Women's health in focus

Saturday, March 31, 2007

OXFORD, Mich. - Women's specialty providers attending this year's Focus on the Future tradeshow can expect a full slate of programs geared toward helping them compete in an increasingly tough environment.
National competitive bidding, accreditation, billing issues and business development are among the topics to be covered at Essentially Women's seventh annual conference May 7-9 in St. Charles, Mo. Essentially Women is a group purchasing organization for women's healthcare products.
Cindy Ciardo, manager of vendor services for the group, said organizers want to help providers survive the transition to NCB.
"For small companies, this will be difficult at best," said Ciardo. "Many are already saying that when competitive bidding comes into play, they will just sell their business."
The show will feature 70 exhibitors, including manufacturers and distributors. The focus, however, is on information, including legislative updates, training and education, new products and technology, and personal and professional development.
One area receiving special attention this year: marketing.
"With the more fashion-conscious boomers it is important to use merchandising techniques to pique their interest," said Ciardo. "It's important to carry a full range and variety of styles and swimwear. Women like to touch and see before they make a choice."
Good merchandising can help providers compete against the Web, said Ciardo.
"Providers often do all the work at the initial fitting, only to have customers search the Web for better deals," said Ciardo. "The competition with Internet sites for cash sales is tough."