You can feel divine about veterinary merchandising by offering just the right stuff to enhance your patients' lives.
Have a little room to play with in your veterinary reception area? Check out this advice on providing a stellar retail area from Kelly Searles, practice manager of Bigger Road Veterinary Center in Springboro, Ohio.
1. Walk pet owners through your retail area
My favorite part of our retail space is that our doctors and team members can talk with a client about something that will solve a problem and then, after the examination, take a client right to it so they can see and feel it. Even if they don't take it home that day they know what we've talked about and can get it later.
Merchandise display is BIG at Bigger Road. (Photos by Portia Stewart)
2. Adjust based on what pet owners buy
I was very surprised at the amount of high-dollar items we were selling, such as specialty harnesses and high-end dog coats. I wasn't expecting clients to spend as much on retail items as they have been. In our practice, food hasn't sold as well as I expected, nor have grooming supplies. The behavior items (toys, smart toys, training tools, and so on) have done very well.
We also spotlight retail items at the front desk, at a discount, to get people to try new things. Treats are great for this, because we can put out a sampler tray (like at the grocery store), and clients can take home a package if their pets like it.
Anticipate and encourage much purchasing: Have baskets on hand for clients to fill up with goodies for their pets.
3. Stock the products you recommend
I would start with items that you're telling clients to get from the pet store or online. Compliance on actually making those purchases is low, and clients want to get the items while they're in the clinic and thinking about it. Clients are looking for options and variety, so pick a selection of items that both solve problems (behavior tools, smart toys, slow feeders, pill pockets) and are fun (treats and toys).