The average veterinary school curriculum doesn’t include classes on mastering end caps and shelf danglers. Yet for many veterinarians in private practices, these standard retail terms are becoming a familiar vocabulary.
As big-box and online pet retailers gobble up more pet product sales, clinics are experiencing more competitive pressure in their retail space. And while retail should never replace the primary focus of a veterinary clinic — providing outstanding customer service and care to four-legged family members — veterinary practices can take a few simple steps to maximize their retail space and increase clinic revenue.
- You are the experts. Pet parents trust you and your team. Leverage their trust by offering products you believe in. Stock shelves with products you and your staff use and show it with personal statements of support. Similar to a bookstore’s “staff picks,” display shelf talkers explaining why you like and use a product. Conduct additional training, if needed, to ensure your front staff can answer commonly asked questions about the products you sell.
- Get touchy-feely. Clients like to see, touch and feel the products they intend to use on their pets. Provide samples to help them evaluate a product. Think of your favorite grocery or kitchen supply store that uses samples as a tactic to sell product. It works!
- Prices should be clear and visible. Keeping each item tagged with a price can be tedious and time-consuming. Consider posting prices nearby on a small sign or display. Clients are often hesitant to ask about prices; make prices easily visible by using an acrylic sign holder that can hold an 8.5-by-11-inch pricing menu, or use smaller price-tag holders that can sit in front of specific products.
- When displaying products, put larger items on bottom shelves and smaller items up higher, as they tend to get visually lost when placed below the customer’s waistline. Edit displays carefully. Clients don’t want to be overwhelmed with products or have difficulty seeing everything on your shelves. It’s better to keep things elsewhere and display just one or two items rather than overloading shelving units. www.displays2go.com is a good place to find products that help with setting up a retail display. The website sells a wide variety of items that will make setting up your display fun and shoppable.
- Have fun with themes. Big-box retailers love to entice people into their stores by using the seasons to influence and refresh their windows and product selection. Don’t be shy about focusing on products that relate to the season. It gives you the chance to speak to new products that may be available and remind customers of items they might need.
What’s also important is to remember you won’t win on price alone. With multitudes of online vendors available to pet owners, someone will always have a lower price. Where you and your team win is in the value you bring. Talk about these products, endorse them and share your recommendations.
Today’s pet owners care deeply about their animals and juggle their care with busy schedules. Make your clinic a convenient one-stop shop for their immediate pet needs through thoughtful product selection and display. They will appreciate your efforts and your clinic will benefit.