Three Things HME/DME Providers Will Need To Compete With Amazon
Three core services that HME/DME will need immediate access to in 2019 include:
- Wholesale or near-wholesale pricing
- Full-service e-commerce
- Product distribution with live customer service.
…and it needs to be really easy and really, really, affordable.
Make no mistake, Amazon is closing in on the HME/DME space and we’re all letting it happen. After all, how can a local provider possibly compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart?
Better yet, why would somebody leave the house to visit your store or showroom when they can order online, saving time and money?
Why would somebody stop into any brick and mortar location to purchase incontinence products? If given the option, wouldn’t you rather purchase these products online?
With legitimate concerns like these, it’s reasonable to start asking the even tougher questions.
Can Amazon really consume your business?
Is this industry slowly dying?
Are we all doomed?
Our answer is “Hey, probably.”
The HME/DME Competitive Landscape
Amazon’s main driver is that they’ve been able to offer various marketplaces the latest technology with an endless product selection that is very well-indexed and searchable. Well, as great as that is for consumers, what does all this mean for retailers?
So, our target audience right now is the retailer and how we can help the retailer. Most retailers didn’t get into the eCommerce game a long time ago when the internet was new. Some of the giants didn’t either. As a matter of fact, a lot of large retailers and larger chain pharmacies etc didn’t get into eCommerce until very recently. And many are still not set up to sell online even today!
So what we have right now is a scenario where retailers are struggling to compete with Amazon because they’re not able to get the competitive pricing that Amazon gets, they don’t have the product selection that Amazon offers, and they don’t have the technology.
That’s what we’ve built at Health Mobius that enables these guys, that gives these guys the hope of being able to compete. So, what is it that we do that’s different from everybody else:
Monetizing The HME/DME Customer Service Relationship
My position is the one thing that retailers do have that Amazon does not have is the pre-existing customer relationship, the personal relationship with the customer. Now, while you’re going to get a large number of people that are only going to shop online because of convenience and price, I think there are a significant amount of people that still walk into a store, that still prefer to have a relationship with a real person that they prefer to do business with based upon that personal relationship.
So that when a patient walks into a store but the store doesn’t stock it physically in that location, instead of sending that customer over to Amazon, now there’s another alternative. The alternative is to take out a tablet or kiosk, log into your company’s website, and purchase that item for a customer rather than sending them to Amazon.
Offer Your Customers A Better Buying Experience
This is actually too important to be appearing at the bottom of the page like this.
We all want to help our patients and customers. But here’s the thing. We spend countless hours consulting them on various products and how other items might be valuable aids for their daily life. And then, in most cases, when it comes to actually buy the products, we, get this, refer them to Amazon! After all, that time spent consulting the patient, we then turn the money making part over to Amazon.
And Amazon couldn’t be happier to accept the sale, letting you do all this work selling their products in the field, for zero commission.
Then, we turn around and complain that Amazon is closing in on our industry. And Jeff Bezos is not shy about these exact intentions:
“Your margin is my opportunity” – Jeff Bezos CEO, Amazon
So, we spend all this energy losing time and money when, in fact, you could provide more value, a more personalized and higher-quality buying experience for your customer by making the products that they need available for purchase directly from your company.