AARP National Convention’s Lifestyle Expo

I’m working at the annual AARP Life@50+ national convention in Los Angeles, promoting exercise and rehabilitation systems from sibling companies VQ ActionCare and VQ OrthoCare. Because nothing says “over 50” like bum knees and lack of exercise, our products BioniCare and Resistance Chair are right at home here!

Here are my thoughts on reaching this audience:

  1. Life@50+ is a lifestyle expo.It’s unlike any other trade show I’ve sponsored because these 25,000 attendees are linked solely by their era of birth. Unlike trade shows or other consumer-focused shows that lure experts and enthusiasts in a particular category, the aisles and pavilions of Life@50+ are an A-to-Z trip through life as an older American in 2011: finances, food, leisure, communication, and health. Hence, the exhibits list reads like the Yellow Pages instead of a trade association roster.
  2. Main Street USA. Strolling the aisles is also like a shopping trip down a traditional Main Street: travel agents, medical dispensers, clothiers, Realtors. As in medieval days when merchants posted garish, graphical signs to inform and lure shoppers, we Life@50 exhibitors must show and tell our brands’ value propositions in concise, visually arresting terms. Here, it’s especially challenging to win new customers and sell them on the spot, but really rewarding when it does happen!

Life@50+ rolls through Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a most improbable, yet purely LA mash-up of celebrities including Spike Lee, Tim Gunn and Carol Burnett.

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Gaming for Fitness: Products Span Retailer Aisles

The latest issue of Vision, the Consumer Electronics Assocation’s excellent trade publication features Gaming for Health.  The video gaming industry is feeding new technology and ergonomic interfaces to keep people of all ages fit, alert, and helping them to recover and rehabilitate.

“Exergaming” extends into all age groups and global selling regions. Foundations and university research sites also advance the use of exergames to help better understand health risks and behaviors.

At VQ ActionCare, we’re expanding our retail channel partnerships for sales of a low-impact, seated exercise and rehabilitation system called the Resistance Chair.  While clearly low-tech in form and function, thousands of Resistance Chair users plug into instructional DVDs that allow people stay at home and keep fit. We’re studying our customer’s useage habits and deciding what the next generation of this product will be. It will likely contain more digital intelligence, and link to online fitness and training aids.

Established sporting goods and big box retailers are re-thinking their product lineups, to serve their loyal, aging shoppers. Will be interesting to see how category buyers cross over from the electronics aisle to the fitness corner, when promoting and displaying exergaming and other smart exercise systems.

Read more.

Building Retail Channels: A Milestone

I’m pleased to share news from VQ ActionCare about our retail expansion strategy. Signing up nationwide, top-brand retailers is such an important milestone to reach, and is worthy of a big shout-out.

Here’s my favorite part: “We are excited to make this strategic move to partner with five top national retailers …,” said Tom Hanson, Director of Sales, VQ ActionCare. “… these retail partners… share in our commitment to expanding solutions for active seniors in innovative ways.”

Read the whole press release here.  Learn more about VQ ActionCare’s senior fitness solutions here.

Sales Channel Strategies for In-home Fitness Equipment

My latest assignment: create a new retail brand category that addresses the unique fitness needs of an ever-growing consumer set. And, to recruit and motivate retail partners who are desperately seeking high-quality and innovative products to stock in-store and online that will serve these loyal customer groups.

Simple, In-Home Solutions for Fit and Active Lifestyles

The product line is fitness equipment for low-impact, high-result, in-home workouts for dedicated athletes in the “fit and 50s” upward into the “silver sneaker” sets… now that’s a fun challenge. Fun, because retail channel partners get to hear a compelling story of how these active folks want to sustain a healthy lifestyle… and up until now, haven’t been able to find simple, durable and affordable products in stores. And, the gym experience can be off-putting for these groups… particularly women. Hence the appeal of a compact, in-home solution.

The company’s product already sells quite well through TV advertising, and has terrific global play, too. As with any successful channel formation endeavor, in addition to the mainstream retailers – Sears and BestBuy (yes, they’re selling fitness gear now…) — smaller, niche retail channels exist. For instance, did you know Camping World sells a whole line of “add-on” products to RV owners, that enrich their on-the-move lifestyle? Well, who says Snowbirds can’t remain physically fit as they bask in the Sunbelt winters?

When recruiting retail channel partners, we also rate in-store staff and their ability to inform and educate older shoppers; and the ambiance of the store. A super-charged, gym-like show floor pumping techno-beats and stocked with high-performance and bulky equipment can be intimidating to an older shopper. Online transactions can’t be counted on to carry the bulk of sales volume, either, yet — at least for the next few years.

Learn more about the Resistance Chair line by VQ ActionCare.

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