Retailers create traffic, carry best brands

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stay the course might be trite, but it certainly applies to the present retail initiatives in the HME industry. Challenges faced by providers due to the evolving market require branching out and an expanding focus in the cash sales of retail products. Now is the time for providers to increase their retail focus, not shy away. 

Why the big push to retail? Simply put, consumers are driven by need. Consumers are seeing products for mobility, home modification, driving assistive technology, health and wellness, and many other categories that will fulfill their unique lifestyle needs. And, to meet this need, providers need to engage, invest, jump in and commit to best practices, and raise consumer awareness. To be a retailer, do what retailers do: create traffic, carry the best brands and know the consumer. 

Embracing the growth curve of the baby boomer market sector is imperative for providers, where best practices lead to retail success.

Be sure to carry name brand products

Consumers have confidence in a provider’s ability to offer a complement of products, including brand names that consumers know. When possible, bundle sales with other retail products. Providers should incorporate a product up-sell strategy by offering accessories and aftermarket products from crutch holders to lifts and ramps. Sell products as a package, delivering end-to-end solutions. 

Cost-effectively advertise your business to the fullest extent

Advertising can be as simple as an email blast to existing customers. Advertising can also consist of many different mediums including print, TV, billboard, Web, direct mail, bag stuffers and so on. Often people think TV commercials are costly, but many markets have inexpensive cable and local news stations that allow you to run TV advertising. 

Work closely with referral sources and utilize data mining

By cementing relationships with referral sources and being known as the “go-to” provider of choice for retail HME, you can potentially drive new business into your retail operation. Don’t forget to make service after the sale a key part of your business philosophy. Research indicates that satisfied customers will return for repeat and add-on purchases.

And, last but certainly not least, don’t forget to employ a friendly, well-informed staff. Train your staff to be retail sales specialists who are knowledgeable about the products you offer and provide excellent customer service.

Providers that consider retail sales a profit center for their company, and not an afterthought, are the most successful. By employing new and creative marketing strategies to consistently drive consumer awareness, providers are able to direct more traffic to their showrooms, which ultimately equates to more sales. Providers should continuously mix up their offerings and try new ideas and strategies until they find what works best in their area. Most of all: Stay the course with your retail plans. hme

Andrew Pyrih is the senior vice president, domestic sales, at Pride Mobility Products Corporation.