By Kevin Connor, Retail Pro International
Baby boomers — those customers between the ages of 54 and 72 — are predicted to increase their spending by 58 percent to $4.74 trillion over the next 20 years.
That's far more sales growth than millennials, whose spending will grow by only 24 percent.
With an estimated 75.4 million baby boomers in the United States, retailers can't afford to ignore this segment of the population.
What retailers often fail to recognize:
Boomers See Technology As A Tool
Technology is a clear winner when used as the means to an end: Tablets for line-busting or to check inventory are welcome.
Technology that is seen as distracting or as taking away from the customer experience is a no-no. The demographic is not digital-native, so the sales experience should be personal, with eye contact, helpful associates and relationship building, i.e., conversation.
Only 12 percent of boomers said in a Colloquy survey that they rely on family and friends to help them decide on a purchase, so social sharing before buying is fairly uncommon.
Boomers Enjoy Shopping In-Store
The Colloquy report found that a whopping 84 percent of respondents said they preferred to shop in-store.
That figure is likely tied to Boomers high expectations of personal service.
There's a tremendous opportunity for retailers that choose to invest in understanding this demographic's characteristics.
Boomers Do Shop Online
And in significant numbers: 66 percent of the segment reportedly make regular purchases using web devices, according to Immersion Active.
In the United States, 70 percent of disposable income is attributed to baby boomers.
As Boomers become more comfortable with e-commerce as well as social media-savvy, it's likely they'll be discovering and purchasing trending products online.
As they become more "omnishoppers," they may become the key to the success for many brands.
Retailers need to realize the importance of differentiating their demographics when implementing a sales strategy.
Groups such as millennials, Gen X and baby boomers respond to sales techniques differently.
And, while millennials might be grabbing attention with their brand awareness and focus on social media, retailers need to be aware of and cater to baby boomers‘ particular traits.
About The Author
Kevin Connor is driven by a passion for designing superior technology that solves challenges critical to retail innovation and growth. His expertise includes user-centric design, user experience, and technology leadership work with major retail brands worldwide like Estee Lauder, Puma, Prada, and many others worldwide.