Sales add up bit by bit

Friday, September 30, 2005

CONCORD, Calif. - A well-designed, interactive Web site can yield a concrete return on investment, confirms an HME provider who has worked in the online medium for eight years.
Cliff Woolard, president of Home Med-Equip, said his company's Web site adds between $2,000 and $4,000 in revenue per month and offers valuable connectivity with referral sources.
"That dollar amount may not be huge, but it is significant," he said. "Having a Web site is like any other product you offer - you need to have sales people who promote it and that people see the benefits of it."
When Woolard developed his Web site in 1997, it served mainly as a promotional tool, and he admits it was pretty primitive by today's standards.
"It was basically an online brochure - two pages, a home page and a link that talked about products," he said. "But people were barely even using e-mail then."
Over the years, Woolard has used technological advances to make the site more interactive, especially with referral sources. The Home Med-Equip site has a special section for referral sources that includes a general link about the company's products and services.
"If a referral source wants to inquire about whether we supply a certain type of oxygen, that information is available, or if they want to follow up on a patient's status, they can find that, too," he said. "We also have a resource section that links to the most current industry news, such as HME News, AAHomecare or Region D."
The online ordering system attracted the interest of a local hospital that now places a substantial number of referral orders through Woolard's Web site.
"The director of case management insisted on it because everyone in his department was placing their orders that way," he said. "They didn't want to bother with a bunch of phone calls and faxes. This differentiates us from the competition because they see us as a progressive company."