Monday, June 27, 2011

Downsize for Elderly Shoppers

Keep aisle lengths, merchandise selection, and package sizes small. According to a recent MediaPost article, that’s the advice from retailers who are successfully accommodating the increasing market of elderly shoppers.
  • Shorter aisle lengths require less walking by senior citizen shoppers. But the more important psychological advantage is that shorter aisles look less intimidating. In areas of your store where you stock merchandise primarily of interest to elderly shoppers, divide up long aisles with cul-de-sacs. If you can fit in a bench on which a shopper can take a brief break, all the better.
  • Even if you carry a broad assortment of brands and models in a category, feature a few of them within easy reach for the elderly shopper. This makes decisions quicker, especially later in the day, when the older brain is more readily confused.
  • Keep package sizes small. That makes them easier for older hands and arms to lift from the shelf and accurately place into a basket. The elderly generally prefer smaller package sizes for additional reasons. Perishable products can spoil too quickly if the customer is no longer living with a full family. When retirement checks barely cover expenses, the smaller item size is more affordable. And the elderly often have limited storage areas at home.
     Keep even the selling messages small. To do this, leverage the impact of emotions. Older consumers respond faster to emotion-laden sales messages (“The aroma of our coffee brings waves of contentment”) than to purely rational sales messages (“Award-winning taste at a lower price”). This is what’s suggested by research at University of Pennsylvania, University of California-Los Angeles, and University of California-Irvine.
     All emotions—positive and negative—arouse interest among older consumers. Emotional appeals also help senior shoppers remember details about sources of sales messages more accurately, according to researchers at Trinity College, College of Charleston, and University of Toronto. This means these shoppers will think of your store and staff as the sources to come back to for more information and more purchases.
     Lastly, keep the name you call these shoppers smaller. Use “older” at five letters and two syllables instead of “elderly” at seven letters and three syllables. I used “elderly” in the title of this post so you would know I’m not talking about sixty-year-olds. However, researchers at Ghent University and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium found that the shorter word does come across better.

Click below for more:
Help Seniors to Shop Early
Check Instructions with Elderly Customers
Emphasize Emotions with Older Consumers
Market to Seniors, not to Elderly

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