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GUEST COMMENT Winning over the baby boomer

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The term ‘Millennial’ is now used so frequently by marketers that anyone who falls outside of this group could be forgiven for feeling more than a little neglected. Brands appear more determined than ever to keep up to date with the changing behaviour and expectations of the younger generation and to understand how they are adopting new technologies.

That’s all well and good but don’t forget about the baby boomers. The UK population is living longer than ever before, and the spending power of the baby boomer generation significantly higher than that of millennials. If you aim to grow revenue, you should be looking at how you can put the spotlight back on the over 45-year-olds.

The growth of devices and increasingly tech-savvy middle-aged consumers means consumers over 45 are engaging with retailers across multiple channels throughout their shopping journey. In fact, recent stats reveal that over three quarters (76%) of UK consumers aged 45 and older now own a smartphone and 60% own a tablet. When completing an online purchase, over a quarter (27%) of that same demographic use their tablets to make a purchase, compared to only 20% who use their smartphones. Are these preference reflected in your e-commerce strategies? You want your customers to be able to move seamlessly between devices and, above all, be able to checkout. Your customers expect this to happen, so failure to meet this need is likely to send the shopper to a competitor.

Since consumers in this demographic are more likely to purchase when using a tablet device, you must innovate to find ways to secure the sale. Consider these tactics:

    1. Implement an automated email series that reminds the shopper of specific products they were browsing before leaving your website. This illustrates that you recognise the individual and their habits and (hopefully) gets them to return to buy the product.
    1. Make it easy – even from the smaller screened devices – to click through your browse and cart recovery emails to make a purchase.
    1. Seize the opportunity to create a better customer experience by using the larger size of a tablet to present the shopping cart information in a clear, concise and intuitive format.

If you are looking to grow your presence internationally, it is also important to remember that customer behaviour differs from country to country. Adjust your strategy to reflect the needs of the consumers you are trying to engage. Only 16% of consumers aged 45 and older in Australia and the US are using tablet devices to make purchases – notably lower than their UK counterparts. Just as you have to adapt to cultural differences when entering a new market, you must also look at device and channel preferences. Baby boomers wield substantial spending power, so it is wise to use all the data resources available to you to ensure you are offering an optimum experience across all channels and devices.

With consumer habits evolving so quickly, staying close to customers and tracking their browsing and shopping behaviour will enable you to evolve with them. Habits may change as consumers age, and increasingly sophisticated technology will affect how customers choose to interact with your brand. Clearly, it’s not just millennials who are embracing the multi-device world, therefore you must continually invest in understanding how you can deliver the best omnichannel experience. It’s time to put the spotlight back on the baby boomers. Brands that can tailor an approach to meet the needs of such an influential demographic will be rewarded.

Saima Alibhai is a managing principal consultant, Europe at Oracle + Bronto.

Photo credit:  mvcaspel (Fotolia)

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