Monday, October 2, 2017

Schmooze Away Problems for Seniors

When fashion retailer Eileen Fisher was sensing a disconnect between customer expectations and store salesperson behavior, management hired consulting firm IDEO to spot the problem. What IDEO determined was that as the retailer moved their target markets toward younger consumers, shopper sought quicker, less intimate interactions. Analyzing the incident later, researchers at Harvard University, Boston University, and GfK said the customers wanted more of a fling than a love affair with Eileen Fisher.
     But as retailers move in the opposite direction, appealing to the burgeoning audience of senior citizens, the changes should be toward increased socializing, not less, and store staff should be coached accordingly. Older adults go to stores as much or more for the recreational experience of shopping than for the merchandise they purchase.
     Still, as researchers at Indian Institute of Management state in a comprehensive review of the literature on selling to seniors, the schmoozing should be more than idle chatter. It should be addressed toward understanding problems presented by the shopper and then helping to resolve those problems. Some problems are strictly logistical, such as trouble reading labels in small print, fetching an item that’s out of reach, or getting a small enough size of the item. Other problems facing the shopper, and by extension the retailer, might require sustained effort and referrals in order to remedy. 
     The desire for socializing comes when younger family members pull away or because physical problems make it more difficult or more fearsome to socialize freely. The attractiveness of diving into problem solving arises in part because as we age, we become increasingly aware that our time on earth does end. Older people generally perceive themselves as having more time than money, but with their bank of time still being limited. The Indian Institute of Management researchers propose that retailers segment target audiences of seniors on the basis of how far away from the end of life they perceive themselves to be. This differs from the approach we take to market segmentation with children and younger adults, which we base on the duration since birth.
     Along with schmoozing, notice any companions with the shopper. If the companions are clearly younger and the senior defers to their judgment, this shopper likely has a higher cognitive age. If companions are of similar age to the senior shopper and the senior participates actively in purchase decisions, the cognitive age is probably lower.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Fling Shoppers for Thrills
Emphasize Emotions with Older Consumers
Supply Quality Time to Senior Shoppers
Retire Hopes for Unitary Retirement Marketing
Store Goodwill with Seniors

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