Quality, style more important than price when selecting a scooter from an HME provider.
by Patricia O’Brien

Google the term “baby boomer” to discover a wide variety of topics. You can learn almost anything about this powerful generation of Americans—the types of places they want to live or visit on vacation, the types of cars they like to drive, the food they want to eat, how they should exercise and the technology they feel most comfortable using. I was hard pressed, however, to find an article on the subject of how to select the right mobility scooter to improve and increase their level of independence.

We’ve all heard the statistics—baby boomers control more than 80 percent of personal financial assets and more than 50 percent of discretionary spending power. They are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending and buy 77 percent of all prescription drugs, 61 percent of over-the-counter medication and 80 percent of all leisure travel. Baby boomers—the generation of Americans born between 1945 and 1964—are 76 million strong. This is a generation that any business owner should take seriously, particularly those in the home medical equipment market.

There can be a stigma associated with a medical device even if it improves people’s lives, whether it’s a walker, lift chair or scooter. People do not want to appear disabled. They do not want others to think they are getting old, and they do not want to feel old. Aesthetics are one of the most important aspects buyers consider when selecting a scooter. Quality is part of the overall aesthetics of a scooter. It must have a fresh, sharp style while demonstrating high quality, all at the first glance. Nobody wants to use a product that looks outdated or institutional. Boomers, just like anyone else, want other people to look at them and their scooter and say, “Wow! That’s a great looking scooter. I wish I had that.”

 “Adult teenagers” is the way Phil Goodman, co-author of the Boomer Marketing Revolution, describes this generation. “Boomers will always try to act much younger than their chronological age,” he wrote. As a result, boomers still want to fulfill the dreams they had at 25, even if their bodies are unwilling or unable. A mobility scooter can help them keep alive those dreams of traveling the globe.

Offering accessories that enhance the aesthetics and functionality of a scooter—such as cup holders, walker holders, replacement shrouds and cell phone or MP3 player holders—all contribute to the overall aesthetics and quality of the scooter. 

With dreams of travel comes the need for portability. Larger scooters, which are ideal for outdoor use or for a bariatric client, require a ramp or scooter lift when transporting them. For customers who can comfortably ride a compact travel scooter, the most important features to consider are the ease of disassembly and the weight of the heaviest single piece that may have to be lifted into a car trunk for transport.

Comfort is another key feature when selecting a scooter. The scooter must truly fit the person driving it. A scooter must make them feel stable, safe and secure.  Comfort and safety are connected with good quality.

Just as when they go to purchase a new car, TV or personal computer, boomers expect to work with a knowledgeable sales person and will quickly dismiss a company whose sales people cannot tell them the features, benefits and differences of various scooters. Work with your manufacturing partners to schedule product in-services and sales training presentations on a regular basis so that your sales team feels as comfortable as the manufacturer’s sales rep when selling a scooter.

Baby boomers, like all of us, have their pride—they would rather not have to rely on a scooter. They want to be able to walk around the mall, around Disney World with their grandkids, around the grocery store to do their weekly shopping. They simply cannot always do that. They rely on their neighborhood home medical equipment provider to advise them on the best mobility product to meet their individual needs, one that offers fresh style, high quality components, comfort and ease of use—all at a reasonable price.

Senior Care Products, Spring 2012