Chewy is an online retailer that sells pet-related products and services from over 3,000 different brands.
The company, which is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, was founded in 2011 by Michael Day and Ryan Cohen.
Chewy, despite competing against industry juggernauts such as Amazon and Petco, has managed to create a business that generates annual revenues of close to $9 billion.
It has achieved that on the backbone of relentless customer obsession all while remaining focused on a single category: pets.
The firm’s success is directly correlated with its mission and core values, which we’ll analyze in the following sections.
Chewy Mission Statement Analysis
Chewy has crafted the following mission statement:
“To be the most trusted and convenient destination for pet parents (and partners), everywhere.”
Its world-class customer service acts as a basis for that thinking. For example, the firm regularly sends out handwritten notes individually tailored to each pet owner.
In the past, Chewy has won several Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service while beating competitors such as Amazon.
To that extent, its customer service can be reached 24/7 and throughout all 365 days a year has to offer.
The core business itself prides itself on convenience as well. Orders normally arrive within 1 to 2 days.
Chewy has even launched a feature called Autoship, which automatically sends out supplies based on the parameters a customer enters. And much like Amazon, purchases can be made within a few clicks.
And as previously stated, Chewy works together with 3,000 of the world’s biggest and most reputable pet brands. The firm can, therefore, fulfill almost any need a pet owner might have.
On top of that, Chewy has since partnered with licensed veterinarians to offer telehealth services for pets suffering from various medical conditions.
However, unlike Amazon, Chewy will remain in its lane and remain laser-focused on one thing: serving pet owners as good as it can.
Chewy Vision Statement Analysis
Chewy has not disclosed any vision statement as of the time of writing. Luckily, that doesn’t stop us from theorizing one on the firm’s behalf.
A vision statement is used to define the meaning and purpose of a business to its stakeholders, whether that’s employees, customers, or investors. It, furthermore, describes the long-term results a business aims to accomplish.
For instance, Amazon’s vision “is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Competitor Petco, on the other hand, defines its vision as follows: “Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World.”
Therefore, the vision statement of Chewy could look very much like this one:
“We strive to provide a convenient, one-stop shop for all your pet needs, whether you’re looking for food, toys, supplements, or anything else. Chewy’s goal is to make your life easier so you can spend more time with your furry friend.”
We can assume that Chewy’s executive team has defined a vision for the company, which it currently only discloses to its employees. That vision is consequently aligned with the firm’s core operating principles, which we’ll analyze in the following section.
Chewy Core Values
Chewy’s core values are directly tied to its mission of being the most trusted and convenient shopping destination for pet owners.
Those operating principles essentially serve as the firm’s north star that aligns everyone from the fulfillment center up to the leadership team around a common goal.
Management and direct superiors often have to spend less time explaining tactical work and can therefore shift their focus on stirring the firm into the correct strategic direction.
Chewy operates under the following core values:
1. Customers First
Chewy’s primary goal is to amaze its customers “with an exceptional, memorable, and reliable experience” every time they shop on the website.
The firm believes that a differentiated customer experience is the key to creating a long-term sustainable advantage over its competitors.
Ironically, Chewy took a page out of Amazon’s playbook, which is the company Cohen sought to disrupt when he started Chewy.
Amazon’s employees are guided by four core principles, one of which is “customer obsession rather than competitor focus.”
Cohen’s and Chewy’s customer obsession are well documented at this point. For instance, the founder and its employees have (and still do to this day) sent hand-written letters and flowers to the parents of deceased pets.
Chewy’s net promoter score (NPS), as a result of that customer obsession, is almost twice as high as that of its closest competitors.
2. Deliver Results
Another core value taken directly out of Amazon’s strategy is Chewy’s ambition to prioritize results over the act of just doing.
While Amazon is relentlessly committed to operational excellence, Chewy strives to be extraordinary in the work it delivers. Mediocrity, as the company puts it, is not an option.
However, reaching that excellence isn’t always going to be easy. Chewy’s customer service employees are, for instance, required to work at least one day on the weekend.
Cohen often cited that the firm’s early hires made the “ultimate sacrifice” by literally living in the office and driving the business forward.
After all, working hard and delivering results were the only real differentiators a company like Chewy had compared to its well-established contemporaries.
3. Earn Trust
Within the company, Chewy wants to create an environment in which employees can communicate openly, honestly, and transparently.
Employees are held accountable while arguments are being made using facts, data, as well as previous experiences.
Research shows that creating a trustworthy environment can have positive effects on both the business as well as its employees.
Claremont Graduate University Professor Paul Zak has discovered the following outcomes in his years of research:
“Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”
Results like these are certainly not surprising. If we, as employees, trust our leaders, then we are more likely to follow their suggestions and put in our best effort to fulfill those.
4. Operate At Depth
Operating at depth means that employees are comfortable using data and metrics to guide their decision-making.
Chewy tries to create an environment in which those employees can think analytically and critically when solving problems – instead of solely relying on their intuition.
It can, furthermore, be assumed that the company has implemented north star metrics, such as NPS or customer acquisition costs (examples), which staff can use as a baseline to guide their own decision-making process.
5. Accelerate Time
Basing your decision-making on a set of metrics and frameworks allows a firm to not only simplify but speed up the time it takes to come to a conclusion.
Chewy tries to establish clear objectives and set a scope for each task, which consequently minimizes complexity and ambiguity.
The firm’s leadership also emphasizes the fact that it’s acceptable to make mistakes in an effort to incrementally improve existing processes and “accelerate time” required to do so.
The mantra of failing fast is ingrained in the mantra of Silicon Valley startups, which have been responsible for some of the world’s biggest business successes and failures.
However, and almost by necessity, Chewy has iterated on that concept because it deals with a very sensitive topic: pets.
For example, the telehealth service it launched back in October 2020 was extensively tested before being unveiled to the public.
Chewy, furthermore, contacts your veterinarian via phone and fax to get approval for medical prescriptions – a process it has likely iterated on and improved over time.
6. Act As An Owner
Another core value taken right out of Amazon’s playbook is that Chewy’s employees should think of themselves more like owners and not just follow someone else’s lead.
Employees should treat the firm’s money and resources as if they were their own. Additionally, people should not be influenced by department agendas or (direct) superiors.
Instead, they are empowered to make fast and preferably data-driven decisions (coming back to the previous chapters) at their sole discretion.
Creating a sense of ownership not only makes you feel more involved but essentially removes the reliance on managers.
Lastly, an increase in ownership can also lead to greater employee satisfaction, which in turn increases loyalty and thus the time they stay with the organization.
7. Debate Openly; Commit Fully
Being an owner also means that everyone’s voices will not only be heard but heavily taken into account.
Whether it’s a customer service rep or president with 20 years of industry experience – as long as one’s argumentation is based on data and facts, it is going to be heard.
Chewy itself has an open-door policy that enables anyone to voice their concerns. The firm has, furthermore, earned dozens of rewards that highlighted the culture its leadership has created.
8. Build High-Performing Teams
Chewy, despite promoting ownership, organizes most of its work in small and dedicated teams that specialize in one area (e.g., customer service, accounting, HR, etc.).
Those very same teams, much like the individual, are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the company.
Chewy, however, does not rate team members and teams as a whole based on past credentials such as degrees. Instead, the work that a team or member performs within the organization is what evaluations are being based on.
Again, Chewy has taken a page right out of Amazon’s playbook. The Seattle-based company is well known for promoting warehouse and other ground workers to leadership positions. Some even had their college education paid for by Amazon.
Investing in and rewarding high-performing employees is one of the keys to maximizing loyalty and building an aligned company culture.
9. Keep It Simple
Many startups, including Chewy, are created on the premise of competitors moving slowly and not being able to keep up with modern times.
Established corporations have often created layers of managerial hierarchies that require various approvals and thus significantly slow down the time it takes to get anything done.
Chewy, by empowering individuals and teams, gets rid of the bureaucracy that plagues larger organizations.
10. Think Big
Lastly, Chewy encourages its employees to think big and follow bold visions that may seem hard to achieve.
One of the prominent examples of that approach is the previously-mentioned launch of Chewy’s telehealth service.
The global veterinary telehealth market, in 2021, was valued at $118 million and expected to reach close to $550 million by the end of the decade. Capturing a fraction of that market could certainly mean big business for the company.
Similarly, Chewy has embarked on other ambitious missions, for example when it partnered with Trupanion to begin offering pet health insurance.
Thinking big and entering (potentially) large markets is what will allow Chewy to grow from close to $9 billion in revenue into one of the world’s biggest online retailers.