If you’re intimidated by the prospect of launching a retail-driven HME business, consider the dozens of experts featured in our upcoming Retail Strategies Special Report as your personal mentors.
In the special report, these experts will guide you on everything from what to prioritize (your customer’s needs, not necessarily the money) to what to carry (how many bath chairs are you really going to sell, asks one expert) to where to get help (your friendly manufacturer, of course).
One of the most intimidating aspects of a retail-driven HME business is competing with big-box retailers like Walmart. A whopping 98% of respondents to a recent HME Newspoll reported that big-box retailers in their area carry HME. What’s more: 71% said these retailers are increasing the amount of HME they carry.
Have no fear, these experts will tell you. While retailers may have the upper hand when it comes to showcasing a product (though that’s a skill that providers are quickly learning to master), providers have the upper hand when it comes to education. They know their stuff.
Even if you’re a veteran of retail-driven HME business, there’s something in this special report for you. For example, Justin Racine wants to know: Have you considered the impact of your online and mobile presence on your retail strategy? That's taking it up a notch.
We'll be emailing you all the special report on Tuesday, but below you'll find a sneak peek.
So read up, then make some moves. We’ll all be here to cheer you on.
Retail sound bites
Don’t neglect referral sources
“In retail DME, I think focusing on outside referral sources is necessary at least a couple of days a week. I use a part-time salesperson who has learned about our products and how to sell them. Her goal is to be consultative, understand what the referral sources need and develop relationships with key people there.
For many of the outside referral sources, our salesperson offers to bring in lunch or snacks and do an in-service to show some of the new and innovative products we carry.
For senior living facilities, she will promote an in-service with flyers and have a raffle for a small item to attract more attendees. She passes out 10% discount cards and has even arranged an excursion to the store with the activities director.”
—Mike Kuller, RPh, is the author of “The Next Step – Retail Home Medical Equipment.”
Make smart product choices
“Many get into big items like scooters and lift chairs, but what sells over and over are disposables like wound care and incontinence. If you are in a town of 100,000, how many bath chairs are you really going to sell?”
—Cliff Woolard, president of Home Med-Equip Co.
Spread the word
“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.”
—Andrew Pyrih is the senior vice president, domestic sales, at Pride Mobility Products.
Bling the ride
Home Care medical launched a campaign called “Bling Your Ride” to promote retail accessory products like bags, cane holders, cup holders, and seat and back covers as stylish options for walkers and rollators. “They can design their walkers or rollators the way they want. These items are practical yet edgy and fashionable.”
—Heather Lotz-Klug, manager of retail sales, Home Care Medical