Bye-bye brick and mortar

Sunday, October 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES - Provider Steve Welch has gone from a storefront with 1,000 products to a web-based business offering more than 10,000 products.

"There's such a big market out there, especially with all the DME providers going out of business, with competitive bidding and things like that going on," said Welch.

With their usual providers unavailable, "More and more people are going online to buy their equipment," he said.

Welch's website,, offers a full line of HME, from mobility and wound care to hospital beds and vehicle lifts.

The company focuses solely on cash sales, Welch said. Customers range from assisted living facilities and doctor's offices to children buying HME for their parents and even HME consumers themselves.

Providers who venture online and don't see any benefit are missing a step, Welch said: It's all about the marketing.

"A lot of people just set up a website and that's it," said Welch. "They think that's all it is. It takes some time and it takes some effort to make sure it is on the first page of Google so people can actually find it."

Even the name of his site includes keywords people might search for.

"It can be the best website in the world, but if nobody goes there, it doesn't really matter," said Welch.