Amazon’s Vet Move in Spotlight
Rumors are rife that Amazon is setting its sights on veterinary telehealth, intensifying its competition with Walmart. Walmart had previously partnered with Pawp, a veterinary telehealth provider, granting Walmart+ subscribers complimentary access to its services for a year.
Pet Health The New E-commerce Frontier
While Amazon has made significant inroads into human health with its acquisition of One Medical and dominates the pet supplies market, it hasn’t ventured significantly into pet health. This space is anticipated to be a driving force behind the projected growth of the $137 billion pet market. The company’s possible entry into this segment signifies its strategic move to capture a larger share of this growing market.
Market Dynamics and Amazon’s Potential Strategies
The bustling pet market sees intense competition with many retailers striving to diversify their offerings. Companies like Chewy and Petco have already expanded their pet health services. If Amazon does venture into this territory, it could potentially collaborate with Pawp, given its established rapport with Walmart. Alternatively, Amazon might align with other startups or even inaugurate its very own service, reminiscent of Chewy’s strategy during the pandemic.
In light of mixed outcomes from its healthcare ventures, Amazon recently underscored the significance of the pet market with its touching Super Bowl advertisement showcasing a rescued dog and its reliance on Amazon for essentials.
Amazon Prime The Potential Channel
If Amazon greenlights its veterinary telehealth services, it might seamlessly integrate the offering into its Prime subscription, mirroring Walmart’s model. Both Amazon Prime and Walmart+ have carved niches for themselves, thanks to a plethora of unique benefits aimed at enticing and retaining subscribers.
Challenges and Regulatory Hurdles
Veterinary telehealth’s rise was pandemic-induced, serving as a convenient alternative to physical visits. However, its rapid growth hasn’t been devoid of challenges. Dr. Lori Teller, a telehealth professor and former American Veterinary Medical Association president, expressed concerns over its misuse for product promotions, potentially risking pets’ health.
Moreover, a maze of state and federal regulations surrounding veterinary telehealth services presents formidable challenges. There’s an escalating lobbying push to modify these regulations, with industry bigwigs like Chewy and Mars Veterinary Health championing the cause. Interestingly, Amazon’s recent lobbying endeavors, amounting to approximately $430,000, have targeted digital health and telemedicine, hinting at its potential interests in the pet health sector.
While Amazon remains tight-lipped about its plans, its anticipated foray into the veterinary telehealth domain showcases the untapped potential and growth trajectory of the pet care market.