Enrich your space with retail

November 29, 2017

Youve made the leap of faith to implement retail in your practice. Now what? Here are some inspirational photos to help get you started.

4 reasons you need more than a single shelf of retail items

Your hospital is in a rural area with no large-chain retailer. “For example, we see huge retail areas in our rural Canadian projects,” veterinary architect Heather Lewis, AIA, of Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado, says, “where the veterinary practice may be an important resource for a pet owner.”

You or somebody else has retail on the brain. The practice owner, the practice manager or another key person in the practice needs specific experience with retail and knowledge on how to leverage retail space.

Retail is important to your hospital's branded experience. “I worked on a project in an urban area that wanted to distinguish itself as part of the close-knit neighborhood,” Lewis says. “Retail was displayed on the outside wall of the building to intentionally draw people into the building, whether or not they were clients of the practice.”

Your hospital does more than medicine. Hospitals with a lot of ancillary nonmedical services-such as boarding and grooming-may want more retail. “In this case,” Lewis says, “adding retail makes sense as people are coming for other services as well.”

Making the decision to add retail is hard. And once the decision is made, deciding where and how to set up your showcase space is another difficult task entirely. Not only do the dimensions have to be to your client's (and your) liking, but you need to settle on what you'll be selling as well.  

In the experience of veterinary architect Dan Chapel, AIA, of Chapel Associates in Little Rock, Arkansas, he usually sees retail areas with pet products, prescription diet food and general food available for purchase. How it's showcased to potential buyers, though, is just as important as what you're selling.

“The retail display should be subtle, understated and above all professional in appearance,” Chapel says. “A good location is in a recess or alcove off of the waiting room. The best placement is on the client's route from the exam room, where the products and diets are explained and suggested as an enhancement to the pet's wellness, to the discharge area.

Visibility is as important as professional appearance, Chapel says. “The retail area should also be easily visible from the reception area, so assistance can be offered while clients are shopping.”

Need inspiration? Here are some examples of top-notch retail spaces.


All the shelves and whistles

Photo courtesy of Veterinary Healthcare Associates. Veterinary Healthcare Associates in North Augusta, South Carolina has wall-to-wall retail space with stacked shelves.

Photo courtesy of Petit Brook Veterinary Clinic.Petit Brook Veterinary Clinic in Colchester, Vermont has shelves for retail items, natural lighting and a plant to liven the space.

Photo courtesy of Noank-Mystic Veterinary Hospital. A nice and neat stack of retail shelves make a retail space Noank-Mystic Veterinary Hospital in Noank, Connecticut.


Step into my alcove

Photo courtesy of Noank-Mystic Veterinary Hospital. Want more retail? Places like Noank-Mystic Veterinary Hospital in Noank, Connecticut have an alcove with more retail items for clients to look through.  

Photo courtesy of Andover Animal Hospital.Andover Animal Hospital, Newton, New Jersey boasts a natural, neutral retail alcove with plenty of soft and natural lighting.


Front and center

Photo courtesy of Veterinary Healthcare Associates. Take a peek through the looking glass at Veterinary Healthcare Associates in North Augusta, South Carolina, where their preventive products and grooming aids are showcased in glass.

Photo courtesy of South Suburban Low Cost Veterinary Services. A bright and sunny retail section is ready to greet clients at South Suburban Low Cost Veterinary Services in Chicago Heights, Illinois.


Retail while you wait

Photo courtesy of Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital. A small stack of shelves in Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California neatly showcases retail items for clients to glance at while they wait.

Photo courtesy of Morningside Animal Hospital. Morningside Animal Hospital in Port Saint Lucie, Florida has a wall of retail facing those waiting, so they can spot any item they might want or need without going far.

Photo courtesy of Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital. Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital in Oakhurst, New Jersey hosts aisles of retail space to wander through while they wait.