Age Appropriate: Adjusting Retail Approaches to Attract Older Customers
By Graeme McVie, VP, LoyaltyOne, [email protected]
Statistics tell the story: the U.S. population is getting older at a dramatic rate. The Department of Health & Human Service’s Administration on Aging estimates that nearly 55 million people – nearly one-in-six – will be age 65 or older by 2020, compared with 40 million in 2010.
Research indicates the U.S. is already shifting to meet the needs of an aging society in many areas. Global AgeWatch recently ranked the U.S. eighth out of 91 countries when considering issues such as income security, health status, and enabling society and environment.
Yet in recognizing this demographic trend, retailers are faced with some real challenges as well as great opportunities. Those who can effectively meet the changing needs of aging consumers will be able to tap into the largest slice of the mature market pie.
Retailers looking to score points with senior shoppers and ensure repeat business should consider the following:
Adapting the in-store experience. The physical layout of stores will play a significant role in attracting and retaining a mature consumer base. Retailers can cater their infrastructure to the rising consumer base by lowering shelf heights to allow easier access to products.
Wider aisles permit greater maneuverability and enhance flow. Enhancements such as larger, easy-to-read signage and on-cart magnifying glasses will also encourage a loyal following.
Adjusting quantities. Value promotions that encourage consumers to purchase larger quantities than they need or will use will increasingly become less effective. Think monetary discounts, not buy-one-get-one-free.
Pack sizes can also be a factor. Seniors living in households with one or two mouths to feed will not need large pack sizes, especially in categories that are perishable. Fresh, healthy ready-made meal options with single or double portions will be ideal for seniors.
Altering the product mix. Since healthcare is a primary concern with this demographic, consider bolstering pharmacy offers to meet the increasing demand for health related products and services. Pricing will also be key; with many seniors facing lower benefits from social security programs, ensuring essential healthcare products are affordable will foster the loyalty of seniors.
As it relates to healthcare products, convenience is also key. Over-the-phone and online prescription re-fills will be valued by customers with limited mobility.
Leveraging Technology. Unlike previous generations of seniors, many baby boomers have integrated the internet into their daily lives. A report last year by seniors’ services provider Revera Inc. in partnership with Leger Marketing found that more than half of online seniors older than 75 belong to a social networking site and more than one-third of them go to those sites daily. This number is only set to increase. Discard the presumption that seniors do not understand technology and instead use it as an avenue for delivering targeted, relevant offers to increase engagement.
As the number of older Americans continues to grow and increasingly gains purchasing power, retailers must rely on their customer data to adapt and respond to these quickly approaching market changes. By using analytics to properly tailor their offerings, retailers will appeal to this demographic and in turn, continue to foster and strengthen customer loyalty.
Graeme McVie, VP, LoyaltyOne, a a global provider of loyalty and marketing programs. He can be reached at [email protected].
Office Depot to offer 3-D printing services in 150 stores
Office Depot plans to expand 3D Systems Cube 3-D printing services to 150 Office Depot stores nationwide as a result of positive customer feedback.
Customers can see 3-D printing technology in action by attending demonstrations in stores in participating states — California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Texas. Cube or CubeX applications are also available for purchase on www.officedepot.com for consumers who want to print on their own.
The 3D Systems Cube is equipped with a tablet-like touchscreen and offers 16 different color options, including two that glow in the dark. It prints objects up to 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5” in size. It prints objects in all sizes up to 10.8” x 10.45” x 9.5.”
“We received an overwhelming response from our initial pilot program in Denver,” said George Hill, Office Depot’s SVP of copy and print depot. “Customers ranging from tech buffs and entrepreneurs to marketers, educators and stay-at-home parents commented on how they would utilize 3-D printing in their lives. With that insight, we knew we needed to expand the scope and offer these demonstrations to markets across the country.”
Carjacking at New Jersey mall leaves one dead
Millburn, N.J. – A 30-year-old man was fatally shot during a carjacking at The Mall at Short Hills, an upscale shopping center in Millburn, N.J. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the man and his wife were entering their Range Rover on a parking deck at around 9 p.m., on Dec. 15, following an evening of holiday shopping at the mall when two men fired multiple shots.
The man, who has not been publicly identified, was stuck by at least one bullet and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 11:45 p.m. His wife was not injured in the attack. Authorities were quoted as saying they had no specific motive for the attack other than the high value of the 2012 Range Rover. As of Monday morning, the suspects were still at large.
According to the Star-Ledger, carjackings previously occurred at the mall in 2009 and 2006, and a woman was robbed at gunpoint in her car in 2002, although the thief did not steal her car. In November 2013, a lone gunman spent several hours wandering the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J., firing several shots before eventually being found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.