You can’t stop the advance of technology, nor should you ignore it; it’s what today’s customers want. However, a significant proportion of today’s online customers include the older generation, the Baby Boomers. And while they aren’t quite as tech-savvy as their kids and grandkids, they do have considerably more disposable income to spend. Here, we look at ways to make your website work for the growing number of older people taking to the internet.
What does the older generation want?
There are over 14 million Baby Boomers in the UK, around 20% of the population, a similar number to Generation X, Millennials and Generation Y. However, pound for pound, they have more disposable income than the younger generations and, despite what you might think, are avid users of the internet.
If you are going to provide these older consumers with the same level of customer experience as you do the younger generations, it is important to understand what they are looking for when they shop online. According to the latest research, here are the things Baby Boomers expect from a website.
Information at their fingertips
In general, the older generation is much more careful about how they spend their money and 85% of them take the time to research companies and products, including watching informational videos, before they commit to making a purchase.
Websites that want to appeal to older generations should make sure that all the relevant information a person needs to make an informed decision is made available on their website, including, where possible, videos about products and services. It is equally important that this information is easily accessible, so navigation to it, whether by search or linking, needs to be obvious and easy. It is worth pointing out here that more advanced forms of customer assistance, such as chatbots, are particularly appealing to Baby Boomers and statistically, they are more apt to using them than younger users.
Ease of use
While older shoppers are quite keen to use more advanced shopping tools, they want them to be user-friendly. They want fewer clicks and inputs and don’t want to waste time thinking about what needs to be inputted. So, if you are introducing the latest interactive tools, like AR, visual search and voice assistants, their interfaces need to be intuitive and straightforward. If they are, you’ll find more Baby Boomers making use of them. If possible, ensure the tools come with built-in help functionality, so if someone gets stuck, they’ll find the help they need to use it properly.
Older customers have grown up with and still enjoy the experience of visiting a physical store. This means they can prefer to buy goods online while collecting or returning them to a local store. This is especially important if it allows them to collect the item on the same day or save the hassle and expense of returning a product by post.
Companies that offer click and collect or local returns are much more likely to appeal to older consumers for these reasons. Brands without their own physical stores can often find local businesses that will offer this to them as it helps the local business increase footfall.
Sadly, cybercriminals tend to target older people as they believe their lack of technical knowledge makes it easier for them to become victims. This has resulted in the Baby Boomer generation being highly cautious about spending online. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that websites and the businesses behind them are seen as trustworthy before an older person will make a purchase.
Important trust requirements for websites include having the ‘Secure’ padlock icon displayed on a browser, for which you’ll need an SSL certificate; social proof, in the form of good online reviews and ratings; the display of key information on your website, such as your physical address, phone number, company registration and VAT number; and familiarity – in other words, if people have seen your brand before, either on the high street, in advertisements or on social media.
A word about loyalty
Precisely because older shoppers invest so much time researching companies and products and checking out their trustworthiness, once they find a company they like online, they are much more likely to stay loyal. Indeed, they are even inclined to pay more to stay with you than shop with a less expensive outlet, provided you deliver the experiences they want. Of course, this requires delivering a consistently good service and incentivising older customers to stay through loyalty schemes, personalised recommendations and special offers.
Baby Boomers make up a large proportion of today’s online shoppers and, importantly, punch above their weight when it comes to their spending power. Websites can benefit significantly by providing the experiences that older consumers want. Hopefully, from reading this article, you’ll be able to make your website more Baby Boomer friendly. For fast, reliable and secure web hosting, visit our homepage.