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Veterinary Pricing Strategy To Foster The Growth Of The Pet Industry 🦮


Veterinary service providers and pet essentials retailers, primarily comprised of small businesses, have witnessed a significant upswing in demand as a result of more than 50% of households now having at least one pet. In response to this burgeoning market, these enterprises are steadfastly seeking avenues for expansion. Currently, they are scrutinising their veterinary pricing strategy to find ways to counter rising costs and enhance profitability. This shift in focus reflects their commitment to remaining competitive and sustainable amidst the ongoing surge in pet ownership, indicating their resilience and adaptability in a dynamic industry. 


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However, a significant issue arises as many of these businesses struggle with efficient pricing. Recent instances include allegations of veterinary clinics charging excessive fees and pet supply retailers facing penalties for deceptive discount declarations. Pricing errors pose detrimental consequences for businesses, highlighting the importance of learning from these incidents to avoid customer loss and potential business failure within the pet services industry.


In this article, we’ll explore how pet-related businesses can enhance their efficiency and profitability through an efficient veterinary pricing strategy. Initially, we’ll examine recent pricing challenges within this market. Subsequently, we’ll underline the critical importance of accurate pricing for the success of these businesses. Lastly, we’ll delve into strategies for veterinary clinics and pet supplies retailers to optimise their pricing efficiency. We argue that inadequate pricing can result in customer complaints and a decline in clientele. 


At Value Culture, we firmly believe that pet-related businesses must prioritise strategic and customer-oriented pricing, especially in the current landscape. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of how to effectively utilise pricing to achieve success in the pet industry.


Do Veterinary Clinics And Retailers Sell Overpriced Products And Consultation To Increase Profit Margins?


Global pet product prices and the average price for a vet checkup are rising faster than other goods and services as millions of people face significant cost of living pressure. Is this a case of price gouging / opportunistic pricing? There is no hard data available at the moment to suggest that corporatisation is driving up prices or negatively impacting the quality of care. However, there is growing evidence that pricing is being over-leveraged in the pet care industry globally. 


Pet Circle was recently fined $26,640 by the ACCC for misleading discount claims. 


Millell Pty Ltd, operating under the brand name Pet Circle, recently faced penalties totalling $26,640 following the issuance of two infringement notices by the ACCC. These notices were issued due to allegations of the company making deceptive claims on its website regarding the pricing of products during the ‘checkout’ phase of a pet supplies purchase.


The customers affected in this case had utilised Pet Circle discount codes or vouchers, which were intended to be applied at the point of sale. However, the displayed total order price, inclusive of the supposed $15 and $20 discounts, turned out to be inaccurate, as customers were later charged an additional amount equal to the discount code or voucher. In response to the ACCC’s actions, Pet Circle has committed to refunding all 5,400 affected customers who were charged more than the initially displayed checkout price.


Additionally, Pet Circle has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking in which it acknowledges the likely violation of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and has pledged not to levy additional charges on customers after the completion of the checkout process in the future. Furthermore, the company has committed to establishing and maintaining an ACL compliance program.


There is currently a full investigation of veterinary services and pricing strategy in the UK because of high prices. 


Customers in the UK have reported that immediate veterinary quotes may reach as high as £1,000, followed by an additional £4,000 for an MRI scan, with surgery costing an extra £7,000. With 60% of households owning pets, Australians spent approximately $33.2 billion on their beloved animals last year, of which $17.1 billion (51%) went towards pet food. This represents a substantial and relatively captive market.


Pet owners may find themselves facing these elevated costs if they wish to ensure the health of their pets, as alternatives like surrendering pets to shelters are on the rise in both the UK and Australia. In response to concerns that veterinary fees are escalating more rapidly than other goods and services amid the current cost-of-living challenges, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has initiated a review of veterinary services in the UK. The goal is to assess whether pet owners might be overpaying for these services.


It’s worth noting that the British Veterinary Association has not observed evidence suggesting that sector changes are driving price increases. As part of this review, the CMA welcomes input from pet owners, veterinary professionals such as surgeons and nurses, practice managers, and veterinary businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation.


Discussion On Developing A Better Veterinary Service And Retail Pricing Strategy


Pricing properly is paramount for pet-related businesses, like veterinary clinics and pet supplies retailers, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and business sustainability. An effective value-based pricing strategy aligns the cost of products or services with the perceived value they offer to customers. For instance, a veterinary clinic may charge more for specialised surgeries because customers value the expertise and care provided for their beloved pets.


An ineffective veterinary pricing strategy can lead to complaints and loss of clientele. Imagine a scenario where a pet owner feels they paid too much for a routine check-up at a clinic. They might voice their dissatisfaction, tarnishing the clinic’s reputation and potentially driving away future business. Similarly, a pet supplies retailer that misleadingly advertises discounts can erode trust among customers who later discover the actual prices are higher than expected.


In contrast, businesses that employ value-based pricing not only avoid such complaints but also create loyal customers who appreciate the fairness in pricing. They understand that quality services or products for their pets come at a reasonable cost, which fosters trust and keeps the customer base intact.



What veterinary pricing strategy can businesses implement to avoid overpricing allegations when increasing prices?


For veterinary clinics and pet supply retailers, the initial step in averting overpricing allegations when increasing prices is comprehensive research into customer behaviour and preferences. This involves studying the buying patterns and choices of your customer base. For example, if you run a veterinary clinic in the UK, examine which services are most frequently used by pet owners and the price sensitivity associated with those services.


When raising prices, it’s crucial for veterinary clinics and pet supply retailers to opt for gradual adjustments and maintain transparent communication with their customers. Abrupt and substantial price increases can disrupt customer loyalty. Instead, consider implementing incremental adjustments over time, providing advance notice to customers about the impending changes.


To justify price increases, veterinary clinics and pet supply retailers should highlight the value customers will receive. Clearly communicate the enhancements or benefits associated with the higher prices. For example, a pet supply retailer in Australia can explain that the price increase for a premium pet food brand is due to improved ingredients that offer superior nutrition. By demonstrating the tangible value customers will gain, businesses make the price adjustment more acceptable and reduce the potential for objections or overpricing allegations.


What veterinary pricing strategy can businesses implement to avoid misleading price promotions and discounts?


The first crucial step for veterinary clinics and pet supply businesses to avoid misleading price promotions and discounts is to establish clear and consistent pricing communication. This involves ensuring that the original prices of products or services are accurately represented, without any inflated or artificial increases before a promotion. For instance, if a pet supply store in the UK is offering a “20% off” discount on pet food, the original price should genuinely reflect the regular selling price, ensuring customers are not misled by deceptive pricing tactics.


Additionally, any terms and conditions concerning discounts and promotions should be clear to customers. This means specifying the duration of the promotion, any restrictions, and whether the discount applies to all items or select products. Transparency in pricing communication builds trust and reduces the chances of customers feeling deceived by deceptive pricing practices.


The next step involves conducting vigilant internal compliance checks and providing training to staff to ensure that pricing promotions and discounts align with legal and ethical standards. Businesses should have a system in place to regularly review pricing practices, including discount offers and pricing information on websites and promotional materials. By proactively auditing and staying compliant, veterinary clinics and pet supply businesses can minimise the risk of misleading price promotions and discounts, safeguarding their reputation and customer trust.


Implications Of Optimising Veterinary Service And Retail Pricing Strategy


Leveraging pricing as a powerful tool for profitability and growth in veterinary clinics and pet supplies retailers involves fostering a value-driven culture and implementing customer-centric training. Firstly, instilling a value-oriented culture within the organisation is essential. Staff at all levels should understand that pricing isn’t just about setting numbers; it’s about delivering value to customers. This cultural shift encourages employees to focus on how their products or services benefit customers and pets.


Secondly, comprehensive customer-centric training programs are vital. Staff should have a good understanding of customer needs and preferences. For instance, pet supply retailers can educate their employees to recommend products tailored to specific pets’ requirements, ensuring customers leave with valuable solutions.


Additionally, training in effective communication can help staff convey the value of products and services to customers, building trust and loyalty. By nurturing a value-centric culture and investing in customer-centric training, veterinary clinics and pet supplies retailers can maximise the potential of pricing as a tool for profitability and growth.


Small- and medium-sized firm employees frequently have their hands full of workloads. But, our findings show that with the right set-up and pricing plans in place, incremental earnings gains can begin to occur in less than 12 weeks. After 6 months, your teams can capture at least 1.0-3.25% more margin using better price management processes. After 9-12 months, businesses often generate between 7-11% additional margin each year as they identify more complex and previously unrealised opportunities, efficiencies, and risks.


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Bottom Line


In the midst of a cost of living crisis, getting pricing right is paramount for pet-related businesses like veterinary clinics and pet supply retailers. With pet ownership on the rise and pet owners deeply committed to their furry companions, these businesses have a substantial customer base to serve.


An accurate and competitive veterinary pricing strategy ensures that pet owners can continue to afford essential services and products for their beloved animals. Moreover, it helps these businesses maintain customer loyalty and trust during challenging economic times, solidifying their position in a fiercely competitive market.


Missteps in pricing can lead to customer dissatisfaction, reduced sales, and potential allegations of unfair practices. Therefore, for veterinary clinics and pet supply retailers, navigating the cost of living crisis successfully demands a keen focus on pricing strategies that balance profitability with affordability, ensuring the continued well-being of pets and the prosperity of these businesses.


For a comprehensive view of ensuring the continuous growth of your business, Download a complimentary brochure on How To Drive Pricing Strategy To Accelerate Sales & EBIT Growth.


Are you a small or medium-sized business in need of help aligning your pricing strategy, people and operations to deliver an immediate impact on profit?

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