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How veterinary pharmacy home delivery benefits pet owners and practices

By MWI Animal Health

 A look at client retention, compliance, and practice management
Dog waits for mail
A robust veterinary home pharmacy delivery program can hugely benefit both veterinary practices and pet owners. Home deliveries of prescriptions not only help veterinary practices become more competitive, but also help improve pets' health and clients' compliance. This frees up your employees to focus on more valuable and revenue-generating tasks, such as spending more time with current clients and reaching out to new ones.


Veterinary pharmacy home delivery services free up space and time

Home pharmacy services allow your practice to free up two precious resources: space and time. When your practice dispenses medications, staff are spending time on inventory management. They have to monitor product levels, track expiration dates, and continually execute inventory audits. Not having to hold as many products on-site frees up budget and resources to more effectively cover the financial and time-related costs of inventory management, which are often higher than you expect.

Consider the idea that pet owners treat your practice like a shop, where they come in and wait at the counter for a staff member to hand over the flea, tick, and worm preventative. That takes away from time staff could be spending on direct pet care.

Additionally, pet owners often stop by clinics right after work to pick up medication. But this is the same time that other clients are picking up their pets from surgery. This can generate an extra-busy end-of-day volume of clients, creating additional stress for your staff. Allowing clients to have their medicine delivered can alleviate this end-of-day rush and create a smoother experience for staff as well as those pets and owners who need to be physically present in the clinic.

The continued social distancing requirements of COVID-19 provide another argument for home delivery. Traditionally in the veterinary industry, everyone talked about footfall and wanted people to come into the practice. Car parks and reception areas would fill to capacity. Now, people aren't allowed to cram together inside spaces, which necessitates a different approach to customer service.

Veterinary pharmacy home delivery aids in compliance

Clients who have busy schedules or who lack easy access to transportation can benefit from a delivery service that helps them stay compliant with their pet's health without having to solve such scheduling or transportation problems.

With auto-renew options, prescriptions from preventative healthcare plans are automatically shipped, taking the heavy lifting off the clients. Shipments arrive regularly on their doorstep, helping them stick to a predetermined health plan for their pets.

From the perspective of the pet's health, if the customer knows a preventative will arrive in their letterbox each quarter, they are more likely to apply it at the appropriate time. One study showed pet owners who used home delivery purchased 140 percent more doses of parasiticide. And with 87 percent of UK dogs currently on de-worming medications, there is a wide market to capture.

Adding a home pharmacy component also increases the stickiness of preventative healthcare plans. Anecdotally, membership in such plans drops off 12 to 18 months after the initial sign-up. Medication arriving at their doorstep is a consistent, physical reminder of the value of their pet health plan.

Veterinary pharmacy home delivery makes life easier for your clients

E-commerce has become part of our daily life. The pandemic sped up the desire for convenience, and that's not going away anytime soon.

No fewer than 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 59 percent of those new pet owners are between the ages of 16 and 34.

These younger generations—and their expectations of fast service— are driving trends across all markets, including pet care products. During the pandemic, 52 percent of UK millennials purchased new products online. Speed is king as 71 percent of shoppers expect their goods to arrive in a week or less. Nineteen percent of UK millennials expect 24-hour delivery, even amid a pandemic.

Home pharmacy services enable your practice to fit into your client's lifestyle because it provides them with the value and convenience they desire.

Be proactive in communications
This is where a good client communication software solution can come into play. Don't wait for your clients to reach out to you. Instead, utilize a software solution that automatically sends welcome messages to new clients along with email reminders, texts, and even postcards about upcoming appointments and prescription refills to current clients. Include links to your veterinary home pharmacy service in your messages.

Some software solutions will even alert you when a client is skipping an appointment or a refill. You can send them a more personalized message, letting them know they can schedule their refills and receive them through home delivery.

Don't forget your social media channels. When launching a veterinary home delivery program, talk about it on all of your social media accounts. Post status updates, have a live Q&A session covering the service, and share videos explaining how to use it. Recommend medication or food delivery immediately following an appointment.

Continue looking for new ways to promote your delivery service. Include links at the bottom of your invoices and in email signatures, send monthly emails about new products and specials, and have signage up in your office. The key is being proactive in your communications and reaching out first and frequently.

Though your clients could get their pet's prescriptions and supplies from larger competitor websites, your expertise as a veterinarian gives you an edge over the competition. Remember that you're not just selling a product, you're advocating for their pets' quality of life.

Learn more about adding home pharmacy to your practice