Retail: Cultivate retail culture

Q. Is adding a retail division going to be successful for my company?
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A. With the the baby boomers aging and their disposable income at an all-time high, it is not a question of whether HME retail will be a successful venture, it’s more a question of whether it’s a good fit for your business.

It can be if you can set the right culture within your organization and separate it from your third- party payer business and, more importantly, the employees who primarily deal with third-party payers and referrals. This mindset must begin at the top.

Many of us have been very successful taking care of people in their homes and are very clinically sound. To be successful in retail, the clinical hat must come off and the business hat must be put on. We also must put into our retail division the same commitment and energy that went into making our current business model successful. Be all in; don’t just dabble. In the third-party culture, we call our clients patients and we want to serve their needs and maximize their insurance benefits.

In a retail culture, you have customers, clients and consumers that you educate about great health and wellness products that will enhance their lives, and then ask if they would like to purchase them. We make much effort to have as many transactions possible happen in our store to create a visit where consumers will learn about all the great products we carry.

Successful retail stores have retail-only staff, bright modern showrooms with a distinctive look, an expected customer experience, an executed marketing campaign, merchandising plans, monthly sales and a website.

If we can create the right culture, I believe we can figure out the logistics to make a retail model that is successful and profitable.

Jim Greatorex is president of Black Bear Medical. Reach him at