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The $10 Billion Dollar Question . . . How can your company expand into the Home Care Market?
The $10 Billion Dollar Question . . . How can your company expand into the Home Care Market?

Wherever I travel lately, everyone wants to talk to me about the Home Care Market. Manufacturers and Distributors alike are very interested in this growing space that is currently exploding with opportunity.

Since this is such a hot topic of discussion, I thought I would take the opportunity to focus on the Home Care Market and cover the major questions that seem to be of key interest to companies wanting to enter or expand their current book of business in Home Care. In today's issue, let's start with the # 1 question I continually receive about the Home Care Market.

Question # 1

Who is the Home Care customer?

One of the main questions I get from manufacturers and distributors is they want to know who the customer actually is in the home care market. The majority of these companies today sell into the developed markets that have reached their maximum output - hospitals, physician offices, and long-term care facilities. These same companies understand that in order to thrive, they need to follow the patient as the care settings shift away from institutions and into the lower cost post-acute environment. It makes perfect sense - patients would much rather be in their homes anyway, AND it is cheaper to care for them there.

So ... who are the customers that exist in home care? There are several, and we will cover all of them over the next few issues, but for today let's focus on one everyone is familiar with - the corner drug store.


Independent Pharmacies

26,000 in the United States!

One of my favorite types of customers to work with are independent pharmacies. They pay their vendors extremely well and have a huge opportunity to market home health care products to their existing customer base. Just think about it, they have several hundred folks walking into their pharmacy every day to pick up their medications. These patients trust their pharmacist, and have already decided they would rather do business with a locally-owned company versus a national chain for their Rx needs. Logically, the same should hold true for medical supplies and equipment.

If the pharmacy offers their customers the convenience of a one-stop shop by carrying an assortment of retail priced home health care products, this will do two things: (1) create a new revenue stream for the pharmacy, (2) create "stickiness" between the pharmacy and the customer which protects their existing Rx business. If I were a family-owned pharmacy, I would hate for my customer to have to walk into a Wal-Mart or Walgreens to buy a cane or a pack of incontinence products. That creates an inconvenience - what I call a "point of friction" - between you and your customer allowing an opportunity for a competitor to steal them away.

Rule #1 - "If we don't take care of our customers, someone else will."This quote hangs on the wall right by the entrance to our customer service deparment, and it rings true here. If a customer can't see it - they don't know you have it. If they don't know you have it, they will have to buy it somewhere else. So, how do we ensure that your independent pharmacy doesn't lose business to a competitor?

This is where distributors and manufacturers come into the mix. Independent Pharmacies need advice on the types of product to stock in their store and help with developing a retail strategy to market these products to their patients. This includes creating the proper store layout to display these products and drive customer awareness through signage and retail displays that the pharmacy is a one stop shop for their families home healthcare needs. While I recommend utilizing our Patient Home Delivery (PHD) program for most other types of home care customers, it still makes sense for Independent Pharmacies to have product in-stock and displayed at their store due to the amount of foot traffic they have coming into their location on a daily basis.

The takeaway ... there are 26,000 opportunities to work with Independently owned pharmacies in the US. These folks need our help and services to go from only filling prescriptions to becoming a one stop shop provider for their communities healthcare supply needs. Let's help them grow their business, and in turn they will grow our business. So stop by your corner drug store this weekend and chat with them about home health care products . Worst case, you will make a new friend - and possibly get to enjoy a banana split!


                                             

         


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