Today, about ¾ of pet medication is sold through veterinary pharmacies, but that number is shrinking in the wake of increased competition. Both online pharmacies and regular brick-and-mortar pharmacies are starting to offer pet medications. Increased convenience and easy price comparisons can convince clients to make the switch. What steps can you take to stay competitive?
How Much Does Medicine Really Cost for the Consumer?
The closer a treatment is to a commodity, the lower the markup is. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), there’s an industry average markup of 113% on prescription medications, 76% on heartworm medications and 65% on flea and tick prevention products. Instead of using a blanket approach to drug markups, adjust your pricing according to the availability of the product.
Online and chain pharmacies can beat these markup averages by buying and selling in bulk. They can negotiate better prices from manufacturers, and they have a smaller overhead compared to the volumes of drugs leaving their warehouses. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. These pharmacies don’t have access to the same promotions offered to veterinary pharmacies. When you factor in free doses, rebates and supplier rewards programs, you can often beat the per-dose price.
If you have a client who is already buying from your pharmacy, you can keep them from shopping around by simplifying the refill and ordering process. While your clients may be ready to buy new medications without shopping around, they’re far more likely to check prices on repeat purchases. It should be no surprise that most online sales focus on medicines for chronic diseases and parasite treatments.
Give your clients options when it comes to ordering, so they can choose the method that best fits their lifestyle. They should be able to get reminders and order using an online system or phone, and these systems should be accessible 24 hours a day. Also, consider how you can make pickup easier. While it’s not worth building a drive-thru if you don’t have one, front desk pick-up and designated parking can make the process easier. You can also partner with a local delivery companies. This way, medicines will arrive at the client’s home faster than an online shipment.
When the client orders from your pharmacy, they’re getting that medicine from people who know their pet. This reduces the chance of medication errors from incorrect doses and drug interactions. When they order online, these checks aren’t in place. In one veterinary survey, over one third of respondents had seen cases where clients were sent the wrong medication by online pharmacies. Likewise, there have been cases with human-focused pharmacies missing drug interactions because the employees weren’t versed in animal pharmacology.
While this is alarming, the best approach is a soft sell. You want to let clients know the safety advantages of your pharmacy without coming off like you’re using scare tactics.
Become a One Stop Shop
Your retail space doesn’t just bring in extra money to your clinic, it also makes pet care easier for your clients. It’s easier to compete with online stores on bulky items like food, and clients know they can trust the products you offer. Instead of only getting medicine, they can check off several items on their shopping list, including food, treats, toys and specialty pet care items.
Make the Experience Feel Unique
Positive Impressions, LLC can help you by providing your veterinary pharmacy with pharmacy labels, as well as handkerchiefs, leashes, pet-themed shopping bags and more. We offer custom printing for most of the items we carry. You can add your clinic’s contact information, or choose unique graphics that fit your practice. Get started by checking out our website, or visit us on Facebook to see our latest specials.