Danielle Moore, standing, poses for photos with Kana.
Gulf Today Report
Amid the on-going coronavirus pandemic, while everyone is trying their best to make the most of the online world, Chewy, an online store for pets, sends in free paintings of her customers pets to them to keep them loyal to her store.
Her effort is done in an effort to win the hearts of her customers who are doting fur parents.
Pet ownership is expected to grow 4% in 2020, the first increase in several years, according to the Petco Foundation.
Chewy's strategy seems to be working on Schwartz, whose blue-eyed cat likes to rub up against the painting from his cat tree.
The portraits have become a hit on social media, where people share images of them or beg for their pets to be turned into works of art.
Eric Sheridan, a sales specialist from Lee, Florida, asked for a portrait through the Twitter account of Gozer, his Boston terrier with more than 3,000 followers.
Not everyone is delighted by getting a mystery portrait - the company acknowledges that some confused customers send them back.
But many who get a pet portrait document it for social media, giving Chewy free advertising - a trend the company noticed when it first started shipping them out.
The company's 2,500 agents are trained to answer pet parents’ questions, like which foods are best for older pooches or where to find a shelter. Chewy sends new customers handwritten notes and all shoppers get snail-mail holiday cards. It even sends flowers to people whose pets died.
But it’s the paintings that have customers panting. There’s no way to purchase one from Chewy, and the company doesn’t exactly say how someone will be selected. But it typically sends them out to those that have pet photos on their Chewy account or have shared one with a customer service agent.
Chewy doesn’t disclose the cost of making and sending the portraits. It has worked with hundreds of artists around the country who are emailed photos of their subjects by the company.
Josh Lawson, who paints 20 to 50 portraits a week, has done snakes, goats and even what he thinks were bison. It can take two hours or more to do a portrait. Fluffy kittens, for example, need extra attention and a long-tip brush to get the right amount of fluff. "I want to make them look real,” he says.
There’s pressure to do so. Chewy says it rejects artwork that doesn’t look enough like the pet or sends it back to be reworked. The goal is for people to talk up Chewy to others and to get a prime spot on shopper's walls, serving as a billboard for the company.
Pets looked after at home are highly unlikely to spread any disease, but dogs or cats abandoned on the street can be dangerous, he said.
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