Less expensive mobility products like daily living aids can be invaluable to retail businesses looking to draw new customers and forge long term relationships with clients.
That’s according to a number of industry suppliers who have been urging dealers not to overlook the importance of items because of their lower price points. Some manufacturers fear that items like scooters and furniture are prioritised ahead of living aids which they feel can be equal business drivers rather than stock clutter.
For Ran Meyrav, sales manager at Amplicomms, says filling in the gaps, living aids can provide a steady revenue stream that is easier to achieve with faster purchasing decisions.
In an industry that relies so heavily upon a strong relationship between retailer and end-user, smaller aids can be instrumental in building trust and loyalty and can help to secure long term customers.
While someone might visit a mobility shop for a pair of specialist slippers, which can admittedly take up a lot of serving time, if they are treated well it is likely they will return to the same store for more and higher value items down the line.
Geoff Morris, managing director of Uniscan, a manufacturer of ultra-light rollators and walking aids, believes that generally speaking, the first contact that most customers will have with a retailer will be for a daily living aid. “These products tend to be lower value items and as a consequence carry smaller margins. The retailer will need to shift large volumes, swiftly to make this type of business profitable,” Morris comments.
“However, there is another very important consideration. It is most likely the customer needs will grow as their condition or health alters and the requirement for higher value products inevitably will arise. Therefore, if the customer experience at that first and most crucial visit to the retailer is successful they are more likely to visit again for their future needs and this is where opportunities exist.
“Daily living aids tend to be the entry point but a happy customer experience will offer the potential to develop a relationship and maximise the lifetime value of the customer. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.”
German tableware supplier Ornamin believes that daily living aids can be an important asset to retailers. A spokesperson said: “Tableware could be used at least three times a day and are essential part of daily living as eating and drinking is essential for life. The products might be small and comparatively ‘cheap’, but they can make a huge difference in disabled peoples’ lives. It is also good for the retailers expertise and image to offer such innovative products.”
Andrew King, sales manager at Etac, agrees that such products can be an “add on” item and a way for a retailer to start building a relationship with the user. “Typically, an older person may realise that they need a little help with their daily tasks so start with buying daily living aids. The retailer can start to build a relationship so as the user needs more assistive devices, they are able to help,” King outlines.
And when it comes to building a relationship, Chris Peacock, inventor of handSteady, reveals that it is often the smaller living aids that have the biggest impact on clients.
“It’s the simple tasks that someone can no longer carry out that they find hard to live with,” Peacock says. “Daily living aids are often a great way for someone to gain back that little bit of independence that they had lost. People often buy daily living aids in larger volume too, so they may have a lower price point but the smaller items are purchased in larger quantities and on a more regular basis which is why they are still important to retailers.”