Boomers Or Bust This Holiday Season

While store décor turned to yuletide twinkle before the candy corn was totally off the shelves, this week is when the holiday shopping season kicks in. According to projections, it will be a big one, too. The National Retail Federation expects November and December retail sales to hit $655.8 billion, a 3.6% increase from 2015.

You can bet that a large portion of those dollars will come from Baby Boomer wallets, too. A NerdWallet survey found that 86% of boomers intend on purchasing gifts with an average expected expenditure of $712 each. The so-often-top-of-marketing-mind Millennials, on the other hand, expect to spend just $499 each. Even if you’re not expressly targeting Baby Boomers, here are some considerations that will ensure you’re still seizing opportunity with the demographic…and its purchasing power.



1. Make your platforms and channels work together

Consumers are constantly bombarded by marketing messages across multiple channels and brand interactions across various multiple platforms. One study showed that consumers rate advertising via direct mail, print, television, email and online as equally influential in their decisions about where to shop and what to buy this season. It’s always important to maintain brand consistency throughout customer touch points; it may be even more so when dealing with Baby Boomers.

More than other age groups, Baby Boomers reflect the old adage that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust. As this demographic has moved online, they’ve continued to shop at retailers with which they’re familiar and comfortable. The challenge is to keep their experience familiar and comfortable regardless of the platform and channel.

From color to vocabulary, ensure you’re maintaining your brand image, messaging and promise at every touchpoint. For example, if your brand has a strong reputation for excellent service, make sure your digital channels offer easy access to always-on customer support. Give customers in store access to the same offerings as online, and allow them to receive and return their merchandise at the point of their choosing, not necessarily the point of sale.

Lastly, demonstrate your appreciation through reward and other incentive programs, because fidelity shouldn’t be taken for granted. In a 2015 report, loyalty and analytics company CrowdTwist found that Baby Boomers are actually 15.8% more willing to switch brands than are Generation Xers.

2. Remember, email is mobile

A funny thing happened on the way to mobile ubiquity. While nearly every other aspect of our digital lives has migrated toward social, email has emerged consumers’ channel of choice for marketing communications. The preference extends across all age groups, reaching its peak in boomers, with 73% preferring email over social.

Reading email is now also one of the activities we do most on mobile devices. Emailmonday reported that mobile now makes up for 15 to 70% of all email opens. When it comes to marketing email in particular, Yesmail reported a 53.5% mobile open rate for marketing emails in the US in 3Q2015. As mobile continues  to displace desktop usage, these numbers will only increase.

No matter what your target demographic, all emails should be created for easy mobile consumption. For Baby Boomers specifically, be extra sure they’re smaller-screen friendly. Use smaller blocks of text with bigger fonts. Make them visually appealing with lots of images — Boomer’s preferred marcom format  — and useful through easy navigation not only to your other channels but to customer service, as well.

3. You can relax and enjoy your turkey.

Because most boomers will. research from Boston Consulting Group finds Millennials are far more likely to shop on Black Friday, with 63% saying they expect to hit the sales vs. only 26% of Baby Boomers. Similarly, Cyber Monday is less of a draw to older Americans, who are skeptical that these days actually offer the best deals. And even those who do shop over the holiday weekend don’t intend on allowing bargain hunting to consume their free time. NerdWallet’s survey showed 78% will spend five hours or less shopping on those days.

In many ways, Baby Boomers are very similar to other demographics. They buy gifts in the same categories including electronics, apparel and even toys — as many as 25% have kids aged 6–12 in their homes. They’re just as connected to their smartphones and they do their digital due diligence before making purchases. When it comes to holiday marketing, though, you don’t necessarily need a whole dedicated strategy, but if you want a booming holiday, don’t dismiss the Baby Boomers.

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