More and more people are looking for goods and advice on the Internet. By now, elderly customers have long been familiar with online shopping. The specialised medical trade actively shapes this development. Kira Tingelhoff is head of department for the online shop and online marketing of the Sanitätshaus Tingelhoff GmbH in Dortmund. For the coming years, she sees a great boom for the Internet trade with care aids.
Mrs. Tingelhoff, please introduce yourself.
I’ve been working in our family business in Dortmund since 2014. I have a BA in Economics and a Masters degree in Marketing Management. Here at Tingelhoff I work in marketing / sales and am responsible for all online topics: social media from Facebook to YouTube to Xing, our websites and the online shop. With the online shop, I take care of the product selection and the analysis of processes and data. In addition, I look after the online marketing, e.g. the search engine optimisation of our pages.
What are your goals?
In 2014, I was hired to work on social media. I have launched my own blog called T-Magazine. In October 2014, I was given responsibility for the online shop. We have developed it strongly in recent years. Although sales are still low compared to revenues in brick-and-mortar retail, it is important that we position ourselves for the future. It already starts today that the children and grandchildren of those in need of care buy online. But we already had the case that an 80-year-old customer ordered from us in the online shop. A lot will change in the next 5 to 10 years – and big players like Amazon and eBay will discover the healthcare market as well. We are preparing for it. It is also quite possible that in the future customers will increasingly buy care aids privately rather than through the health insurance company because they want higher quality products.
So, Burmeier beds for private customers such as Regia and Inovia are coming at the right time?
Yes, we sell them online. Sometimes you get surprised – e.g. that customers can be given intensive advice about a rollator and then also buy the bed without any further questions. I suspect that these customers have previously been informed at an offline retail location. At Tingelhoff, we sell the entire Burmeier bed range, from standard to premium. In the in-patient area we use the Dali wash particularly often.
This model is a machine washable bed. Do you reprocess it in your own washing system?
Yes, we have had our own certified hygienic system for several years now, which gives us higher quality than manual cleaning. This week we were informed by Burmeier about the new Dali series. I find the wireless handset and the planned apps very interesting.
What further developments do you wish for the future of the care bed?
I wish that the beds look even more home-like and less like care beds. This is already possible today – the white Westfalia classic by Burmeier in Magnolia decor looks quite different from most other models. Of course, digitisation is also important. It would be a big step forward if you could control the bed via an app on your smartphone. With the new Dali series, the adjustment functions of the handset can already be locked and unlocked with an app. We think that's exciting, because the topic of smart homes is gaining more and more importance. A dream of the future would be the use of virtual reality in our customer service. The customer could connect the appropriate headset to their smartphone, virtually configure the bed and see how it works in his apartment.
The Sanitätshaus Tingelhoff GmbH celebrates a big birthday this year ...
Yes, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. On September 9, 1989, my parents opened our shop in Dortmund. Today, we are a full-range provider, deliver with 82 vehicles throughout North Rhine-Westphalia and operate branches in Dortmund, Bochum, Kamen and Ahlen.
Thank you for the interview!