To someone it may sound weird, but development of older adult care products and services is very likely to grow into a huge new market niche soon, given the number of baby boomers promises to increase by 75 percent. One may think that pensioners are not the customers ready to spend money, but this is actually a misperception. Firstly, because their children try all means of the modern science and technology to provide their beloved parents, grandparents and great-grandparents with proper care and attention. Thanks god, they live longer and in most cases wish to stay in their own houses. Secondly, there are more and more older adults ready to embrace and adapt to a wide range of health-centric technology initiatives, such as remote diagnostics for example.
So let’s call it a branch of digital health startups. How to succeed in senior care market?
Labels and logos decide in older adult care business: people want to be treated respectfully towards their dignity and age with grace. How to choose a proper addressing to your elders: “senior citizen”, “elder” or “older adult”? It’s essential to pick up a descriptor that will perfectly match your target audience.
They say targeting is extremely important in providing services to older adults. This is because the community is pretty diverse: consider groups of youthful 60-year-olds and 90-year-olds, employed and retired, sedentary and active, and there are way more filters applicable.
Trying to offer products to several customer groups at a time is a bad idea. Successful companies usually focus on one or two archetypes and provide specific solutions particularly to selected individuals. Not only such approach does make your offer more concrete, but it also helps to reject the initiatives, which are not likely to boom.
Focus on the end customer
Whatever you are going to produce in senior care business, stick to the preferences of older adults first. Not their caregivers, family or senior living center. At the end of the day, those who will really need your product or service are the older adults you selected as the target audience. So listen to them, think of the personal, emotional benefits that could encourage your customers to accept the new care product or experience.
You can have a look at
Source: the 2016 Survey Report by Aging 2.0
Design goes first
You should not neglect the “perfect design” issue while engineering a product or service for elderly people. That would be a huge costly mistake. Everyone loves well-made design, independently of age and profession. And in case with senior customers, design is even more complicated task since it is not only about look and feel that should be attractive: the whole customer experience is built on it. Note that elderly people are more picky in these concerns – they don’t want to have problems with pushing some small buttons or opening a box of medicine for ages for example. If you manage to come up with a revolutionary design for an obsolete product or service (which is almost a no-complete mission), it has all chances to become a brand new offer that will bring you money and success.
Remember that senior care business is a fragmented market with a complicated sales process: in most cases, the buyer is represented by more than one person. Which is why you have to sell the product to an older adult, plus their caregiver. On top of that, successful solutions must match the existing workflow, otherwise you will put off the adoption and scaling.
The basic advice here is to make the potential decision makers understand that your product is a “must have”, rather than a “nice to have”. After you have come up with the product vision, it is time to mandate the solution through the organization.
Unfortunately, distribution is usually the tool that most investors and industry leaders lack while offering support programs to startups.
Do not misperceive that prototyping involves only design and user experience. In fact, you can (and should!) prototype as many business aspects as possible, including distribution strategy mentioned above.
You can make a checklist for you and your partners to succeed in the product launch:
What is the real benefit to the user and caregiver?
What is the trigger point?
Will this fit into the current workflow?
How does it fit into the current payment system?
and so on.
While searching for promising offers in senior care industry, do not forget about the innovative approach and of course consider the latest tech achievements. Although older people are far from tech lovers, disruptions are based on tech in the 21st century, because it makes our lives much easier. Currently, there is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to solve some older adult care challenges with advances suggested by the Internet of Things: smart devices and smart homes have already become the norm.
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