'Caretailing': It's perfect for HME

Monday, February 22, 2016

LAS VEGAS – As the HME business model evolves from Medicare reimbursement to over-the-counter product sales, a new term has emerged to describe the process—caretailing. And Medtrade Spring attendees will get a comprehensive course in the concept during the show, Feb. 29-March 2, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

While Jim Greatorex, retail services and business development for The VGM Group, says he didn’t coin the term, it serves as a perfect description for the new sales frontier in the HME industry.

“It gives us a platform from which to work that sounds better than HME retail,” he said. “It gives some depth and clear definition of what our products should do for people.”

Greatorex will be holding two caretailing sessions on Monday, Feb. 29, on marketing and capturing baby boomers. Also part of the caretailing package is a session by Christina Throndson, web marketing manager for VGM Forbin, on effectively using Google on Tuesday, March 1.

Gaining a marketing advantage against the big-box retailers means carrying brands and products the giant chains don’t offer, Greatorex says. The key, he says, is to become “a boutique,” not a superstore.

“There are some fantastic products out there that need a good retail outlet to promote them,” Greatorex said. “If you have products that make a difference in people’s lives, they will pay out of pocket for them.”

The baby boomers—virtually ignored by advertisers outside of health care—is a customer base that hold the keys to success for HME product sales, Greatorex said.

“There are 93 million people between the ages of 50 and 75 and they have more household income than any group in the world—70% of the overall household income,” he said. “This is a prime opportunity for our industry.”

The boomers are ready to buy, but they are discriminating customers and providers need to up their game to attract them, Greatorex said, especially in showroom development.

“We are seeing hundreds more providers who are interested in retail and for those who make the commitment, they need to take a laser focus on merchandising,” he said. “You’d be surprised at how many showrooms need improvement with in-store marketing, signage and sales training. Learn how to reach the boomers and your business will succeed.”