Moving the HME Industry Forward


Caretailing – Building Retail Sales with Strategic Decoration

July 24, 2017

GOOSE CREEK, SC – One of my pet peeves is when an HME company displays “naked” products. That is to say, showing only the product and not all the extras that go with it. If you display a variety of wheelchairs, be sure to show each model with all the add-ons available such as safety belts, cushions, IV holders, wallet holders, and cup holders.

Displaying a wide variety of chairs alone isn’t enough. I remember one retailer in particular, who proudly showed me that he displayed more than a dozen chairs on the showroom floor. He was proud of how each chair was a different brand, color, and style. The chairs had swing-away leg rests, removable arms, desk arms, and other distinctive features.

The problem, I told him, was that none of the chairs had the capability to generate multiple sales because they weren’t decorated with component products. As diplomatically as possible, I advised him to equip each chair with a different cushion, safety belt, cup holder, wallet holder and other ancillary items, such as anti-tip devices, oxygen cylinder holders, brake extensions, and backpacks. The manufacturers of these products are eager to give you merchandising ideas.

This retailer took my suggestions. He and his staff sought out every possible item they could locate (good place to look is Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 23-25, 2017, in Atlanta). His chairs were dressed up and delivery items had a clearly marked price tag. Shortly afterward, he reported that in more than 90% of his sales—even for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries—the patient usually bought one or two additional items. It reinforces my assertion that people are willing to spend discretionary dollars for extra comfort.

Urinal and bedpan displays can be a retail bonanza. Build a mass display of these items with big retail price signs in a heavily trafficked area of your showroom. You will be amazed at how quickly these sell out. The sales are made because these are products that customers think they’ll need in the future.

Shelly Prial recently turned 90 years old. He is a long-time HME industry advocate, and served for many years as a Medtrade ambassador. Prial may be retired, but he strongly encourages providers to find out more about caretailing opportunities at the upcoming Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 23-25, 2017, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.