For PetSmart’s Kristin Shane, retail is so much more than picking product

By Lottie Watts
Published Sep 10, 2020

This week on NRF Foundation All Access, PetSmart Senior Vice President of Merchandising Kristin Shane was our guest for 20 Questions – answering questions submitted by students from universities nationwide and sharing candid insights about the retail industry.

Here are just a few of the questions our students asked – along with Shane’s answers:

What is one misconception about retail that you would love to debunk?

It’s not just about picking product. That is certainly fun. We all love product, we all love building the assortment, but it’s not just about that.

You own the financials. You get to develop relationships with vendors. You get to work with supply chain. Getting exposure to all of those cross-functional capabilities, you are so well-positioned to do anything.

What advice would you give students that are going into the job market in the next year?

This is completely unprecedented. This was not your vision for what this would look like.

So when you’re interviewing for your next job, and they say: tell me about a time when you had to overcome adversity.

Easy answer: “I graduated in 2020, and I had to start my new job in the middle of a pandemic from my bedroom on my laptop. Let me tell you how I did that. I didn’t let the obstacles of that situation get in my way. I knew that it was important to build relationships across the organization, to understand the category and to make sure I was taking care of myself along the way. And here’s what I did to make sure those things happened.”

What is PetSmart doing to improve its competitive pricing?

Everybody has access to price on their phone. The truth is that it’s not just about price. It’s also about value. For us, it’s about making sure that our value proposition makes sense.

Our product teams will design a price point to allow us to deliver great value to the customer. It’s important to have that flexibility. That’s one of the things at PetSmart that will make us really successful longer term.

Students who want to learn more about opportunities at PetSmart can participate in the company’s Retail Backstage tours that are part of NRF Foundation All Access. Applications for the first session are due Sept. 20. Discover more about retail from the people who power the industry every Wednesday at noon ET with NRF Foundation All Access. Register now for our free program.  

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