Why Health Mobius Is Not Scared Of Amazon Entering The HME & Pharmacy Space
August 13, 2018, 10:00 AM CST
Kamal Haddad, the founder of Health Mobius LLC, was recently asked to write an article for Medtrade Monday about why he is not too worried about Amazon entering the HME/DME and Pharmacy space. Below is his reply:
I found it sort of interesting that the home medical industry is surprised that Amazon would decide to get into this space given that they have gotten into every other space, wreaking havoc and affected a large number of manufacturers in just about every industry. The article I wrote centers around a presentation that I am doing at Medtrade in Atlanta in October.
Today, I want to cover four strategies that HME/DME and pharmacy can do to combat the effect of Amazon.
Level the Pricing Playing Field
The first strategy requires finding a way to level the pricing playing field. Amazon has the ability to sell items often times at prices that don’t leave any margin for an HME dealer at all. Part of that blame rests with the manufacturers. So, I think the first thing to do to combat the pricing issue is to work with manufacturers that have a vested interest in protecting their brand. Maybe its best to focus on vendors that offer MAP pricing. There are vendors that have restricted distribution. They actually have a vested interest in making sure their brand is well represented and that they don’t have sellers online that are ‘racing to the bottom’. So, who you work with and whose product you represent, I think, is one of those important things to consider. And there may be a scenario where manufacturers have to decide which side of the equation they are more loyal to.
Increase Product Selection
The second thing is to increase product selection. The product selection issue in today’s day and age is relatively easy. Manufacturers and distributors do offer data feeds. They offer the ability to easily access all the information you need to add it to your website whether they are pictures, product descriptions, information specific to you being able to provide your customers with the information they need. And there are services out there that will handle all of that for you. They will pre-populate any e-commerce website with a catalogue. They work with manufacturers. At Health Mobius, we offer fully managed services. That means we can preload an entire web store with 25,000 plus products from 400 vendors and it’s a platform that we’re very proud to offer.
Own The Customer Relationship
The third thing that I want to talk to you today about is the customer relationship. That’s the one advantage that you have over Amazon. What Amazon does not have is any type of personality or personal relationship with the customer. They are a dumping ground for all sorts of products available and what you have is that face-to-face relationship with the patient. So, if you can get the pricing issue taken care of and you can get a platform where you can offer additional products to your customer, now your customer has a trusted source-YOU! You should be the place to go to buy their ancillary products. So, when a patient comes in to buy a bed, you can sell them the antimicrobial sheets. You can sell them the underpads. You can sell them the alarm systems. You can sell them bath safety.
Define Your Brand & Build Trust
And the final thing that we’re going to discuss at the event is going to be building trust with your customer by being the reputable source that they can go to and define what your brand is. That means engaging with your customer. Instore, online and in social media. That means doing how-to videos and demonstrations. You are the local expert. They need this information. You must share the knowledge you already have.
To recap, let’s all prioritize the same objectives:
- Stop racing to the bottom, lowering prices until everyone is out of business.
- Increase product selection, sell the main product and all of the accessories too.
- Own the customer relationship, rethink how you interact with patients.
- Define your brand and build trust, establish a loyal customer based.
I very much look forward to getting into more detail come MedTrade in October. Don’t want to wait? You’re encouraged to schedule a demo ahead of time to see what Health Mobius is doing in this industry to combat Amazon.