Orthopedics and Caretailing: a Q & A with Rob Baumhover

Why should DME pharmacies carry orthopedic soft goods, and how do they get started?

VGM Retail says you can maximize your company’s retail potential though “caretailing,” which is fully satisfying the desires of healthcare consumers through the traditional elements of running a retail business, rather than focusing on reimbursement and insurance. Here’s what Rob Baumhover, director of the VGM Retail division of VGM Group, says about orthopedic softgoods:

HME Business: Why should pharmacies carry orthopedic soft goods?

Baumhover: The key to DME pharmacies selling orthopedic soft goods is to not be another ‘me too’ player in the market. There needs to be something that differentiates you from your competition. Orthopedic soft goods are a very well-represented category in that they are carried by traditional HMEs and DMEs, as well as big box, traditional retail stores. The way to set yourself apart is to carry a high-end, high-quality solution, unlike the generally low to middle of the road products carried by competitors. It is also important to note that marketing these products is also very important. Use positive language like ‘recovery’ or ‘bracing products’ when talking about these products.

What are the benefits?

The benefit for pharmacies selling these items is that they already generally have good foot traffic coming into their stores. This allows them to sell additional products to the customers that are already coming in. When selling high-quality products, there is generally good reimbursement, third-party profit to be made. You will also be driving a different market than your competitors would be.

What are some must-stock items?

Make sure to cover all of the joints. Back products are also very popular. And clavicle and soft collars are big for sports athletes.

What are the patient niches for orthopedic softgoods?

Independent pharmacies tend to be in mid to smaller markets, making it important for them to be engaged and network in the community. Pharmacies practicing good caretailing techniques will also have high walk-in foot traffic, so the products should be displayed in a well-traveled area in the store.

What are the top five keys/tips for pharmacies to successfully sell orthopedic soft goods?

  • Carry high-quality products
  • Accept funded and retail
  • Display prominently in your store
  • Research the market for quality referrals (traditional and otherwise)
  • Network in the market and community to create a solid outside sales and marketing campaign

This article originally appeared in the DME Pharmacy April 2017 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Joseph Duffy is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and a regular contributor to HME Business and DME Pharmacy. He can be reached via e-mail at joe@prooferati.com.