Although Millennials and Gen Z have received increasing attention from marketers lately, retailers must not underestimate Baby Boomers and their impressive spending power. In fact, Boomers will shortly become even more affluent, as they’re expected to inherit a whopping $8.4 trillion by 2030 and most of them are, or will soon be empty nesters (Forbes). Born after World War II in a favorable economic climate, Boomers are now between 53 and 71. With the medical advances of the last few decades, Boomers are healthier than ever and their future still shines bright, making it critical for brands to adapt to this significant segment of the population. Baby Boomers are particularly fascinating to study: unlike subsequent generations, they were not born with technology, yet somehow have managed to incorporate it into their daily lives and shopping habits. This article explores the different realities retailers should take into account if they wish to appeal to Baby Boomers, to both achieve higher ROI and create the memorable experiences that these customers demand.
Outstanding In-Store Experience
Members of the Baby Boomer generation have passed through endless malls and stores over the years, and they’ve seen it all in terms of selling strategies. Thus, offering an in-store experience tailored to Boomers’ specific needs is absolutely essential for retailers who hope to set themselves apart. While reaching for their sales objectives, store associates should also focus on finding the perfect product targeted to these customers’ unique tastes. What’s more, sales associates need to connect with their customers on a personal level before thinking numbers, to make the purchase all the more meaningful. Personalizing the in-store experience is also a proactive strategy to avoid returns, and thus lost sales, ensuring that customers leave satisfied. Clienteling tools are also great conversation starters that are very likely to impress Boomers. Before a couple makes an appointment, you notice that it’s their 20-year anniversary, and a small gift here can go a long way. In short, be more personalized, make them feel unique, remember their names, the way they shop and exceed their expectations.
Use the Internet on a Daily Basis
According to research conducted by Google and Ipsos, the Internet “is the top source [Baby Boomers use] for gathering information on topics of interest, outpacing TV and print media by a substantial margin” (Google and Ipsos). Brands that deliberately disregard these social media risk losing selling opportunities, or worse, potential customers. Believing that baby boomers are unaware of the Internet’s capabilities is an outdated stereotype, which can also be a costly one. Significantly, 71% of Baby Boomers use social media platforms on a daily basis, Facebook being the most popular one amongst all generations (Google and Ipsos). What’s more, Boomers place their trust in their family and friends, and a community feel is extremely important to them.
Keep Coming Back for More
Affluent customers tend to be more loyal: once you win their hearts, it is likely they will keep coming back for more. Therefore, offering an easy-to-understand loyalty program, both online and in-store, is a smart strategy to build loyalty with this clientele. What could be more frustrating for a customer than finding out too late that they “lost” a reward they didn’t know that they had? This is where efficient communications and strong marketing messages come in handy, but they still must be used at the right time, with the appropriate channel. Superior customer service is another excellent customer retention strategy, and the way you handle problems will not go unnoticed by customers, creating positive long-lasting impressions on them. An outstanding customer service is often the one that was unexpected, and surpassed all expectations. These days, customers have become accustomed to a certain level of service, and retailers need to set the bar even higher. After all, many Baby Boomers are retired, and can afford to spend their afternoons searching for products both online and in-store.
A Taste for Simplicity
Retailers who hope to appeal to the Baby Boomer generation need to ensure that their website looks classic, neat, and uncluttered by too many colors or complicated categories. This segment of the population tends to be more conservative than their younger counterparts, and most actually believe that “less is more.” In other words, Baby Boomers avoid the ostentatious and value simplicity. Everything from a user-friendly interface to high-quality content makes your e-commerce site immediately appealing to Boomers. On the other hand, not clearly stating your return policy, or not offering a one-page checkout is likely to annoy Baby Boomers, and potentially lose them as customers (Chain Store Age). Wealthy older customers won’t mind paying more if you meet or exceed their high expectations. Investing money in technology in a thoughtful, personalized way is therefore a proven strategy to efficiently deliver the retail experience Baby Boomers are searching for.