Moen looks to clean up on bath safety biz

Saturday, June 30, 2007

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio - HME providers hold the key to Moen's success in the bath safety retail arena, say company officials. As a result, the plumbing fixture giant has begun an enormous effort to help providers build their sales acumen.
The suburban Cleveland-based manufacturer recently introduced a retail sales training program especially for the HME industry intended to help providers increase cash sales and profits on bath safety products. The initiative came about after Moen saw a growing demand for upscale bath safety fixtures by baby boomers and their children, said Kevin Jones, Moen's product and brand manager for home care.
"The retail sales training program stems from what we see as a need for expanding the options that HME providers offer their customers," he said. "A 'good-better-best' approach is pretty typical in retail, and while HME has offered a 'good-better' product selection, they need to add the 'best' option."
A major player in designer fixtures for the retail kitchen and bath markets, Moen has a long-established track record in helping plumbing wholesalers and contractors become sophisticated retailers of its products. High consumer demand for upscale fixtures has been integral to the plumbing industry's retail growth. Moen officials believe that HME providers can develop their retail businesses in the same fashion.
"Our approach is that when we go to HME providers, we want to be the category captain," Jones said. "We know bath safety and retail and we want to teach them how to do it."
As part of the program, Moen is offering providers planagrams, ranging from $195 for a grab bar merchandiser to $1,000 for a premium planagram.
"That's where the process starts," Jones said. "The sales rep then goes in and gives them literature, signage, displays and walks them through product training. Then we have an inside sales rep follow up every couple of weeks to see how sales are going. We also have merchandising experts available to help with showroom layout and design if they need it."
The "style factor" that Moen has successfully applied to its designer faucets, lavatories and toilets has been extended to its bath safety line. Some of its new grab bars, shower chairs and bath benches have radically different styles so they blend into a bathroom's decor, Jones said.
"Our research shows that consumers--including baby boomers and the members of Generations X and Y--are willing to pay a little extra for these types of products," he said. "The time is right for HME providers to sell this concept to them."