Analysts are anticipating a weaker-than-usual holiday selling season. But there is one potential source of selling cheer, especially for tech marketers: the over-65 market.
Technology use, particularly the internet, continues to climb among those 65 and up. Use has grown from 19% in 2008 to 40% in 2010 to 54% in 2012. The only question is, how can tech marketers plug into the potential of this affluent group?
We decided to find out. As part of a month-long study at Frasier Meadows, a continuing care retirement community in Boulder, Colo., our researchers conducted on-campus focus groups and shop-alongs at major national technology retailers.
Our research focused on what we call the “transitional generation” – a blend of late Boomers and younger members of the silent generation. We aimed to find out their thoughts on the tech-shopping experience: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Tech Shopping Experience
Most participants had negative opinions of the technology shopping experience, citing the overwhelming number of products, the level of background noise, confusing store layout, and hard-to-read signage. They also believe that personal, non-condescending service, from the sales process through maintenance, is important. “They makeyou fork out a lot of m
Here are five ideas retailers can use to make the tech shopping experience more senior-friendly:
1. Teach patience: Train your salespeople to be more patient with older consumers, who may be apprehensive when it comes to exploring new technologies. Older salespersons who can help explain new products peer-to-peer may also help boost market penetration.
2. Make it fun. Allow mature consumers to feel “techie” without overwhelming them with the technology itself. Once they master a product, they tend to become enthusiastic users.
3. Make it affordable: A higher price point decreases interest in testing out new gadgets. This group is not about to throw away something they already own that “works fine” when a newer technology is introduced.
4. Tailor recommendations: Understand that mature consumers are more likely to buy if they’re reassured they’re making a practical choice that they won’t regret later.
5. Influence the influencers: Older consumers look to their connected children and grandchildren for input and education. Remember their important role in the buying process.
The bottom line: Despite increasing physical challenges, mature consumers should not be underestimated or ignored. They are cautious and thoughtful when it comes to purchases, but they are also willing to enjoy new experiences. To put more tech under the tree this holiday season, marketers should focus on promoting practical, affordable products that offer easy-to-use details – without compromising the functionality of the item or “dumbing it down” for an “older” audience.