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GUEST COMMENT What do over 65 year olds want from their online experience?

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Millennials and Gen Z’s typically precede older generations when it comes to tech adoption. This has understandably resulted in retailers focusing efforts on meeting the expectations of the tech-savvy younger generations.

However, with the National Office of Statistics revealing earlier this monththat more than half (54%) of over 65 year olds are shopping online – and more than ever before – it’s vital that retailers aren’t ignoring the mature shoppers among us.

Mature shoppers, who have grown up shopping on the high street, will perceive the biggest differences in shopping experience from offline to online – so retailers arguably need to work harder to accommodate this age group.

OurHierarchy of Needsresearch found that the experience over 65-year-old shoppers in the UK receive from a retailer online, after they have purchased something, is a key driver in their decision to buy again. A massive 90%, the highest of any group of shoppers, said this post-purchase experience is critical.

Just before the buy button and immediately after a purchase has been made are both key moments for retailers to engage with customers. This ‘honeymoon’ stage of the shopping journey is an important time to meet expectations, differentiate from other retailers and ultimately drive loyalty. But how can they do this specifically with the over 65 age group, and why is it important?

No time for WISMOs

We know from our research that online shoppers today want four things after they click buy – Communication, Choice, Control and Connection. Proactive communications provide a great opportunity for retailers to connect directly with shoppers throughout the delivery stages of their order.

Shoppers, of all ages, are understandably irritated by having to chase retailers for updates with WISMO (where is my order?) questions. So much so that 88% of over 65s said they are more likely to buy online again from a brand or retailer that updates them on the progress of their order, rather than having to phone or email them for updates.

What’s more, a massive 89% of over 65s – again the highest percentage of any age group – said they want updates even if it’s ‘bad news’ – on delivery delays etc. – before they are left waiting.

Retailers using post-purchase technology, such as ASICS and Robert Dyas, have taken back control from third-party shipping carriers to proactively update customers directly in the post-purchase stages of their shopping journey – and we know this direct communication is also important to shoppers. For the over 65s in particular, 65% said that they want direct-from-retailer communications for delivery tracking and updates.

Opportunity to get personal

Direct-to-customer communications are also a way for retailers to stand out from the crowd with personalised, branded and engaging updates – rather than boring third-party shipping emails which are often filled with jargon and unnecessary details to the customer. 55% of over 65s appreciate this extra ‘personalised touch’ as it makes them feel like “more than just another order number”.

Giving customers choice and putting them in control

Choice and Control are two areas in which shoppers have great expectations from retailers today. Widespread tech adoption and retailers like Amazon and ASOS have set the standard across the industry for transparency and ease in the post-purchase stages of shopping. For the over 65s, we found that 83% are more likely to buy online again from a brand or retailer that offers a range of convenient and flexible delivery options– be that click and collect, at home delivery, locker drop off etc. What’s more, 79% admit they want choice in how they are updated by retailers – by text, email, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp etc.

Concerning the fourth C – Connection, this was the lowest concern to the over 65-year-old shopper. Only 40% – compared to 60% of 18-35 year olds – said that feeling an ‘emotional connection’ or having similar values as the retailers and brands they shop with were important. This is possibly surprising for an older generation of shoppers who were once used to having instore connections with those they shop with.

Knowing these 4C’s and the key moments to connect with shoppers, of all ages, in the post-purchase stage of their shopping journey is essential to meet the growing expectations of customers today. However, what it also does is provide an opportunity to unify the online and offline shopping experience and build loyalty with customers of all age groups – but especially the over 65s.

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