'Caretailing' Your Way into the Baby Boomer Marketing

Retail expert Rob Baumhover shares some insights into retail strategies for Boomers.

To sell to a baby boomer, the best route is a “caretailing” approach, says Rob Baumhover, director of retail programs for The VGM Group. As you may know, caretailing is the process of recommending add-on, cash sale items that a patient needs in order to recover faster or provide a better quality of life.

Baumhover is not saying HME customer service representatives should channel their inner used car salesman.

“Caretailing is not hocking product,” he explains. “Nobody benefits when we try to sell customers products they absolutely don’t need. The customer spends more money than necessary on items that won’t help them, and we get a reputation of being product-pushers. Not the situation we want. We want to make customers happy and healthy by providing products designed to fit their specific needs so they become loyal, lifelong customers — if they aren’t already.”

By implementing a caretailing mindset within your business, Baumhover says that both you and the baby boomers you’re targeting reap positive tangible and intangible benefits. For example:

For the Customer:

  • Being equipped with all the tools to heal properly or live more comfortably puts the customer’s mind at ease so they can focus on getting/staying healthy.
  • By healing correctly the first time or staying healthy with the add-on products recommended through caretailing, customers can potentially lower medical expenses from repeat doctor visits.
  • Caretailing doesn’t force customers into products they don’t need — it opens their eyes to product possibilities they didn’t know existed.

For the business:

  • Adding additional products to the final ticket increases revenue brought into the store.
  • For hospital-owned business, covering all the bases in the customer’s care will reduce readmissions and the penalties that go with it.
  • Work with your vendor reps to learn sales tips for specific products. After all, they are the experts on their product and how it benefits patients.
  • Doing what’s best for the customer creates a loyal following and generates repeat purchasing.

“Caretailing can be applied to any customer, with any condition or disease state, in any product category,” he advises. “For baby boomers, put yourself in their shoes. What products would you want in order to be comfortable or to heal better if you were in their position?”

Baumhover offered a couple examples:

You’re a 64-year-old weekend warrior – you love running 5Ks, taking your dog on hikes, bike riding, etc. But you recently have been experiencing knee pain and are looking for relief. Products you might need:

  • Athletic compression
  • Pain relief creams
  • Hot and cold packs

You’ve had Type I diabetes since you were young. You’ve managed it great your entire life, but now that you’re 56, you’re beginning to have pain in your feet and legs. Products you might need:

  • Diabetic footwear
  • Shoe inserts
  • Pain relief creams
  • Compression stockings
  • Hot and cold packs

“Repeat this process for any situation you come across,” he says. “You’ll think of several add-on products that’ll give the baby boomer customer a true caretailing experience. The key is keeping the customer’s health and best interest at the forefront.”

To summarize, six to product categories that Baumhover suggests caring for baby boomers include:

  • Supportive footwear/insoles
  • Active compression
  • Muscle/Pain massagers
  • Pain creams
  • Compression socks
  • Comfort pillows

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Joseph Duffy is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and a regular contributor to HME Business. He can be reached via e-mail at joe@prooferati.com.

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