Connecting with Boomers: new rules for keeping older customers

The Boomer Generation

by Jeff Mowatt, BComm, CSP

When it comes to retailing, it’s easy to get distracted by the hype about selling to the upcoming Millennials (twenty somethings) or Gen-Xers (thirty somethings).

That’s fine if your products are meant for these groups, but if your target market is Baby-boomer women, you’ll need to operate quite differently from the current practices of most retailers.

The good news is you’ll likely be richly rewarded. Shoppers, aged late 40s to early 60s, represent not only a massive portion of the North American population, but one that will inherit more wealth over the next decade.

The challenge for retailers: customers is this age group are getting fed up with the inconveniences of typical retail shopping.

Often, they’re busier than ever. They spend most of their waking hours working, commuting and dealing with their Millennial children who don’t appear to want to ever move away from the concierge service they receive at home. At the same time, Boomers might also be caring for aging parents. And in today’s challenging economy they may not be buying luxury, but they’re still buying quality.

The implications for retailers targeting this group are several fold. Here are some tips for connecting with your Boomer customers.

Cut the hassle

The 60sOffer easy on-line ordering. Offer to gift wrap. Offer that you’ll put together a custom basket of your goods and ship it anywhere for them. Don’t wait to be asked to do this. Instead, proactively announce it — pick up the phone and start dialling during your slow periods. Your customers’ money is plentiful. Their time and energy is scarce.

Keep it real

The SixtiesDon’t offer cheap novelties that will end up in garage sales. Sell unique products that provide real quality and lasting value.

Make sure your staff gets it

The sixtiesHire mature employees who can relate to your target market — not students who have no interest in the products they’re trying to sell.

Bottom line – your business can’t be all things to all people. Targeting Millennials and Gen-Xers and Boomers is attracting none. Pick a lane. Forget trying to go cheap to be affordable to young people. Price wise you’ll never beat WalMart or China. Be a specialist providing quality and remarkable customer service that your target market actually appreciates and is willing to pay for.

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, Hall of Fame speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit

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