AvaCare competes with world wide web

Friday, June 3, 2016

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – When it came time to rebuild its website from the platform up, AvaCare Medical went all in, with a new name and a new brand to back it up.

Formerly Avaline Medical, AvaCare Medical is an online provider of medical equipment and supplies—from patient lifts to wheelchairs to incontinence and skin care products.

“We are not a storefront, so our competitor is not two blocks away,” said CEO Steven Zeldes. “Our competitor is the world wide web.”

The new website, avacaremedical.com, offers an improved user experience, with easy-to-browse categories featuring more than 90,000 products with product photos, descriptions and reviews.

The new website also has a “FitRep” feature that allows users to enter information like height, weight and mobility level to find the right equipment.

“A customer doesn’t have the ability to sit in the wheelchair to see how it feels, or measure it,” said Zeldes. “We have to give them that experience online with the information that’s most relevant to them.”

What’s more, AvaCare is just starting to ramp up the website—it will be adding buying guides, blogs and other features going forward.

It’s all in the name of customer service, which carries a high premium when you’re talking about online purchases, Zeldes says.

“A lot of times, the customers don’t know what they need,” he said. “We can hold their hand and walk them through the options; we can send them samples.”

AvaCare, which has about 400,000 customers, accepts no insurance, Zeldes says.

“Believe it or not, people ask me all the time, ‘How do you get people to buy out of pocket?’” he said. “People simply don’t have insurance, or the insurance won’t cover a particular product, or the product broke and the plan won’t cover a new one. Also, many of our customers possibly don’t want to go through the hassle that insurance can sometimes cause.”