More about… Companion
A new player enters the homelift market
With the technology becoming increasingly affordable and more homeowners seeing the future-proofing potential of installing homelifts, it is safe to say the emerging market for through-floor-lifts is one that will continue rise over the coming years. With already established players in the market, Companion has launched a new proposition with aims of becoming retailers’ preferred homelift partner.
Companion, a provider of stairlifts and accessible bathing solutions and the direct-selling arm of Handicare, extended its product offering to include a new range of homelifts on the 1st of October.
The move to enter the sector will now see the home adaptations provider in direct competition with major players in the expanding homelift market, including Stiltz, Lifton and Terry Lifts.
Manufactured in the UK, the new range of homelifts will join Companion’s straight and curved stairlifts solutions, as well as accessible bathing including walk-in showers, walk-in baths, wet rooms and the recently launched Showerpod.
David Harrison, Sales and Marketing Director for Companion, says he believes Companion will soon become retailers’ preferred partner for all their home adaptation leads, describing how the company’s various accreditations means retailers can trust leads are being managed responsibly.
The homelifts offered by Companion come in three options, with a choice of traction or hydraulic drive systems and a unique, space-saving design featuring only rear posts with no obtrusive side posts. In addition, the company will provide retailers with a full suite of digital and print marketing information for homelifts via its online portal.
THIIS caught up with David Harrison to find out more about the motivations behind the decision to enter the homelift sector, why retailers should consider working with the company and more details about the homelifts on offer.
With so much competition in the homelift market, why should retailers choose to work with Companion?
Companion has been operating in a competitive marketplace for over 15 years, so we’re completely geared up to take on the homelifts sector, where there is strong growth thanks to changing attitudes towards home adaptations amongst the older generation.
Our Accredited Partner scheme, which is now in its second year, continues to attract retailers who are looking for suppliers to provide the quality products and fantastic service they demand for themselves and on behalf of their own customers.
Our network of over 200 retailers regularly pass stairlift and accessible bathing leads to us, trusting their customers to us with all-round fantastic results which has seen them grow their businesses and earn thousands in commission. In 2018, our commission payment to partners has grown by over 65%.
Adding homelifts to the Companion offer was the natural next step and we’re excited about the models in the range which meet the same high safety and design standards we demand of all our stairlift and bathing solutions.
Partners know they will get the very best customer service, while our online portal means they can keep up-to-date with how we’re doing with their leads as well as access information and resources to help their marketing efforts.
Can you tell us more about how the new homelifts offering will fit into the Accredited Partner scheme?
We believe that our Accredited Partners get much more for their leads than just commission on sales. Our team spend a lot of time and effort getting to know our partners and their business, providing advice and support both over the phone and at face-to-face meetings.
And we don’t just reward sales either, our scheme includes rewards for every 10 leads passed and a monthly free prize draw open to everyone who passes a lead that converts.
Can you give an indication on the commission retailers can earn?
When it comes to commission rates, we know there are some retailers who are keen to work with us on a single product range, while others are keen to trust us with customers across our full range of home adaptations.
Our rates will consider how many different ranges a retailer is referring to us on a regular basis, so for a shop passing stairlift, bathing and homelift leads, the rates will be enhanced.
What has the response been from retailers working with Companion regarding the new range?
Activity on the portal went through the roof on the day of our launch! There was a real buzz in the office and the response from partners has been extremely encouraging, with a number of really good leads coming in on the first day!
Have you found that the growth of the homelift market has impacted the demand for stairlifts?
In the last few years, we have seen steady growth in demand for our stairlifts, so I wouldn’t say that the homelift market has had a negative impact.
The customer demographic is different for the two products. Most of our stairlift customers are buying because they have an immediate need for help to use stairs, while homelift customers have an eye on their future needs and may make the decision to buy before they need help.
Clearly this has long-term implications if the UK’s housing stock features homelifts as standard but I think we’re a long way from that being the case.
What distinguishes the homelifts offered by Companion from others in the market?
Companion’s homelift range has three models – the Cygnus, the Aurora and the Stratus – all manufactured in the UK and compliant with the latest safety standards in terms of fire and smoke protection. The lifts all look good, perform well and, most importantly, take up very little space according to the user’s needs. In fact, the range includes a lift with one of the smallest footprints currently available at just 0.67m2.
“In the last few years, we have seen steady growth in demand for our stairlifts, so I wouldn’t say that the homelift market has had a negative impact.” David Harrison
Each of the models can be tailored to suit the needs of the customer and their home, in terms of functionality, capability, drive mechanism, size and colour finishes. They are all suitable for wheelchairs and walking passengers.
When it comes to installation, the lifts’ self-supporting designs require minimal construction work which means they can be installed and ready to use in as little as one day.
For more information about the new range, contact the Accredited Partner support team on 0800 620 0826.