EDITOR’S VIEW: Are you a flexible retailer when it comes to finance?

Buying a mobility product, especially one with a four-figure price tag or which might be a once-only purchase, can be a daunting prospect for a customer. Often it is not even the user’s decision — it might be a family member or a carer that influences the outcome or presides over the choice that is made.

And while mobility equipment is a more considered and thought-out purchase than your average commodity, the financial hang-ups that make customers think twice about spending money in other areas of retail ring just as true here. In the current environment, where customers are contending with inflationary pressures and less discretionary spend in their pocket, even retailers in the mobility sector have to think about the ways in which they can make it easier for buyers to acquire the products they really want and need.

So the announcement from Simplyhealth’s The Unlimited Company that it has launched an in-store flexible payment programme really caught my eye this month. It is offering customers 0% interest for up to 24 months, in an effort to give consumers confidence to invest in mobility products.

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It argues that consumers will now be able to access quality equipment for specific needs and living requirements without worrying about upfront payments, with no deposit required. It’s a tactic that is entrenched in other parts of the retail sector, particularly household appliances, and seems destined to spread in the mobility industry, particularly among multi-site players. After all, retailers need the tills to ring and anything that makes a product more affordable and accessible to a customer must be a positive. For instance, it potentially creates a scenario where a buyer has the option of purchasing a more advanced model of scooter, wheelchair or riser recliner that may better fit their needs, rather than being limited to the most basic models.

Flexible payment packages are nothing new and plenty of retailers offer them, but I suspect such tools will come to play a greater part in future success as retailers look to turn conversations into transactions.

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