Exhibitors pull out the stops to help HMEs boost profits

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ATLANTA - With external pressures continually squeezing provider margins, vendors at Medtrade 2005 say they will be looking for ways to help their customers' bottom lines.
Whether it's through more cost-efficient technology, product marketing strategies or cash sales ideas, exhibitors contend they will be bending over backwards to give show attendees every advantage in an increasingly stringent industry.
"We are constantly figuring out ways for our dealers to add more profit," said Mark Roberts, vice president of sales and marketing for Phoenix-based Vantage Mobility International. "They are asking for new products designed to appeal to end-users. We're trying very hard to give it to them."
Among the ways VMI is handling dealer requests, Roberts said, is by introducing a new user-friendly wheelchair and scooter lift that installs in under 10 minutes; and a new van design in conjunction with Elkhart, Ind.-based interior manufacturer Tuscany Mobility. The company is also expanding its Web site marketing tools, offering users the ability to determine the right lift for their vehicle and type of mobility product.
"Consumers have become more educated and as a result we're doing more consumer-centric marketing," Roberts said.
Jackie Edwards, vice president of sales for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based SenTech Medical Systems, said she is "thrilled" that the show is back in Atlanta this year because show attendees are more focused on shopping.
"There are fewer distractions, so they tend to buy more when the show is in Atlanta," she said.
SenTech customer feedback indicates that attendees will be looking for product quality at the show this year as opposed to the cheapest price, Edwards said.
"The whole environment has changed - people are looking for a product that will last and offers the best results for their patients," she said. "That's good news for us because we're definitely not the cheapest."
Miramar, Fla.-based FLA Orthopedics offers providers an opportunity for supplemental cash sales and Rhonda Newman, vice president of marketing, expects to handle a significantly higher number of inquiries than in the past.
"We offer providers the potential for supplemental sales and we fully expect to get some new accounts at the show," she said.