Why are some dementia products still too expensive? We explain what Unforgettable is doing to bring down the prices of products that can help people with dementia

As a social business, Unforgettable is driven by one desire; to improve the lives of all those affected by dementia. The price of dementia products is something we think about constantly. We know how important price is to you too. A recent Unforgettable survey found that whilst the vast majority of customers are very satisfied with our products and services, they do find some of them rather expensive. ‘The concept is amazing, but some things are very pricey,’ one person commented. ‘Lower prices would definitely help me,’ another said.

So we want to explain why dementia products are often more expensive than we’d like – and what we’re doing to bring them down.

The good news: We’ve halved the price of day clocks

Since we launched two years ago, Unforgettable has managed to bring down the prices of many bestselling products, particularly day clocks.

The cheapest day clock available before we launched in September 2015 cost around £80, and the display screen choices were limited; you could either buy a clock which displayed the exact time and date or one for the later stages of dementia which just displayed the time of day. This meant you needed to buy two clocks to get you through the whole dementia journey.

We’ve created our own day clock, combining all the features of both older style clocks. The Unforgettable 2-in-1 Calendar & Day Clock is available in two sizes, increasing customer choice as well as lowering prices. The new, smaller 7” clock costs only £39.99.

But there’s a lot more to do

Here’s a few reasons why some products cost more than we’d like

1. Low volume = expensive products. Almost everyone who makes products for people with dementia does so on a small scale, manufacturing between 500-1000 at a time, which means the manufacturing costs are pretty high.

The more products you produce, the lower the cost and the easier it is to reduce the price. For example, if they were to manufacture 20,000 to 30,000 at a time, prices could probably be slashed by half. But 30,000 items represents around £750,000 worth of stock – that’s a lot of money to spend with no guarantee of selling them in reasonable time.

2. High marketing costs mean products are currently more expensive than we’d like.
If you’ve created a great innovative dementia product, how do you sell it? Until Unforgettable was launched the options were pretty limited. You could try approaching charities, small online health retailers and catalogues or pay to advertise. But most of these channels are notoriously difficult to break into and aren’t very fruitful either. Marketing is also exceptionally expensive. But we have to spend it because many people in the UK still don’t know that products exist to help people with dementia. So we need to build awareness of them before we can hope to sell them. In effect, we need to build a ‘market.’

3. Dementia doesn’t discriminate. There’s no dementia demographic to make it easier to target certain audiences. For instance, a dementia carer might be an Asda shopper, a Waitrose shopper, a young woman or an elderly man. People with dementia may be extremely wealthy or extremely poor, they may be in their fifties or their nineties. No matter how great your product is and how much it could potentially help all of the above people, marketing it to so many different groups is extremely expensive and very difficult.

Here’s what we’re doing

1. Increasing volume. Unforgettable has been set up to be a global, high volume mass market social business. If we can increase the number of products our suppliers are able to sell through us, they can afford to manufacturer more of them. So instead of ordering 100 products at a time, they order 10,000 at a time – and reduce the prices significantly.

2. Increasing awareness and availability. Our partnership with LloydsPharmacy means that for the first-time ever, dementia products are available on the high street, reaching more and more people who might need them.

3. Making the price right. Our aim is to reduce prices significantly by doing the above, by having our own warehouse and by constantly looking for better value products. And if that means creating our own products, we’ll do that too.

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