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IN-DEPTH: Bathroom Accessibility

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As well as the mainstream mobility products, AMP is keen to cover the entire spectrum of what access and mobility means for the industry.

This month, in touch with Handicare and Closomat, we discover how their individual business offerings cater for their customers when it comes to toilet and bathing accessibility.

We spoke to Karen Stockdill (KS), senior sales manager at Handicare and Robin Tuffley (RT), marketing manager at Closomat before the coronavirus outbreak to find out more.

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What key trends do you currently see driving products in the bathing aids market?

KS: Walk-in showers and wet rooms are undoubtedly the most popular products, driven by customers’ demand for adaptations which can be completed easily with minimal disruption and which are then easy for them to maintain.

Across the UK market, what opportunities have you made available for dealers and how can they make the most of them?

RT: What is believed to be an industry ‘first’ is being pioneered by Closomat in a bid to empower distributors to optimise their sales and bottom line profitability.

At Closomat, which is Britain’s only indigenous manufacturer of wash dry/smart toilets, we are introducing online training. Open to contractors registered with Closomat, the training is based upon a series of video/Q&A based modules ane once it is successfully completed, the student is validated as a Closomat approved installer and commissioner.

To our knowledge, we are the only major brand of smart toilets to offer online training.

Thus people wanting to become approved installers can achieve the recognition more expediently, and within their own time frames, from the comfort of their own home or office, unhampered by restrictions resulting from the COVID19 virus. Successful completion of the training validates the student to install, and commission, the Closomat Palma Vita- the UK’s biggest selling wash dry WC.

As the Palma Vita is the only smart toilet developed specifically for disabled and elderly people, and the only one that can be accessorised to accommodate different needs as they alter with time, approved installers can gain add-on sales and installation opportunities, adapting the original Closomat to address those changing requirements.

KS: Handicare has an extensive network of mobility retail partners and dealers, and we work closely together to provide their customers with reliable and affordable home adaptations and solutions to their mobility challenges.

Our offer to trade partners includes specialist accessible bathing solutions as well as stairlifts and homelifts, giving them the opportunity to expand their own range of solutions and therefore their profits by passing their leads to a trusted supplier with the same service values and standards.

It’s a strategy that’s working well for our partner network with many taking advantage of the favourable commission rates we offer for leads passed in more than one product area. We want to make it easy for our partners and their customers to do business with us, and our focus is on providing the most advanced and stylish accessible bathing range and a professional project management service from initial enquiry right through to installation and after-care. If dealers are getting enquiries about product areas they don’t currently offer, we want them to see us as their preferred partner for independent living solutions who can help them to turn a missed opportunity into a chance to increase customer value, loyalty and ultimately revenue.

As the market expands and progresses, what are the main challenges facing the bathing aids market?

KS: Functionality and practicality are always going to be key in this marketplace and providers need to balance this with the rising demand for both more technologically advanced as well as solutions which are aesthetically pleasing too. Accessibility must be the priority; we should not lose sight of our fundamental role which is to understand an individual’s mobility challenges and provide products to them that will make a difference.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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