The present pandemic has had a tremendous influence on the way we shop as a nation. Lockdowns have pushed us to depend increasingly on internet purchasing for everything from our weekly grocery to smart home technology and even our furnishings.
For others, the shifts are now irreversible, with well-known high street names crumbling and returning as online-only businesses.
It is not uncommon for e-commerce companies to overlook the needs of the older customer population.
A growing number of companies and e-commerce sites see the value of serving an older clientele, but they haven’t yet done so because of a lack of awareness on their part.
There may be a time and place for ignoring prospective customers. It is especially true for a population that was previously estimated to account for £320 billion in yearly household expenditure and own over three-quarters of the nation’s financial wealth.
Over 65s are not just one group
The market for those aged 65 and above is ever-changing because of the increasing use of technology by this demographic and the shifts in their tastes in clothing, footwear, and home decor that come with maturing into this demographic.
A consumer whose formative years were in the 1960s would have a different view than someone who grew up in the 1940s or 1950s, when rationing and being thrifty was embedded in the mentality.
However, both of these consumers fall within the category of elder shoppers.
More research is done each year on the current fashion trends for younger customers or the many types and electronic items they want, but few firms are interested in what older consumers need.
Now that we know the “grey pound” is, how can brands go for it?
Any company vying for the attention of this market must pay close attention to what their target market has to say and respond appropriately. At Chums, we’ve been in the business for 40 years focusing on elderly customers.
Ways to make your website more friendly for older customers
The following are five suggestions for marketing to shoppers aged 65 and up:
Make your website easily readable
This is a no-brainer, yet many websites still get it wrong despite its obviousness. Fonts less than 12 points might be difficult to see for those with visual impairments; hence 12 points should be the minimal default font size. If you want to guarantee that your website is accessible to people of all ages, consider allowing them to adjust the font size.
It’s not simply the font size that counts, but also the style you choose. Smaller strokes at the end of a serif letter or symbol might generate a fuzziness in the text for those with failing vision. Choose a sans-serif typeface instead of Times New Roman for greater readability and visual impact.
It’s also important to provide lots of white space between lines and words so that the content doesn’t become one long-phrase.
Keep the navigation simple
Put an end to the confusing drop-down menus and hidden menus in favour of a simple, direct procedure. Many customers over the age of 50 dislike going through a tangle of menus and links simply to get to the next page. Where feasible, such as on your blog page, provide “previous” and “next” buttons to make it easier for visitors to move between pieces of material with related themes.
Another simple way to make your site more user-friendly for older customers is to readily available your search box. This is because many older internet users like to search straight for what they want. Your site’s design and navigation should be consistent throughout all of its pages as well. Ensure that your search box, print button, and page title are all in the same area.
Nice-to-haves might be essential for older customers
For today’s older consumers, “face-to-face” customer service is what they’re used to. This is something to consider when designing the end-to-end experience for a customer beyond the age of 65.
Consumers who are hard of hearing may find that features such as webchats or advanced delivery notifications indicating who will deliver their item and when will be crucial. However, younger customers may see these features as a “value add.”
Don’t be too fancy with design
Shoppers over the age of 50 like straightforward and well labelled designs, almost like a newspaper, since they feel more at ease with it. Sites that simply need a few scrolls to get to the bottom are also bad. Infinite scrolling websites might be overwhelming to senior viewers and cause them to leave the site altogether.
Colour combinations that make it difficult to read the message, such as blue and yellow or red and green, should be avoided. Make sure your information is well contrasted by using dark text on a white or light-coloured backdrop, but avoid using light colours on dark backgrounds.
Reflect your customer back to them
Finally, think about how an older customer may engage emotionally with your site, not just visually. Gender, age, and other personal characteristics tend to be the most effective cues for consumers. Shoppers over the age of fifty are not an exception. The pictures you pick should represent your target audience, but they should also be aspirational and realistic at the same time.