In-house or online? 4 questions to help you determine whether your veterinary practice needs an online pharmacy



The last year has changed the way most of us shop, whether that’s for groceries, clothing, or the supplies we need for our pets. That’s why now—more than ever—many practice managers and owners are asking themselves if their veterinary practice needs an online pharmacy to satisfy client needs. 

If you’re on the fence about whether or not an online pharmacy is right for your business, here are four questions you can ask yourself to understand if it will fulfill a need for your practice. 

#1: Is there client demand for online shopping?

Image of a dog about to eat a treat from their owner's hand.If you regularly receive faxes from online pharmacies like Chewy, that’s a clear indicator that your clients are already shopping online for their pet’s products. 

Client needs and expectations are quickly changing, and more are looking for convenient solutions that fit into their lives. According to a New York Times study, Amazon reported almost a 200% increase in profits, as most of the U.S. shopped exclusively online. 

In order to retain clients and keep them purchasing through your practice, consider partnering with a company that offers an online pharmacy solution.

#2: Does your team spend a lot of time managing inventory?

Image of a person counting pills they have in their hand.You might recognize the pain points of managing inventory—spending hours receiving and unpacking products, running out of shelf space due to the variety of brands and products you need to have on hand, or experiencing shrinkage due to expired products or theft. If any of these sound familiar, you should consider supplementing your in-house inventory with an online pharmacy. 

With thousands of products available to you and your clients online, you can be more selective about what you carry in-house and relieve some of the overhead costs of managing inventory. 

As an example, you can carry smaller bags of food on your shelf and have larger bags shipped to your client’s home for future needs, freeing up valuable space. And by relying on the variety of items that can be sold through your online store, you can sell your most commonly prescribed products from your in-house pharmacy and have those that are purchased less frequently shipped to their home following an appointment. 

#3: Does your team spend time on last-minute refills and purchases?

Image of a veterinary worker walking down the subway stairs with a coffee in their hand.If your team is interrupted throughout the day by phone calls from clients needing same-day refills or clients stopping by on their way home from work to pick up food once they’ve run out, you likely know how inefficient these interruptions can be. You want to ensure your patients are receiving the products they need, but it would be nice if it didn’t come at the expense of those you’re already scheduled to see that day, who will inevitably get less attention as your team rushes to complete these other tasks. 

With an online pharmacy, you could get ahead of these orders and increase the chances your patients are getting the treatment they need exactly when they need it. For some online pharmacy solutions, when placing an order, your clients could set up products on AutoShip to ensure they’ll always have the products their pet relies on. This improves the care of your patients while also giving your team back valuable time so they can focus on the clients and patients they’re scheduled to see through the day.

Online pharmacies are often a win-win for both veterinary practices and clients. Click To Tweet

#4: Do you struggle to get clients to remember to follow through with treatment recommendations? 

Image of a doctor showing a client information on a clipboard, while a golden retriever watches.Does this sound familiar? You know it’s time for a client to purchase a refill of their pet’s preventative, but when you ask they respond, “No, I think we have a few left from the last pack we bought.” While most pet owners have the best of intentions, life can get in the way of following through with your recommendations. And once they go through your office doors, there’s often little you can do to help. 

Leveraging an online pharmacy gives your clients access to compliance-driving programs like AutoShip. Whether for food, pain medications, or flea and tick treatment, AutoShip means there is one less thing your clients need to remember to do when they leave your office. It also serves as a reminder when the product arrives to keep up with the treatment plan. Some even provide single-dose monthly shipments on preventatives to ensure your clients know exactly when to give it to their pet and never miss a dose. 

This increase in compliance is a win-win-win for your practice—it makes caring for pets easier for your clients, increases the quality of care your patients receive, and increases the revenue your practice receives from the additional doses purchased throughout the year. 


Bottom line: Does your veterinary practice need an online pharmacy?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above, your practice could benefit from an online pharmacy. 

Vetsource® Home Delivery provides you with your own practice-branded online store where clients can shop for thousands of pet health products. They also provide email marketing services and compliance-driving programs like AutoShip and prescription reminders that make it easier to improve patient care and increase client satisfaction. 

Request a demo today to learn how Vetsource Home Delivery can help you meet client demands, spend less time managing inventory, and improve staff efficiency.

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Kelly Vega, the author


Kelly Vega has worked with Vetsource as a marketing manager for 3 years. She completed her BA in Business with a focus in Marketing at Portland State University and earned her MBA from the University of Portland. She loves spending time with her 2 dogs, Jerry Rice (a Beagle/Terrier mix) and Joey Montana (a Pitbull/Whippet mix).




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