Retail areas can be an excellent addition to any veterinary practice! There are a couple of tips to keep in mind to keep your retail space a success.
01. Keep Your Clients in Mind
Similarly to stocking prescription diets and even your pharmacy, it’s essential to keep in mind what your clients are interested in purchasing. Think about what would be valuable retail items for your clients. Do you have an active, outdoorsy pet population that loves to be outside? Would your clients prefer durable rubber toys and dog packs? Or something else entirely? Along the same lines as your regular inventory, a retail area should be beneficial to both the hospital and your clients. It’s advantageous to only stock products that your clients are interested in purchasing and that your staff is excited about. Any inventory that’s sitting on the shelf and not selling increases the indirect costs of your hospital and can lead to profitability challenges.
02. Get Your Team Involved
Client education is a crucial piece to a thriving retail area. Getting your team involved in the retail space is the first step. You could:
Get feedback on items that clients might be interested in
Start with why. Discuss the benefits and features of the products you are carrying with your team.
Brainstorm ways together on how you can educate your clients on the products you carry (social media, community outreach events, etc.).
03. Stay Organized
One of the essential aspects of a prosperous retail area is keeping it organized. Within your practice management system, the item description should be clear and concise so that the correct item is charged for. Additionally, most software systems can be set up with barcodes. A barcode scanner can easily be set up and utilized to ensure there is no confusion and the client is charged appropriately. You can also set up custom barcodes if needed and have a barcode scanning sheet at the reception desk (think of those barcode books that grocery stores use for fruits and vegetables). In addition to keeping your software organized, each item should have a designated spot that’s kept clean and fur-free.
Please note: I recommend keeping flea/tick or other high-value items out of the front lobby area.
Nicole is the owner and founder of Veterinary Care Logistics and the Veterinary Inventory Strategy Network. VCL was born out of the demand by several industry leaders to utilize her inventory system as a model throughout the country.
She currently lives with her four dogs, two rabbits, and a cat named Hei Hei in the beautiful state of Montana. When she's not being an inventory nerd, you can find her in the garden, enjoying the mountains of Montana, or swimming in the ocean.