Today's Veterinary Business

APR 2018

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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28 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business PRODUCT SALES bottle, or B) they can search online and find the exact same product and order it delivered to their house. "Under scenario B, the vet gets cut out of the equation." With a clinic-branded label, the pet owner doesn't find the label online and the chances rise of the pet owner returning to the clinic. Marty Goldstein, DVM, of Smith Ridge Veterinary Clinic in South Sa- lem, New York, said custom labeling would best be used with health care products, nutraceuticals and food. "Private-labeling medications, unless common over-the-counter products, pose some risks with the overshadowing of the higher gov- ernmental agencies," he said. He carries clinic-branded prod- ucts under the "Dr. Marty" name. The move, he said, boosted the level of trust with his clients. "On a financial level, there are also a few advantages making private labeling worthwhile," Dr. Gold- stein said. "Your clients will have a tendency to choose a product with their own veterinarian's label on it, and there's a good chance, espe- cially if order numbers increase, that you can strike a deal with the manufacturer to get an even better wholesale price." Mitsie Vargas, DVM, of Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven, Florida, has used private labeling to sell over-the-counter products and provide a less expensive alternative. "If you want to prosper in this era of Chewy.com and the other multitude of internet pet outlets, you must offer a unique option that still allows us to get enough profit while remaining competitively priced," Dr. Vargas said. "Personalized products can look as expensive as major brand ones but have a bou- tique feel, and they are appealing to choosy owners. The advantage is that they cannot be completely matched and they make you stand out in a crowded marketplace." Building Loyalty Circle B Veterinary Hospital uses a rewards program in conjunction with its branded products, a strate- gy designed to build client loyalty. "People choose to continue to purchase from us because they are rewarded with every dollar spent, which in turn increases our expo- sure in the community," Dr. Buelna said. "People recognize the name, and if they recognize the name, that's already a victory." Dr. Vargas likes the control that custom labeling offers, as she can be as creative as she wants. She can even rename the product. "Putting your logo and number on it is a great way to advertise your business," she said. "It also of- fers an easier way for that client to reorder when you put your name or website on it." Money Matters Due to its enrollment in programs through MWI Animal Health, Circle B Veterinary Hospital got cus- tom-labeled products below the cost of competitor products. "Essentially, it did not cost us any extra to use our own labeled products as opposed to other branded products," Dr. Buelna said. Orchid Springs Animal Hospital began purchasing Stratford's clinic-branded products in 2012. Since the introduction of a custom product line in Dr. Vargas' clinic, she has seen sales increase from $6,000 annually to over $40,000. Is It for Every Practice? Victor Oppenheimer, DVM, the vet- erinary director at Hospital de Ani- males Perla del Sur in Ponce, Puerto Rico, said custom labels could be useful in building a reputation and increasing earnings. However, he sees some risk involved. "If a private-labeled product were to lead to an allergic reaction or other adverse effects, it could put my name or hospital in a lousy position," Dr. Oppenheimer said. "The ethical ramifications of produc- ing a custom label are a significant consideration. Personally, I don't feel comfortable taking credit for a prod- uct that I didn't personally produce. Still, I think that starting a custom label could be a very lucrative move for veterinarians." Clinic-branded products build great rapport between the clinic owner, practice manager and staff, Nugent said. "The entire team gets excited about how great their clinic-brand- ed label looks and about the opportunity to promote their clinic through a quality animal health product line," he said. Texas veterinarian Dr. David Buelna uses clinic-branded product labels to attract and keep clients. " Putting your logo and number on it is a great way to advertise your business. It also offers an easier way for that client to reorder when you put your name or website on it." — Dr. Mitsie Vargas, Orchid Springs Animal Hospital

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