- As retailers introduce more health service offerings, Chewy has created a veterinarian-only marketplace, called Practice Hub, to help grow clinic revenue and streamline pharmacy operations, the company announced on Wednesday.
- Using the platform, vets can set prices, add pre-approved prescriptions and earn revenue when pet owners order in the clinic or purchase from them using Chewy's website, per the announcement.
- The online pet goods retailer said that several national vet groups and independent practices are currently on the platform.
Retailers have increasingly expanded their service offerings beyond their core business to win more revenue.
For retailers in the pet space, which experienced heightened demand over the past year, adding health-related services may help capture long-term customers.
Chewy last year launched a telehealth service for pets dubbed "Connect with a Vet," and in May added features to the service like video consultations with veterinarians, extended hours and the ability to preschedule virtual consultations. The retailer also launched its online pet pharmacy in 2018. And Petco, which went public again earlier this year, has rebranded itself as a "health and wellness company for pets," and opened 18 vet hospitals in its most recent quarter, bringing the total to 155.
As Chewy expands its health offerings further and caters to veterinarians, other major retailers have been eyeing the pet health market as well. In 2019, Walmart announced plans to open more vet clinics in stores. Tractor Supply began offering pet prescription services online earlier this year. And even Target introduced its private label pet food and added direct-to-consumer dog wellness startup Jinx into its stores.
"The launch of Practice Hub is part of Chewy Health's ecosystem and reinforces our commitment to support the veterinarian community across the country," Chewy CEO Sumit Singh said in a statement. "This innovative, new platform utilizes technology to bring veterinarians to the forefront of e-commerce and delivers an experience their customers will love."
Veterinarians on the platform also have access to Chewy's delivery, customer care team and Autoship subscription service. It allows vets to reduce overhead costs while also helping clinics carry less inventory, Matthew Dobbs, chief medical officer at Destination Pet, said in a statement.
As Chewy extends its e-commerce tools, customer service staff and delivery services to vet practices, the retailer is gaining more market share during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this summer, the retailer reported a 26.8% second-quarter sales increase, which the company attributed to an increase in active customers and a rise in net sales per customer.