GUEST COLUMN: Are mobility retailers missing a trick by only focusing on products they know?

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Robin Tuffley, marketing manager at Closomat

A new report is validating what we have always said: the bathroom is the room most commonly altered to accommodate the occupant’s changing ability.

The market for inclusive bathrooms and kitchens has grown by 20% in four years, and is now worth over £180 million.

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But are you getting your fair share?

The traditional belief is that mobility retailers focus on the smaller living aids, with specialist building companies executing kitchen and bathroom adaptations.

Yet most home adaptations to address limited mobility are actually comparatively small. Almost 60% of those funded by the Disabled Facilities Grant cost less than £5000, so certainly aren’t involving a complete refit of the kitchen or bathroom. So, by looking at the products you offer, can you take a share of the market?

It is perfectly acceptable for you to sell, for example, a riser recliner chair. But why not offer the toilet equivalent alongside – a toilet lifter? The chances are, neither you nor they even know such a thing exists. If someone’s in the market for the former, chances are they will also need the latter.

It is an easy sell as the need is already proven. You don’t even have to allocate sales floor space to it, just pop one over your customer toilet. In one, you have a product they can see and try before they buy – and you’re enhancing the whole customer experience.

Once you’ve got the focus on the ‘smallest room’, there is significant potential to add on sales, if you choose a reputable manufacturer for the supply.

There are fixtures, for example wash and dry shower toilets, which do not require major alterations on your buyer’s part. This enables them to retain their independence and where you can delegate the installation to the manufacturer. It’s standard practice with equipment such as stairlifts.

Advances in design and technology mean that some of these fixtures are actually moving out of the realm of living aids and becoming aspirational fittings.

With their push button remote control operation, they appeal to millennials and with their integrated douching and drying, they offer the enhanced hygiene and wellbeing appreciated by the silver generation.

Just offering such equipment differentiates you and encourages people to visit, whether or not they buy one.

It addresses the needs of the person becoming less mobile and who needs help. But it appeals to their family too, who may well be with them during the buying process and who may be sharing a home with them in this increasingly multi-generational society.

It gives you a USP, an innovative marketing tool that you can use to get people through the door. Once in, it’s up to you to convert them….

Tags : closomatliving aidpalma vitawash and dry
Joe Peskett

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