(RepublicanNews.org) – First, there was the grocer, then the supermarket. And then came Walmart. The mega-retailer that carries nearly everything is looking to expand into veterinary services.
Customers won’t be able to drop Fido off at the Walmart clinic, though. The Arkansas-based chain has signed a deal with the company Pawp to provide “telehealth” veterinary appointments. Until recently, telehealth referred to doctor appointments by phone call, which were of limited usefulness. Since the expansion of video calling services such as Zoom, Americans are making more doctors appointments remotely than ever before.
Starting May 23rd, Walmart customers who signed up for the store’s “Walmart+” program will be able to book vet appointments for their pets through the retail chain. These appointments could even take place by text message alone.
For now, it’s a limited-time offer. Walmart+ customers have until November 19th, 2023, to sign up. Full details of the program and its costs are not yet available.
A Walmart+ membership costs $99 a year, or $12.95 if paid monthly. Members get unlimited free deliveries of their Walmart orders, plus perks like gasoline discounts or free movies on streaming platforms.
Walmart’s partner in the veterinary program, Pawp, advertises itself with the tagline “Ask an online vet anything 24/7.” Pawp’s CEO Marc Atiyeh said Americans have recently come to think of their pets not just as companion animals, but as “part of the family.” He said Walmart has a “strong thesis” about the value of offering pet care and wants to be a “big player” with help from Pawp.
Ann-Hunter Van Kirk, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said the recent pandemic spurred pet adoption and deepened the idea that pets are family, too. That shift in thinking about pets is reflected in the numbers. U.S. spending on pets tops $123 billion annually, and Bloomberg Intelligence predicts that will grow to a $200 billion-a-year market by 2030.
Copyright 2023, RepublicanNews.org