Commit to retail mobility today!


If the thought of adding retail mobility products like vehicle ramps and lifts and promoting them gives you a headache, it doesn't have to.

In a recent HME News TV interview, Cy Corgan, national sales director for retail mobility at Pride Mobility Products, explains that much of what providers need to do to get their retail mobility business up and running is already in place.

"Most providers have databases that they've accumulated over time—those are an excellent way to data mine your current customer base and educate them on new products that you've introduced into your organization," he said. "It could be bill stuffers, direct mail, newspaper advertising. It could be something as simple as a catalog that you drop off at a customer's home when they're making a delivery."

Retail mobility "makes sense," Corgan says, because the rehab industry has the odds stacked against it. Congress and Medicare delivered a 9.5% reimbursement cut in 2009 for standard and complex power wheelchairs and they plan to implement competitive bidding in 2011 for standard power wheelchairs. They've also threatened to eliminate the first-month purchase option for standard power wheelchairs.

Adding and promoting retail mobility shouldn't be a daunting task, but it's one that rehab providers need to take seriously, Corgan says.

"They really need to get involved in it," he said. "They need to make a commitment from a resource standpoint. They need to make a commitment of having individuals who are going to be focused on that segment of the business."

Other words of wisdom from Corgan: The sky's the limit, in terms of retail mobility product offerings (baskets for scooters and incontinence pads for lift chairs, just to name a few); and training is key ("So when customers walk in, they have confidence that the individual they're dealing with knows what the products are all about and how they best fit their needs," he said).

Liz Beaulieu