Retail: Use the right ingredients

Q. What can I do to expand my HME retail sales operation?
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Monday, September 30, 2019

A. There is a lot of information available in this industry about expanding retail sales of HME products to your patients. You see it in many publications, at Medtrade, at regional or state association meeting as well as manufacturer sponsored events.  While the information provided is useful and accurate when it comes to physical merchandising and sales methodology, It falls short when it comes to addressing the “retail apocalypse” by re-emphasizing tradition retail models. Amazon has played an important role in shutting down many traditional retail businesses. We, as an industry, must look beyond traditional retail to the success stories of retail survivors by understanding how they are able to adapt in spite of Amazon.

The first and most obvious recommendation is to work with manufactures that are committed to your success. If a brand does not have a pricing strategy that includes MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) or is allowing drastically reduced pricing on Amazon, you need to drop those lines and focus on brands and products that level the Amazon price advantage. The second recommendation is to expand the products you make available to patients—without increasing physical inventory and taking up expensive retail floor space. That means using your floor space to merchandise products and having a relationship with manufacturers or distributors who will drop ship direct to your patients. The third recommendation is to invest in omni-channel e-commerce platforms that will enable you to offer the same products to your customer regardless of where or how they want to buy. That means in store, on the phone, online or even from your drivers as they are doing in-home delivery. Those are the ingredients of today’s post Amazon success stories.

Kamal Haddad is the founder and CEO of Health Mobius LLC.  You can reach him at khaddad@healthmobius.com.