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Shaping a Showroom that Sells

A well-thought-out retail showroom can help staff generate retail sale success.

Cash sales drive new revenues that not only help compensate for the reimbursement cuts, but can enable more aggressive retail-minded providers expand their revenues.

But the key is that providers need to understand the “feel” of retail. Retailers in other segments — clothing, cars, electronics, sporting goods, etc. — have all learned that developing a “retail experience” will drive increased sales. A cash sales customer is looking for options, information and a range of solutions that can help make an informed purchase.

A smart showroom can help instill all these components of the retail experience. Here are some key considerations that providers want to keep in mind when creating that experience:

Be Inviting. DME can be unfamiliar territory for some clients, and it might even be a little uncomfortable. The fundamental reason why clients are coming to a provider are because they or a loved one has a medical condition that necessitates them seeking solutions that will confer a therapeutic benefit or help them improve their quality of life. So, the retail showroom should be a place of comfort for the customer. Try to diminish any confusion or apprehension customers might have by simply welcoming customers as they enter. Let them know that team members are here to help guide them through the process. A friendly “How can I help you?” can turn a worried first-time buyer into a customer for life.

Organize to Address Needs. The showroom should help direct customers to what they need and ensure that they get it. This is accomplished by carefully planned organization based around consumers and their HME needs. For instance, providers can organize departments by condition, such as diabetes, mobility or oxygen therapy, and steer clients to those items by clear signage. In addition to organizing by department, providers need to think about comorbidities and how conditions can be interrelated, and organize their products accordingly. For instance, the provider can place footcare, compression, and pain management items near diabetes solutions, or put ADLs and home access items near wheelchairs and scooters.

Less Can Be More. There is a temptation to display everything product that the provider has in inventory, but that isn’t the best strategy. While it might be counter-intuitive, a provider can sometimes provide better service by keeping fewer items on the shelves. The showroom should be laid out so shoppers can peer over fixtures, spot specific products on the shelves, and maneuver easily to get to all the spaces in the store. If the showroom is small, let customers know that there is stock in the warehouse and provide brochures and other guides, such as kiosks, that help inform customers of all their product options.

Keep the Store Feeling new. In addition to keeping the showroom simple and uncluttered, the provider will want to keep things feeling fresh and new. Good ways to accomplish that are to rotate items out, and highlight certain items on a seasonal basis. The lets customers experience change in the showroom, which keeps things fresh and exciting. This encourages return traffic and helps establish and grow the business. Assuming that the provider has a good retail site, it must focus on product and how rotating items can keep the experience new for the customer and keep them coming back. Good ways to accomplish this are carrying impulse items that change several times during a year; shifting inventory to match the season; or taking advantage of special events such as diabetes awareness month.

Emphasize Information. The goal is to put clients in the driver’s seat. Just like your staff, the showroom should educate patients on the benefits of your inventory to ensure they get the right product to support their needs. Offer literature, videos, kiosks and displays that focus on features and benefits and how they relate to condition. Done right, those kinds of educational displays can become a key part of the staff’s sales and service process, as well.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of HME Business.

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