AAH’s Retail Work Group: ‘Sky’s the limit’

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Friday, February 8, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. – AAHomecare’s Retail Work Group has diversified significantly since it first launched to help mobility providers add cash sales to their businesses.

Formed in 2017 within the association’s Complex Rehab & Mobility Council, the work group now includes respiratory and other providers—some with retail experience, others with none—that are all seeking to increase their cash flow, says Nancy Froslie, group chairwoman.

“We’ve got a good mix of folks in this group,” said Froslie, the rehab manager at Sanford Healthcare Accessories. “There’s so many cash and carry mobility products, but we are finding the sky’s the limit. We are seeing different providers bringing in different products and sharing their success stories.”

AAHomecare recently launched its 2019 schedule of webinars for the group, which meets monthly. The topics for this year’s lineup run the gamut from legal to marketing to product selection, led by industry experts and HME providers.

“We wanted to hit the key points and get different perspectives and make sure it’s a very well-rounded resource group,” said Froslie.

Many of this year’s topics address communicating with customers, says Ashley Plauche, AAHomecare’s manager of government affairs.

“Traditionally, we’ve always had the relationship with the referral source,” she said. “With retail, you are talking to the public, so how do you reach them where they are? How do you speak to them? I know how to be a traditional HME. What does life look like as a retail HME?”

Provider Kevin Brown, who will host one of the webinars, also believes providers need to know their communities. When he started out in 2009, his biggest seller was bath safety products. These days, he’d be out of business if he hadn’t kept up with changes in his local market.

“Nowadays, everybody—Walmart, Walgreens—does bath safety,” said Brown, a co-owner of Tennessee-based All Star Medical Supply. “You’ve got to know your location, know what’s out there, and know who your competition is. You’ve got to go after bigger cash sales like scooters and lifts to be viable.”