The Experts in Animal Health

Evaluate and Adapt your business – Sooner rather than later

On Monday I went into town, to visit one of the local Vet Retailers, privately owned and with a long history in the community.  I had my script in hand and on presenting it a very interesting scenario played out.

Last week’s poll yielded some interesting yet not terribly surprising information. Only Gen X and Baby Boomers sometimes indicated their preference was to shop at a physical store, and in both cases it was less than 15% of respondents. Over all generations, the preference to shop only online ranged in a narrow band from 19% – 39%. Folks preferring to mix up online and visiting a physical store varied from 50-75%.

Back to my Monday errand, the store did not have the product on hand, but they could get it for me by Friday to pick up as they had an arrangement with each major supplier to deliver a specific day of the week. I used my phone and within minutes could arrange for a next day drop ship to my home, from a vet distributor with an online system geared to accept a script and payment.

The simplicity of the cell phone has provided access across generations, to a magnitude of online shopping experiences. The simplicity of the procedure to search for a product, upload information like a script and paying has greatly contributed to acceptance, again across generations.

I showed this to the manager at the store and both him and his assistant, commented that they have always done business this way, that carrying inventory is problematic and that increased regulations, requiring more and more products to be under control of a veterinarian is problematic. They have a website and people need to call in and ask for what they need.

I am afraid that very much like Bed Bath & Beyond, not paying attention to the customer and his changing behavior and legal access to a multitude of online product suppliers, may hurt this entity in the long run.

How often do you evaluate your business, to ensure it aligns well with the customer needs?

Lourens Havenga

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