Walmart is helping pet owners save money and live better by rolling out in-store veterinary clinics and an online pet pharmacy, WalmartPetRx.com, in addition to beefing up its lineup of high-quality pet food.
Although the retailer focused on economics in its announcement, these vet clinics may also give Walmart an advantage over online pet stores, as some pet care must be done in person. It’s sort of the veterinary equivalent of accessories retailer Claire’s, which noted a “unique operational strength” in a 2018 statement that said consumers cannot get their ears pierced online.
According to a statement, Walmart’s in-store vet clinics will offer high-quality vet services and save consumers as much as 40%–60% on vaccines and “minor illness packages and exams.” The retailer said it is expanding in-store veterinary clinics from nine in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by June 2019 to 100 in the U.S. in the next year.
Meanwhile, Walmart’s new digital pharmacy offers low-cost pet prescriptions for dogs, cats, horses and livestock from over 300 brands to treat conditions like flea and tick, heartworm, allergy and arthritis. The pharmacy will work directly with veterinarians to receive and fill said prescriptions.
This allows customers to order prescription pet medications for delivery, similar to Walmart’s Pharmacy Home Delivery option for humans. And later this month, Walmart said it will stock 4,500-plus of its pharmacies with the 30 most-requested pet meds for same-day pickup.
Finally, in response to customer demand for organic and grain-free pet food and pet vitamins and supplements, Walmart added more than 100 pet brands, including Blue Buffalo, Greenies and Hill’s Science Diet, as well as “free-from” products among its private label brands like Pure Balance, Golden Rewards and Vibrant Life, which it says are listed at 25% less than their name-brand counterparts.
Citing data from the American Pet Products Association, Walmart says 68% of U.S. households have pets, and per a TD Ameritrade study, millennial dog owners spend up to $1,285 a year on their pets. And, as a result, lots of DTC pet companies have cropped up to appeal to pet-loving millennials, too.
“We’re about to bring that cost down,” said Kieran Shanahan, senior vice president of retail at Walmart U.S. ecommerce, in the statement.
No word yet on if Walmart is looking into bringing dog-enabled ecommerce stateside.