Pets.com

Pet supply e-Commerce
Amazon Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
e-Commerce
Started:
1998
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
Multiple Reasons
Closed:
2000

Description

Pets.com was a pet supply website of the dot.com era through which users could order pet products such as food, accessories, and more. Founded in 1998, the company was based in San Francisco and garnered a lot of attention due to its eye-catching slogan and puppet mascot. It also got the attention from investors. One of those was Amazon, which owned 30% of the company.

It became highly publicized through a marketing campaign where its mascot made an appearance in 1999 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Super Bowl advertisements in 2000.

Ad

The Founder's Mindset

Unlock your potential as a founder. Discover the mental strategies that the best startup founders use to build successful products. In this video series, we’ll guide you to think like a top startup founder. Get free access to The Founder's Mindset →

Cause of Failure

Despite the boost in sales caused by the publicity its mascot earned, the company was losing money every month. This was due to mismanagement issues that had started appearing early on. After nine months of incurring losses, Pets.com was forced to sell its assets and use its remaining funds to pay investors back. Pets.com became one of the most notorious victims of the dot com bubble that occurred in the 2000s. As of 2020, the domain has been bought by Petsmart.

Pets.com was probably too early to the market as many people in the 2000s preferred to buy products from brick-and-mortar stores instead of ordering online. It was also tricky for the business to come up with economical ways to ship heavy bags of pet food.

All this and more contributed to the losses it faced on most of its sales, which eventually caused it to shut down.

References

The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders

Every week, I’ll send you Failory’s latest interviews and articles, curated resources for founders, and updates on how I’m growing the site to $10k/mo. Join other +7,000 startup founders!