Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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52 Today's Veterinary Business Merchandising Though I was born into veter- inary medicine, living above my family's practice, I needed years to find my calling in the community. While I was on my journey home, I spent many good years working with Fortune 500 and 1000 retail companies, helping them deter- mine how to drive more people into stores, how to keep the cus- tomers shopping longer, and how to persuade customers to make a purchase. These companies would invest tens of millions of dollars to figure out the science of the sale. They know that even the smallest change in shelf location, visibility, height, color or air temperature could result in tens of thousands of dollars of incremental profit in just one item for sale, let alone throughout the entire store. Good retailers are successful because they know the secret. If they can get folks into their stores, they have a high probability of making a sale. Getting them in is 90 percent of the battle. You already have that battle won. What Are You Forgetting? When I first tell veterinarians that they are also retailers, I often get a confused look. But the cold truth is that retail is one of the most overlooked areas of potential profit in the practice, yet one of the most underutilized. It makes sense why. You are a veterinarian running a busy prac- tice, and you have no time to start thinking about additional invento- ry, SKUs or product mix. You prob- ably think there is barely room for a food display or brochure holder, let alone a fish bowl holding com- plimentary dog treats. Right? But the reality is that a vet- erinary practice can drive major incremental revenue, when done correctly, by adding a few key retail items. And you can do all this while maintaining a relatively small footprint, or sometimes using no waiting room real estate at all. Here's why doing this is worth seri- ous consideration: • The biggest challenges that traditional stores have in selling products is not in the actual sale. The largest hurdles are getting folks into the store, grabbing their at- tention and getting them to stay — the longer they shop, the more they are inclined to buy. Your practice has a huge advantage in this regard. • Your clients likely will have to wait for some period after their arrival. They have the time to look around, stare, observe, kill time. You have their undivided attention. A Captive Audience One old saying in the retail world is that in-store is still the only place in You are a retailer. Surprised? Don't be. Many veterinary practitioners have incredible revenue potential they have yet to unlock, and it is sitting right in front of them in the waiting room. It's not the patients. It's the retail store they have yet to fully open for business. Merchandising Whether you like it or not, veterinary practices are also retailers, so now is the time to turn your austere waiting room into a moneymaker. Don't sell yourself short By Dan Truffini

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