Better Marketing @ the POP!

By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

According to Harvard Business Review’s Contributor John Quench:

“The retail point of purchase represents the time and place at which all the elements of the sale—the consumer, the money, and the product—come together. By using various communications vehicles, including displays, packaging, sales promotions, in-store advertising, and salespeople, at the point of purchase (POP), the marketer hopes to influence the consumer’s buying decisions.”1

If you have ever purchased goods and services in the checkout line, you have been “sold to” at the point of purchase—the POP. It is a time when you have made choices and are poised to pay with your checkbook or credit card. It is also a time when you may be open to other suggestions. Many private practices include cash-based products and services while neglecting the retail strategy of POP marketing. Instead of offering your step-down rehab services, fitness services, and adjunct products at the point of discharge, begin your discussion, your “samples,” and your offer, during care.

What products and services do you offer your patients @ the POP?

It is well known that health care consumers are looking for value and convenience in their lives. According to a recent Deloitte Report:

“As consumers take on a larger share of the health care cost burden, they are becoming more active and engaged in managing their health. Many seek to curate their own experience and are approaching health care as they do other goods and services. Consumers want greater convenience, service, and support from their health care provider…”2

In addition to traditional therapy services, what additional value-added services might be important and appropriate for your patients? I call this approach “seeing the patient beyond the prescription.” Physical therapists can truly emerge not only as experts in musculoskeletal health but also as primary care practitioners of lifestyle medicine.

Consider the following from

“The health and wellness industry at large, including organic personal care, fitness clubs and yoga studios, will continue to grow . . . More signs of this trend include the growth of natural organic foods, meds, and wellness programs. The popularity of Silver Sneakers and grass roots exercise programs for seniors are another manifestation of the rise of the wellness generation.”3

Offering your clients additional cash-based services that you can educate them about or have them sample while they are in your practice is a great way to encourage their participation in appropriate health and wellness services.

  • “Quick” cash-based physical therapy sessions and tune-ups
  • “Comfort” services (massage, stretching)
  • Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi
  • Medically oriented gym (MOG)
  • Brain fitness programs
  • Specific disease risk management/prevention (Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cerebrovascular accident [CVA], Alzheimer’s, etc.)
  • Sports performance analysis and training
  • Health risk assessments
  • Lifestyle coaching
  • Nutrition and dietary resources

What could you offer that would add value and convenience to your clients? Having a well-appointed display with the retail sales items listed here, and actively using the correct ones in therapy first, is a great way to ensure that your patients walk away with the tools they need to actively implement their exercise programs and lifestyle modifications!

Retail Sales Item Ideas:
  • Shoes (running, fitness, walking, diabetic)
  • Orthotics, custom and over the counter
  • Socks, apparel (fitness/running)
  • Braces
  • Jumper’s knee strap
  • Tennis armband
  • Theracane, Tiger Tail
  • Walkers, canes, specialized gait tools
  • Dexterity gadgets (light switch adapters, key adapters, writing kits, etc.)
  • Various therapy tools for pain/exercise (Thera-Band kits, foot wheel, core stretch, Strassburg Socks, fitness balls, foam rollers, compression hose, etc.)
  • Books on health, fitness, running
  • Supplements
  • Lumbar rolls
  • Bosu’s
  • Gel Packs Extra-Large with LOGO
  • Heel lifts
  • Shoe inserts
  • Supplements: (check with your state practice act!)
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements
  • Balance B Complex supplements
  • Omega-3 fish oil supplements
  • Back/sacral supports

Examine what your clients would value and how you could bring them that value and specifically coach them on how to use it to improve their health and their lives. Carefully consider what your POP opportunity might be.


1. Quelch, Harvard Business Review, Accessed August 2016.

2. Accessed August 2016.

3. Accessed August 2016.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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