of changing its business.
The program now also has the infrastructure for its direct-to-consumer platform to potentially share an expanding portfolio of products and services with consumers.
Thanks to a scalable solution and access to rich customer data, HomeAgain is quickly growing its consumer business, adapting to customer expectations and expanding market share.
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