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As the pandemic intensifies the pet boom, Chewy launches virtual vet visit



Chewy “contact the veterinarian”.

Source: Chewy

During the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans conducted virtual visits with doctors. Now, Chewy is launching telemedicine services for pets.

Starting Wednesday, customers of online pet products can get advice about their dog or cat from a licensed veterinarian in real time. For the “automatic connection”

; service, it is free for customers who are part of the Autoship company. Autoship is a subscription program of the company that can automatically deliver food or other pet supplies.

Chewy’s CEO Sumit Singh said the company has begun to consider providing pet telemedicine services, but with the outbreak of the pandemic, the company has accelerated its development. During the global health crisis, more and more Americans are adopting and keeping pets. At the same time, veterinary clinics are also facing temporary shutdowns, reducing working hours or restricting the opportunity to visit pets every day to maintain social distance. Even if people can go to the vet, some people find it safer and more convenient to talk to people at home.

He said: “This is the soldering iron in the fire, but obviously, the pandemic has accelerated our efforts.”

Chewy began testing virtual veterinary visits in Florida and Massachusetts in May.The veterinarian will provide guidance and transfer the pet to the emergency room when needed, but will not diagnose the condition or prescribe medication. Singh said the service is for common problems, such as a puppy eating chocolate or a cat with itchy skin.

He said: “In any case, when your pet is sick, it will cause great stress, but when it happens at 7:30 on Friday night, you will not be frustrated by panic,” he said.

The service will be provided through Chewy’s website in 35 states. Veterinarians are online business days from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern Time. Singh said the company plans to add video to the service, expand the video nationwide, and provide services for pets other than cats and dogs. Depending on the need, it may add more time.

He said that this service will deepen loyalty among customers, who may increase their shopping basket because of their brand awareness, or have more reasons to continue to subscribe. He said it will explore ways to monetize the service in the future, such as charging pet owners who do not have self-driving cars.

Chewy sells a variety of products, from dog beds to medicines. During the pandemic, as Americans spend more time at home looking for companionship, the market continues to grow. According to a September research report by Bank of America analyst Nathaniel Schindler, the adoption of pets increased by 60% in the first quarter alone.

Investors bet that the company will profit from the pet boom.As of Tuesday’s close, the stock has risen by more than 130% This year, the company’s market value reached 27.9 billion US dollars.

As of the second quarter on August 2, Chewy had 16.6 million customers. The company did not release the number of Autoship customers, but they drove nearly 70% of net sales.

Singh said that despite the economic downturn, the retailer still sees strong demand for pet products. He said that new pet owners need supplies such as dog beds and crates. He said that consumers actually spend more on certain categories, such as snacks and toys, because they spend more time with their pets.

He said: “We treat pets as households, so this is not a category where you usually cut or consider spending cuts.” “When you allocate your budget, it’s probably the last category on the list.”


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