By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
If you own a brick-and-mortar retail store, you can’t afford to ignore the spending power of baby boomers. While millennials may get all the attention these days, boomers still control 70 percent of the wealth in the U.S. In fact, 4 out of 5 retailers report half their sales come from boomers, according to an article from Chain Store Age.
Additionally, a whopping 84 percent of baby boomers prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store. That’s because they place a high priority on seeing and touching physical products before they buy. So how can you get boomers shoppers to become loyal customers? By understanding these seven things that matter to baby boomer shoppers.
1. Baby boomers appreciate in-store interaction.
More than other generations, baby boomers want to interact with your salespeople. They’ll get annoyed if sales representatives can’t be found or aren’t available when they’re needed. Give your customers what they want and make sure you have adequate staff on hand to help customers.
That’s where employee scheduling software comes in! The right software makes it easy to create, share, and edit schedules for your employees from the office or on the go. Adopt software that’s equipped with a mobile time clock that can show you who’s clocked in. Even if you’re not in the store, you can spot any unexpected absences and quickly step in or schedule another employee to fill in.
2. Baby boomers need efficiency.
Boomers rarely spend much time browsing (just 27 percent say shopping is a way to relax). Instead, typical boomers are purpose-oriented. They know exactly what they want when they enter a store, and they want to quickly find the products they’re interested in.
More than all other age groups, boomers want your store to be easy to access and easy to navigate. They don’t care as much about things like mobile coupons or payment options as millennials do, but they do care if they spend a long time waiting in line to pay or if there’s no one at the register.
3. Baby boomers care about savings.
Just because some boomers have a disposable income doesn’t mean they want to spend it all. Boomers tend to be loyal to brands that offer them discounts and deals. Almost 7 in 10 boomers choose loyalty programs because they are “economical.”
Set up a loyalty program that includes a physical loyalty card for those boomers who are more comfortable with that option. And use it to send special offers and deals.
4. Baby boomers need reliable contact information.
Baby boomers do a lot of online research about products before they head to a store. They’ll visit your website to get your address and phone number, then call or come into the store to find what they need.
With that in mind, make sure your store address and contact information are up to date on your website and local search engine listings.
5. Baby boomers like easy returns.
After making a trip to your store, if a boomer still isn’t satisfied with the product after purchase, the last thing they want to do is go all the way back to your store just to find a strict or non-existent return policy.
Clarify your return policies to save hassles. Have return policies posted at checkout, print them on your receipts, and train sales associates explain it to them before the sale is made.
6. Baby boomers want to work with knowledgeable employees.
Boomers typically don’t enter your store unprepared. In fact, they may know more about the products you sell than your staff does. Oracle reports almost 3 in 10 boomers think shop staff doesn’t know enough about the products they sell, and 31 percent want store employees to have mobile devices so they can look up product information.
Educate your employees about the products you carry and equip them with the technology required to do quick research or check stock levels.
7. Baby boomers want to feel welcome.
Plenty of parking nearby, a safe and well-lit parking lot, and signage that’s easy to see from the street will help boomers find your store and get in and out quickly. Once inside, wide aisles and an uncluttered layout will help them find what they need.
Meanwhile, good lighting and easy-to-read signage and price tags are easy on aging eyes. Non-skid flooring and seats for shoppers or their companions to sit and rest are also welcome sights for baby boomer shoppers.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.