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Mobility Britain joins the BHTA

Mary Eardley Mobility Britain image

The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has gained a new member called Mobility Britain, which is an online retail store specialising in mobility scooters and accessories. It began trading in July 2023 and is owned by Mary Eardley, whose background is in NHS healthcare.

BHTA recently spoke to Mary Eardley, Company Owner of Mobility Britain, to learn more about how the firm intends to sell mobility scooters online while still giving customers the information they need to make an informed purchase for their individual needs.

Selling mobility scooters online

The decision to sell mobility scooters online is a subject that is often debated. Internet selling offers customers a high level of convenience and is growing in popularity in line with the increasing number of elderly and disabled people in the UK.

However, there are concerns that when buying mobility scooters online, people do not get the right product for their needs or do not receive training on how to operate their scooter.

Mary’s approach to selling mobility scooters online ethically and responsibly is ensuring that customers get showroom levels of service in the comfort of their own homes.

“At Mobility Britain we address these concerns by offering excellent customer support before and after sales,” Mary continued. “Customers are given the information they need to choose the right scooter for their individual needs, with telephone and email support.

“We also arrange home assembly and demonstration for everyone who buys a mobility scooter from our online store. Unlike many other online retailers, Mobility Britain offers this at no additional cost to the customer.

“The retailer has a responsibility to the customer and the wider public, to offer instruction on how to use the scooter safety.”

A background in healthcare

Mary’s background in healthcare and caring for people with mobility problems has given her transferrable skills, which have helped her when setting up Mobility Britain. These include understanding the needs of customer with disabilities and being aware that people may have mental health problems or be vulnerable and thus less able to make informed choices.

My aim is to provide a safe and reliable service, acting in the best interests of the customer at all times,” Mary affirmed. “I have found it is important to communicate effectively and calmly, finding solutions to a wide range of problems. I have had to answer multiple enquiries from customers, ranging from tyre pressures to payment options, so it has been a steep learning curve for me.”

Working with reliable mobility suppliers

One of Mary’s priorities when setting up Mobility Britain was to find suppliers who are reliable, responsive, and offer fast delivery times. The retailer only works with UK-based suppliers who can fulfil these criteria.

“I am delighted to have signed contracts with Monarch Mobility, Motion Healthcare, Pride Mobility, Drive DeVilbiss, Freerider and Van Os, all of whom have been extremely helpful throughout the signing process, and their subsequent sales support has been excellent,” said Mary.

“I have partnered with Healthcare Distribution Direct (HDD) to provide home delivery, assembly, and demonstration for all my customers across the UK. I have confidence that, with their efficiency and expertise, my customers will receive a consistently good service.

“The other benefit of working with HDD is that they are based in Yorkshire, which appears to be the mobility scooter capital of Britain! Most of my suppliers are also based in the county, which makes logistics easier and the carbon footprint smaller.”

The final piece of the puzzle was for Mobility Britain to work with an insurance company that could offer specialist mobility scooter insurance and extended warranty.

Mary explained: “Recent cases of fatalities caused by mobility scooters have highlighted the importance of public liability insurance to protect the user and the general public. It is also beneficial for customers to have insurance to cover accidental damage and 24/7 breakdown recovery.

“Having researched the market, I applied to become an Approved Representative for Mark Bates. They guided me through the FCA requirements and helped to make my website compliant with the regulations.

“Customers now have the option of purchasing insurance and extended warranty policies at the point of sale, which is both reassuring and sensible.”

Facing challenges in the online world

Mary noted that the online market is very competitive, with some online retailers selling products at low prices that are hard to match. However, may of these online sellers charge the customer for home assembly and demonstration – something that Mobility Britain offers for free.

“Our core principle is to offer the same socially responsible service to all our customers, so we will not be adding an additional charge for assembly and demonstration, even though this affects our margins,” added Mary.

Mary has also experienced reluctance from some mobility scooter manufacturers to work with her firm because Mobility Britain is an online retailer without a showroom.

“I hope they reconsider when they see that I am able to provide excellent customer support before and after sales,” Mary continued. “The customers who visit my virtual store have already made a decision to buy online; my intention is to make that purchase as safe as possible. Having BHTA accreditation will provide further reassurance that Mobility Britain is committed to good customer care.”

The decision to become a BHTA member

Mary concluded: “I applied to join the BHTA as soon as I started trading, as the Code of Practice aligns with my own ethical and professional values. I hope to benefit from the peer support, education and networking opportunities at section meetings and online training events.

“I am pleased to be part of being in an organisation that protects consumers, has a role in shaping policy, and driving up standards in the UK healthcare industry.”

To find out more about how the BHTA can support your business and how to become a BHTA member, visit this page.