Veterinary home delivery plus pet health plans equal success
As a veterinary practice owner, you may already be part of the 75 percent of practices in the United Kingdom that run a preventive health plan for pets.1 Because we live in such a highly digital world — 63 percent of the global population uses the internet2 and nearly 91 percent use a mobile phone3 — maybe you have thought about implementing home pharmacy delivery for your clients as well.
Could combining home delivery with a pet health plan work for your practice?
Pet health plan advantages
If you haven't yet made a pet healthcare plan part of your practice's offerings, it may help your decision-making to know that a health plan has the potential to solve some specific challenges.
First of all, it helps your clients bond with your practice, says Alan White, senior director of commercial relations at MWI Animal Health UK. "Because they're paying a monthly direct debit for preventive health treatments, they're going back to that same practice each time for those treatments," he says. In turn, White says these monthly direct debits give your practice predictable monthly revenue.
A pet health plan also improves your patients' health overall. "If owners are signing up for a direct debit for preventive healthcare treatments, they're more likely to use those treatments than if they were just buying them ad hoc, thinking, 'I must go to the veterinary clinic to buy some worm treatments or have the booster,'" says White.
As for your clients, a pet health plan solves the affordability challenge. "Rather than going in for a booster and worm treatments and paying a large bill all in a lump sum, they're spreading out the cost across the year," White explains. This also reassures your clients their pets are getting the right treatments at the right time.
Benefits of veterinary home delivery
Home delivery in support of pet health plans offers many promising benefits for both your practice and your clients.
Though pet healthcare plans help to pay for products, your clients still need to come to your practice to pick them up. Home delivery eliminates for clients the need — and potential hassle — of coming in to collect their products.
2. Meets client expectations
Most of the UK population purchases products and services online, with nearly 60 million buyers expected in 2022. In 2021, almost 30 percent of all retail sales in the UK were online, more than double what they were in 2011.4
Offering home delivery of pet medicines meets your clients' growing expectations when it comes to service. Like all consumers, pet owners are increasing their shopping online with direct home delivery. This increases their expectation that anyone they're dealing with, including a veterinary practice, will provide home delivery of goods and products.
3. Better compliance and pet health
Not only is home delivery more convenient for your clients, but having products delivered to their homes also makes it more likely that they will administer the products to their pets, boosting pet health, White points out.
4. Greater efficiency
It takes an estimated 7 minutes per prescription dispensed in a practice, according to White. This includes ordering the product, putting it on the shelves, and dispensing it to the client. That's 12 hours per 100 prescriptions. "That's time that could be freed up for other clinical or client engagement work," White says.
5. Reduced inventory
"The more inventory you have in your practice, the more risk there is for it to get lost, damaged, expire, or be dispensed without a corresponding invoice," White says. Indeed, studies suggest that practices lose 20 to 25 percent of what they spend on inventory over a year.5
As one of the biggest expenses for veterinary practices, managing pharmaceutical inventory is becoming crucial. "You're obviously paying for that inventory upfront before you dispense it, whereas with home delivery, the inventory is going nowhere near your practice," says White. You aren't actually paying for the product until it's dispensed by a home delivery service. This improves your practice's overall cash flow.
6. Better quality practice footfall
"Traditionally, veterinary practices like the idea that their clients have to come to the practice to engage with them, even if it's just picking up a prescribed medicine," White says. But as practices get busier and staff are under more pressure, it may prove more efficient to reduce that sort of traffic and save practice visits for clients who are there for consultations. "You're ultimately offering a better service to those people that need to see someone for a clinical reason rather than just collecting a product," says White.
Factors for success
When you establish a home delivery and pet healthcare plan program, how can you measure success?
1. Reduced health plan cancellations
Particularly in the current economic environment, people are looking at their monthly direct debits and wondering where they can cut back on expenditure," White says. "They might think, 'I haven't been to the practice for six months to actually pick up any of these medicines. Maybe I should cancel the plan because I'm not getting value from it.' That is not the fault of the practice, it's because they're not going to the practice to collect their medicine, so they're more likely to cancel that plan."
Home delivery eliminates this issue and makes it less likely that clients will cancel their pet health plan. White says a big indicator of success is a reduction in pet health plan cancellations when you add home delivery. This reduction has a positive impact on your practice's revenue and your patients' health.
2. Partner with the right home delivery provider
Finding the right home delivery provider is essential for success. "A provider should have licensed, regulated premises that can dispense medicines and is able to provide a check on anything they dispense," White says. This should integrate with your healthcare plan workflow so that setting up home delivery doesn't create more work for your practice. "It's an extremely simple process that's integrated into your current workflow," explains White.
A home delivery partner should provide quality packaging that is secure, odor-proof, and fits through a letterbox. They should also optimize dispensing and delivery costs, as well as provide more convenience for your clients than buying online.
Satisfy pet owner demands
The global animal health market is expecting a compound global annual rate (CAGR) of 10 percent from 2022 to 2030.One driving factor of this steady growth is an increase in companion animal ownership, as well as pet owners' demands and their expectations of receiving efficient care for their companion animals.6
Along with all the aforementioned benefits, pairing home delivery with a pet healthcare plan satisfies your clients' demands and expectations. Satisfied clients bring in more business and increase revenue. And perhaps best of all, you can feel secure in the knowledge that your clients can take better care of their pets' preventive health.References
1. Premier Vet Alliance. Premier Pet Care Plan. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://premiervetalliance.com/uk/services/premier-pet-care-plan/
2. Statista. Number of internet and social media users worldwide as of July 2022. 20 September 2022. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/
3. Statista. Forecast number of mobile users worldwide from 2020 to 2025. 12 July 2021. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://www.statista.com/statistics/218984/number-of-global-mobile-users-since-2010/
4. Statista Research Department. E-commerce in the United Kingdom (UK) — statistics & facts. Statista. 22 November 2022. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://www.statista.com/topics/2333/e-commerce-in-the-united-kingdom/#topicOverview
5. Wiltshire, Sian. Revamp your inventory management strategy. Improve International: Improve Veterinary Practice. 30 April 2020. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/revamp-your-inventory-management-strategy
6. Grand View Research. Animal Health Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Animal Type (Production, Companion), By End Use, By Product (Pharmaceuticals, Feed Additives, Vaccines), By Distribution Channel, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 – 2030. Accessed 14 December 2022. Available online at https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/animal-health-market#