Ring up retail sales during the holidays

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fancy canes. Check. Scooters. Check. Bath safety. Check. When it comes to holiday gift giving, that's the kind of checklist providers like to see.

Another item providers like to see on that list: lift chairs.

"We typically push those and it is a big seller," said Randy Freeman, owner of Fort Worth, Texas-based Mediwell. "It's hard for people to find something for their parents that they need and, typically, the kids aren't afraid to go ahead and spend money on their parents."

Many providers with a retail component get into the spirit of things with carefully selected items.

"We do a 'gifts for health' theme every year," said Mark Ellis, director of Hagerstown, Md.-based Equipped for Life. "We put a glossy flyer in three local papers with a well rounded list of about 18 items, and we actually track the sale of the products in the flyer and can see those categories shooting up."

Provider Seth Auerbach keeps it real simple.

"We do 20% off the entire store," said Auerbach, president of Komfort & Kare Home Medical Equipment in Westmont, N.J. "We have a generic holiday ad that we'll put in every Sunday paper now through the holidays."

While most people won't ask for a reacher or a shower chair, that doesn't mean it won't be appreciated, says provider Carolyn Sluiter.

"Take notice if you are going to grandma's," said Sluiter, founder of Freeport Home Medical Equipment in Freeport, Ill. "Look around and see what's difficult for her, what things aren't being done in the home. You don't have to case the place, but try to be aware of what's going on."