Hamacher Resource Group in November introduced a new digital product library featuring as many as 6,000 home health care items. Drug Store News caught up with Hamacher president Dawn Vogelsang to talk about the opportunities in home health care today.
(For the complete Audio Q&A, click here.)
DSN: What is the demand for home health care at retail today?
Dawn Vogelsang: The number of people over 90 [years old] has tripled over the last 30 years. Of those over 90, 8-out-of-10 are either living alone or with a loved one, so the demand for home health care products is naturally going to rise. As more people enter their senior years and try to remain active, they still have to deal with limitations and chronic conditions that become more prevalent as we get older.
DSN: How many categories does the digital library encompass?
Vogelsang: Although a library is never finished, we estimate it will include 6,000 items at the completion of the build-out, which represents 40-plus subcategories. Those subcategories range from wound care to wheelchairs and everything in between.
DSN: What are the challenges in merchandising this set at retail?
Vogelsang: The size and variety of the products, the lack of true retail packaging and the need for consultation to make purchase decisions in some of the subcategories are just a few. We capture product dimensions both in package and out of package where it makes sense, so a retailer knows how much space is needed to display the product. …
When it comes to large products, such as some of the equipment and mobility aids, there may not be room to even carry these products in the store. … Our home health care digital library can in essence be used as a virtual store extension. If the retailer has a website, they can populate it with our images and data to show a much larger selection of products than they could fit in their store. If they don’t have a website where they can feature all the products that are available, they would still have access to the digital library with all of the specific information, and they could order what their customer needs from the distributor and have it in store the next day.
DSN: Hamacher also developed educational guides in conjunction with the new library. What are those exactly?
Vogelsang: The Retail Building Blocks: Home Health Care Series is really a great way for retailers to determine which products and what size department they should invest in. The first module is literally a self-assessment, … a step-by-step process that helps them determine how to incorporate a home health care department into their current offering.