The Value of Attracting Seniors to Your Business
Strangely enough, this growing market is often ignored by businesses, but with a few small changes to make your business more "senior friendly" you can get a jump on the competition.
Seniors shop for the same things as younger people. They buy food, drugstore items, travel and clothing. For example, seniors are one of the largest purchasers of toys.
Seniors are less prone to impulse buying than their younger counterparts. They are more likely to thoroughly research a product or service before purchasing it.
Like everyone else, they like a good deal and they are more likely to purchase new big ticket items. If a senior is buying a new computer or flat screen television, he or she is more likely to go with a top of the line model. They may also look for models that accommodate their special and changing needs.
That's partly because of the mentality that the computer or television may be the last one they purchase. They want something of good quality and they want something that will last.
Seniors also have a more developed sense of loyalty to the stores they shop in and the services they use.
If you are a business owner, it's that loyalty you want to cultivate. The key to success is the return customer.
Ten Ways to Attract Older Customers
1. Offer Discount Cards.
Make sure you give the customer a physical card with your store name and logo. Also print the person's name on the card. That way, when they present it at the till, the cashier can call the customer by name.
2. Start Them Young.
Don’t use the age of 65 to begin your discount programs. Start at 55. The sooner you start customer loyalty the better. You want those customers coming back for years and decades to come.
3. Give Them a Break on the Price.
A five percent discount is way too low, particularly if you are competing against the big box stores. Make it worthwhile for seniors to come into your business and keep coming back. Discounts should be 10-20%.
4. Get Their Email and Use it.
Don't assume senior aren't technologically savvy. Most have email accounts. A regular email promoting big discounts on products or services can move them to your business and may be far more effective then flyers which are thrown in trash,
5. Play the Right Music
Music is a powerful took in affecting a person's emotions. That's why so many stores begin playing Christmas music in November. It doesn't just make people want to shop. It makes them want to buy. If you assume that the majority of your senior customers were born in the 1940's and 1950's, play music from the 1960's and 1970's. Remembering a song from happier times is an instant mood elevator.
6. Hire Patient Staff
Sometimes it takes a little longer to deal with seniors. They may have more questions and may take longer to make up their mind. It's important that your customer service personnel remember that the goal isn't just to make a quick sale. The goal is to make the customer comfortable and happy to return.
7. Hire Seniors
There is an implicit trust in dealing with people you can relate to, particularly when making a large purchase. There are plenty of retired seniors who would be interested in working one or two days a week. They make great salespeople, particularly if they are knowledgeable and appreciative of your products or services.
8. Make your Business Senior Friendly
Is your business wheelchair accessible? Is there somewhere seniors can sit and relax when they get tired? Can you offer coffee or snacks while they wait? Is there enough handicapped parking or a taxi stand close by? They are small details, but they are big in gearing your business to seniors.
9. Offer Special Presentations to Seniors
If you own an electronics store, plan a short session on internet security for seniors. If you own a nursery, try a one hour course on caring for a particular plant. Offer them on a regular basis with different types of plants. Chances are, anyone attending the session will walk out with a plant. Grocers can provide recipes and cooking demonstrations for seniors. The sessions should be fun and informative with more of a feel of a social outing then a hard sell.
10. Ask them What they Want
Sometimes people will frequent a business because it is the only place they can get a certain product or service. Comments like "I remember this" or "I've been looking for this" go a long way in building customer loyalty and chances are if one customer wants it, others will too.
It only takes a few changes to attract more older consumers to your place of business.