Retail Sales: Chase the right dollars

Q. What is your opinion about investing in online advertising and paid search to promote retail sales?
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Monday, October 28, 2019

A. Short answer: it’s a waste of money for most HME providers. Have you been told otherwise? It is probably from folks that sell marketing services. And, if you have tried it, it probably has not provided a good return on your investment.

The reason I say it’s a waste of money for most has to do with the hierarchy of what is more important and what is most relevant in establishing a foundation for an online retail sales strategy. Let’s assume this question comes from a provider that already has a showroom with a nice selection of retail products and a well-trained sales staff. Many of those same providers that have committed to retail sales do not have a website that allows patients to make a purchase online. So, what is the objective for attracting new visitors, when you are not fulfilling the needs of your existing patients who are buying retail items from Amazon and other online retailers? 

Let’s be honest. Statistically, every one of your patients needs and is purchasing many retail items online already. Those are the dollars that you should be chasing. The customer acquisition cost to generate a new lead or visitor to your website is very expensive, given the competition for Google AdWords, search engine optimization or paid search by online giants. Your first priority is to capture the business that is in front of you already. It will cost much less to provide e-commerce services to existing patients than it will to acquire a new “lead” or “visitor” to your website.

Generating more dollars from the same patient is a heck of a lot less that generating a new patient.