It will come as no surprise to any professional working in the veterinary or animal care sector that there has been a boom in the number of pets being bought or adopted in the UK over the past year. Primed as the perfect time to buy pooches and moggies (although this is heavily disputed), Britons have lived up to our ‘Nation of Pet Lovers’ name, and welcomed thousands of new pets over the past lockdowns into our homes. Now we all love a new companion, but what happens when they’re unwell or need their essential routine procedures in that first year of their lives? We come to you, our trusted vets!
An alarming reality of this ‘pet-boom’ however is that practices are struggling to manage a new intake; there just aren’t enough vets and nurses to cover the demand. Because of this, practices have had to turn away new pets and owners to manage the overwhelming amount of patients needing to be treated. Coupled with a rise in owners opting out of pet insurance, this leaves the nations pets vulnerable and having to rely on charities to help with the costs of medical care. This stands to benefit nobody in the long-run, but is a reality of the sector and the surge in new pets. How then can we fix this issue? In a study conducted by Market Report Expert, they found that there is an upward trend in demand for business management software in the veterinary and animal care sector – this is where we come in!
The services app stands to eliminate human error from the bookings process – with pet profiles containing all of the relevant information on each patient, vets and nurses can be well prepared in advance for each appointment as it is booked. For special and more complex cases, this means the needed equipment and medicine can be booked in advance to prevent wasting crucial time on deliveries etc. Worrying about misinformation can be a worry of the past! Pet profiles also allows owners and vets alike to keep up to date with the latest information regarding their pet’s health; from tracking vaccines, pre-existing health conditions, and current medication. All of this streamlines the care process from the moment of booking to discharging – giving peace of mind that patients have been given the best care.
An added benefit of having a pre-booked booking service means that you lower the chance of no-shows and time-wasters. As Dr. Sarah Thornton, of Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital in Pennsylvania, USA found – charging customers an upfront fee prior to their appointment meant they were less like to not show up, and it drove no-showers away from her practice. This meant she was not only able to see all her of patients (as she kept a full-book still) but she was also able to run the practice more efficiently. The handy thing about pre-booking services is that it is able to do the ‘charging a customer a deposit’ without it looking like it – this way you’re ensuring your practice runs like a well oiled machine, whilst simultaneously keeping your customers happy.
Alongside your services app, the selling app allows you to sell any stock that you have in your brick and mortar without owners having to leave their homes. As many practices have had to diversify to meet the demands of running a brick and mortar practice, this has come with the addition of selling products such as pet food, accessories, and over-the-counter medicines. For owners, this is incredibly convenient but it can cause practices to become very busy. Implementing a sellers and shopping app to handle ordering (coupled with our Stock Control app, included in all of our Just Sell packages) will decrease congestion in your waiting areas and vet shops; allowing your premises to remain clean, quiet, and COVID regulation compliant.
With the addition of our app, Delivity, you also have the option to deliver these products at an additional price if this is something you’re interested in. For bigger items such as crates or pet carriers, the addition of a selling app allows you to order in stock based on demand, meaning your premises won’t be overrun with excess stock. Implementing this system then also means that customers can have a set day to come and pick up their purchases (or have them delivered), whilst you are still able to run the health care side of your practice with the urgency and ease needed.
Both your services and selling apps are linked to your very own owned webshop. There are a few benefits to having your own e-commerce store which we talked about in this blog post. One of the major bonuses however of having an online store specific to the veterinary and animal care sector is that you’re no longer reliant on in-person communication or shopping, which is essential throughout the pandemic. Being part of the medical field, this also has benefits post-pandemic in controlling animal diseases such as kennel cough, FIV, and strangles among many others. The lower the human-human contact for non-essential services, the cleaner your premises will be, and the safer your patients.
Additionally, an on-going study conducted by CM Research looking into the affects of COVID-19 on the veterinary and animal care sector has so far found that practices have noticed an increase in demanding (and sometimes abusive) behaviour towards staff from owners. Among such demands includes the typical day-to-day procedures of a practice; booking appointments, refilling prescriptions etc. This is leaving front-of-house staff like receptionists increasingly overburdened in ways they weren’t pre-pandemic. A solution to this is to introduce a booking system like Just Sell, whereby owners can book their own appointments and prescription refills without having to interact with receptionists or veterinary staff.
With Just Sell you also get a service unique to anything else on the market – not only are your e-commerce store and apps included in the cost of the package, but you also gain access to a few more of our operational management system apps such as Checkki, YouDo, and Stock Control. This streamlines your whole business management process, with all of the main operational tasks being handled under one provider. The benefit to this? Using only one provider means that any technical support you may need during your time with us can be directed to the same team. This team will then be able to handle any of your queries with a full understanding of the other software you use also, ensuring you get the most efficient and effective service to get you back up and running as soon as possible.
According to CoSchedule, only 50% of SME’s use social media, despite salespeople reporting outselling their peers by more than 70% because they use it. For many people, social media is their first point of call when it comes to your business, and from that point they either convert their interest into a sale or move on. In a very word-of-mouth oriented sector such as animal care, it’s also able to bridge the gap of communication, recommendation, and marketing. Through running an active social media presence, you can keep customers updated on your business times, treatments, and more – all for free may I add! You also have the very luxury advantage of being able to post cute photos of our furry friends every day which is sure to boost your engagement.
Case Study: Cara the Vet Tech
Cara’s TikTok account has amassed almost 800k followers and an eye-watering total of 23.1 million likes in only eleven months. Her content? Not medical advice or updates on the pet sector – no, no! She hosts fake interviews with her patients, holding nothing but a tiny microphone that is mostly sniffed by the various pets in her care (although the labradors are partial to a very breed-typical chomp!). Her viewers love it, as shown by her engagement!
Social media doesn’t need to be elaborate or complicated though, and if you don’t have the time or expertise to run your own social media accounts and marketing campaigns, you needn’t fret – by choosing Just Sell as your webstore provider, we can also offer additional social media management from our marketing specialists. This means that that all important growth is left in our hands – on our Twitter account alone, we’ve been able to amass an almost 50% increase in following over the past twenty-eight days alone!
As you can see, we have a lot to offer with Just Sell that can benefit a practice in your sector. With our tailored plan and flexible pricing structure, we can create an e-commerce and business operations plan that fits the needs of your business; no matter how narrow or diverse.
Interested? Why not give us a call on 07845 387 0497 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a demo? We look forward to hearing from you, and are excited to do business with your practice!