To sell or not to sell
Aug 01, 2006
Products that sell
Sales of flea, tick, and heartworm products make up almost 8 percent of total revenue for Well-Managed Practices, according to the 2005 Well-Managed Practice Study, co-sponsored by Wutchiett Tumblin and Associates and Veterinary Economics. And nearly 19 percent of respondents to the Business Issues study say retail sales make up 5 percent to 10 percent of their total revenue. Almost 70 percent of survey respondents say they dedicate less than 200 square feet to retail space.
For cats, food also topped the list of retail items in 2004 at $185. Cat owners report spending $74 on flea and tick control products and an average of $91 on miscellaneous supplies. Mind you, these products weren't necessarily bought at a veterinarian's office. But they do represent some of clients' top spending categories.
Of those practitioners surveyed by Veterinary Economics, 60 percent work in a practice with a retail area. Of those who don't, 16 percent say they don't think that retail areas are profitable enough or they don't see the benefit of them.
Case in point, one respondent says that offering retail is just a convenience for clients, but doesn't bring in any profit. Another respondent says it's too hard to compete with warehouse pricing. And yet another sums it up by saying that retail areas are "more trouble than they're worth."
One major deterrent to setting aside retail space is just that: lack of space. Just over half of survey respondents say there's not enough room to accommodate retail sales. This issue, respondents say, makes product displays unsightly, difficult to manage, and difficult to police.
Retail, with all that it entails, seems to be either a love-it or leave-it proposition. Some of you want more space to devote to product sales; others say if you had space to spare you'd offer more professional services.
Research shows that clients buy products. The questions: Are you willing to sell—and will clients choose to buy from you?