Tractor Supply on Tuesday announced that it will launch its debut mobile app for Apple and Android devices in late June.
The app features the retailer's Neighbor's Club loyalty program and aims to provide a personalized shopping experience for users, the company noted in its press release. More than 70% of the retailer's online traffic is coming from mobile devices, per the company's statement.
The company decided to offer a mobile app and redesign its website to provide customers with a better digital shopping experience, according to a statement.
Tractor Supply has been prioritizing technological investments for some time. In December, the company enlisted former Macy's president Hal Lawton to serve as its new president and CEO, an executive with experience at eBay and Home Depot. The company also promoted former Sears executive Letitia Webster to senior vice president of e-commerce.
"Today, we have a unique opportunity to grow our business as we roll out new technology and services while capitalizing on our product categories and convenient shopping format," Lawton said in a statement, noting that customer relationship building is a top priority. "The investments we are making in our team members and new technology and services are done with a commitment to disciplined financial returns and profitable growth as we look for these strategic investments to be offset over time by increased sales, improved gross margin opportunities and cost savings in other areas."
Its technological investments come at a good time, given that similarly-positioned home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's have experienced an increase in app downloads during the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond its buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) offering, the retailer also noted that it has accelerated its deliver from store, contactless curbside pickup and contactless payments initiatives over the past two months. In July 2019, the retailer noted that more than 70% of online orders are fulfilled in-store, a sign that its investments in rural brick-and-mortar stores were paying off.
As an essential retailer, Tractor Supply will benefit more than others from the pandemic, with projections for net sales growth between 24% and 29% and comparable store sales growth of 20% to 25% for the second quarter. However, the retailer noted in an earnings call in late April that the coronavirus pandemic may increase its second quarter expenses by between $30 million and $50 million.
The retailer has taken various precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus and support workers, including installing plexiglass barriers at checkout stands, implementing sanitization protocols, waiving cost-sharing for telehealth visits and donating to its internal employee assistance funds.
"We have taken more than 100 actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on the health and safety of our team members and customers, while enhancing our capabilities to better serve the essential needs of our customers," Lawton said in a statement. "Our outlook for record-breaking sales and earnings in the second quarter demonstrates the potential for Tractor Supply to emerge stronger than before as we continue to gain market share and build our business for the future."