In the era of online shopping, local businesses are adapting to new competitors. Nowadays, anyone can reach into their pocket, grab their phone and order anything off of Amazon.
By Frank Turner
Already, the extra competition has forced local businesses to think of creative ways to compete and be successful in today’s economy.
West River Vet Clinic is just one example of a local business that refuses to go gently into that good night. As a way of competing with large, chain corporations and online shopping, the clinic created a new Pallet Program to keep dog food affordable.
“We made it our goal to stay competitive,” said part owner of the business, Ethan Andress. “In this industry, you either have to get competitive or get out. We want our customers to come in and have confidence that we are providing them everything that we can at a competitive price.”
After negotiating with their manufacturers and distributors, the vet clinic decided to launch their new idea of a dog food Pallet Program, a subscription-based system for dog food.
“We came up with a plan on how to compete in this market place and give our customers a similar pricing that they can expect to find elsewhere.”
With a predictable customer base, the vet clinic can ship in more dog food at a lower cost. The savings in shipping cost is just one way the program can compete with online competitors.
Once a customer signs up for the program, they receive email updates on their order. Andress said that the program is flexible, and every month through email, Pallet Project customers can choose how many bags they want to order.
Convenience was factored into the design of the Pallet Project, according to Andress. To compete with online services, which will deliver straight to your door, the vet clinic allows customers to pick up their food at anytime during business hours. Instead of waiting in line to buy the food, customers are invoiced instead.
So far, the program has been successful. Andress said that over 1,000 pounds of dog food was shipped to the clinic last month and over 30 signed up for the program in the first two weeks.
“It’s taking off, and we appreciate that support,” said Andress. “I think there are a lot of people who want to support local business and our local community.”
Andress said that a lot of the wealth generated from these types of local programs ends getting reinvested into the community.
“…All these little projects go back into the community. Its local businesses like Kennedy’s, West River Health Services, and Runnings that support local activities like FFA, 4H, or FBLA,” said Andress.
When asked how other local businesses can stay viable with an increasing online market, Andress replied, “We face all the same challenges. Our goal is to provide a higher quality of service than our competitors, to be as kind, compassionate, and generous as we can to the community, and have employees and vets that are here for the right reasons. We try to represent our community well and it’s allowed our business to keep growing.”