During the last 25 years, there have been sweeping changes in the HME industry. In the last few years the pace of these changes has become more dramatic. These changes are disruptive but they also bring a fresh perspective for new ways of doing business. I have seen the mindset of industry stakeholders evolve over the 20-year period I have exhibited at Medtrade.
Cash sales are a powerful way for existing dealers to cultivate a legacy of clientele. The same clients that purchase lift chairs and stair lifts are looking for ways to meet their bedding needs. A large percentage of the baby-boom generation is willing to pay for a hi-low adjustable bed to enter and exit the bed without the aid of others.
This cash sale adjustable bed market has been largely overlooked by HME dealers. Bedding stores and online retail outlets have seized this market and greatly benefited from these sales. This is surprising when so many dealers have lift chairs prominently displayed but few showrooms offer adjustable or hi-low adjustable beds.
My knowledge of this phenomena is based on the growth of sales in the furniture industry. This industry focuses on features and benefits and loves value-added propositions, such as attractive hi-low beds. This kind of thinking is what is needed to succeed in HME retail cash sales. Third party reimbursement blinded many from seeing this natural opportunity. But times have changed, and we are now seeing key dealers exploit this important market.
To succeed in this market, it is important to display a few choices for customers. The more lift chairs you display the more you sell. This is also true with electric bedding. Today’s offerings are tailored to be fashionable and fit into the home, virtually eliminating the distaste of hospital-type beds.
Transfer Master Products trademarked our slogan, “Choose Beauty Over Butt Ugly.” These few words tell the story, and when a customer lies down in one of these beds, they are typically motivated to make the purchase.
As in the lift chair market, videos help dealers demonstrate a product clearly. A professional four-minute video can do the demonstration work of our product line for you.
We also have brochures, banners and buttons to further explain beds displayed on a showroom floor.
The Supernal line of adjustable beds was designed to deemphasize the stigma of purchasing a hospital bed or home use.
Consider the trend in the wheelchair and power chair market where the appearance is just as important as the function. If you read the industry magazines for the furniture and bedding world, you will see that electric, adjustable bedding is one of the fastest growing markets. It is not too late to grab a share of this trend in your HME store.
A chief complaint of many HME dealers is that their business model is designed for one-man deliveries while electric bedding usually calls for a two-man crew.
Cash sales call for meeting the needs of the client where he or she is. Why not rent a trailer and hire a second person when you can make thousands of dollars in profit in one stop? However, as bedding products evolve we may be able to move away from a two-man crew.
The online market is driving and demanding innovative delivery changes. For existing dealers, you have a captive market that already trusts your company. This comfort level makes moving into cash sales such as the bedding market much easier. If a customer was happy with you when he or she bought a lift chair, he or she will be more inclined to buy a bed from you.
Bedding products sell. The only question is, will you grab your share of this growing market or will you cede this sale to your local bedding or furniture store?