Innovation in Offering the Ordinary in an Extraordinary Way
By Kenneth C. Bator, MBA
Let’s talk about a product that nobody wants to need. Can you transform the customer experience and make shopping for it enjoyable? Now that would be an innovation!
The product is DME. For those of you not in the healthcare industry or not familiar with the acronym, DME stands for durable medical equipment. Basically any piece of equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living qualifies as a DME. Common examples include wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches – none of which would be thought of as innovative.
Let’s face it, for those that are unfortunate to have a need for DME, heading to a business that specializes in this area isn’t a highly anticipated event. Regardless of how friendly, accommodating, and empathetic the staff might be, it’s still akin to a “hosptalesque” experience. But then there’s Mobul, the home mobility stores in Southern California.
Mobul’s innovation is in the how they display DME. Rather than feeling like your walking into an urgent care center, you’re greeted by people that are eager to serve, in a store that’s large and wisely laid out. The floor is set up in sections that mirror common rooms in the house such as the living room, bedroom, and kitchen. This allows people to, in essence, “test drive” the equipment in a similar environment to their homes. Customers also get a better sense of how the DME will look. A bathroom support bar affixed to a shower-like tile wall is a better visual than a product hanging on a hook in hard plastic.
The beauty of Mobul is also in the alignment of the brand and culture – possibly achieved instinctively if not consciously:
- The brand of a high-end store, or as CEO and founder Wayne Slavitt would say, “The Nordstrom of home mobility.”
- The culture of delivering an experience that makes a DME customer comfortable when shopping for an item he or she would rather not need to buy.
The innovation came from anticipating and uncovering a need. To my knowledge, no one asked for a better floor plan in shopping for DME. The founders saw the opportunity and ran with it. Sometimes innovation simply comes from offering the ordinary in an extraordinary way.
Kenneth Bator is president of BTC Small Business
This article first appeared in News From Heartland
Copyright © 2016 Kenneth C. Bator
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