Rx for Success

The bottom line is that pet health care revenues are increasing at a double-digit rate, and businesses and individuals are getting rich off of it.


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A press release came across my desk last month touting the many benefits mass retailers would get if they offered prescription pet medications at their pharmacy counter. 

Frankly, it makes a lot of sense. All it takes is for the pharmacist to gain a bit more knowledge about the pet side of their business, stock the right products and put up some in-store signage. The result, they say, will be a big jump in incremental sales and profits for the operations, with no commitment of additional space. 

Of course, nothing is that easy. But the fact that companies and consulting firms are taking the time to suggest that mass retailers get more involved with pets at their pharmacies shows the growing power of animal health care in this country. In other words, everyone wants to cash in on a hot trend. 

Right now, in fact, this may be the hottest trend around. The bottom line is that pet health care revenues are increasing at a double-digit rate and—despite somewhat vague claims by many veterinarians that they are not seeing more money in their pockets—businesses and individuals are getting rich off of it. 

Now it is time that pet retailers get in on the action and get their share of this growing pie. Working in their favor is the fact that, as with the human side of the market, consumers are often looking for less-expensive alternatives to doctor visits and prescription medications. While offering prescription pet products is off the table, pet merchants should take the necessary steps to offer their consumers over-the-counter medications that can help them treat their pets or provide the products that will keep their animals healthy. 

That means everything from vitamins and supplements to flea collars and books. But stocking the products is not enough by itself. Retailers must build awareness of their offerings and make it clear to the shopper that they have the knowledge to help them understand what the merchandise is intended to do and how it should be used. 

Health care is big business these days. There is plenty out there for all retailers to benefit from. But to cash in, merchants must give these segments some tender loving care. 

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