Make an e-tail experience fit for all ages? Change everything and nothing.

The economic might of older shoppers and their often underestimated tech savviness, means that e-tail experiences should be designed to appeal to older and younger shoppers alike.

What needs to change? Everything and nothing.

Before we get to that, let’s look at some research findings from Klarna UK; comparing the online shopping behaviour of younger and older shoppers:

  • Two thirds (68%) of millennials reported feeling excitement when adding items to their online basket, compared to less than a quarter (24%) of people over 55
  • 52% of millennials worry that they can’t afford the purchase during checkout compared to 16% of over 55s
  • Just 3% of older online shoppers had feelings of guilt when adding things to their basket, and only 5% felt impatient
  • Only 21% of older shoppers are more likely to make a spontaneous purchase online ‘because they deserve a treat’
  • Over half (52%) of the older shoppers surveyed said they would reconsider an online purchase due to high delivery charge
  • Only 18% of those surveyed had stopped shopping with a retailer because the website was confusing, or they felt too embarrassed to ask for help
  • 40% of the older shoppers stated losing their web page is the main distraction when completing a purchase, and another 36% of those surveyed said they had abandoned their basket in the past due to a frustrating checkout experience.

As we’ve been writing in these posts for years now, many older consumers are savvy shoppers who value trust and value for money. Older shoppers tend to buy things because they need them – so tapping into necessity is key.

Based on the Klarna research and what we know from past experience, there are several key issues for e-tailers to ensure that their online experience does not exclude the valuable, older customer;

  1. Ensure the process is simple and smooth. Older shoppers don’t want unnecessary distractions. To win over this group, retailers should avoid excessive targeting with promotions or flashy marketing
  2. Retailers with costly delivery fees should reconsider their charges or face losing custom
  3. Baby boomers have a high degree of online literacy. To segment them by age or to treat older customers as ‘special’ because of their age, may come across as patronising rather than helpful.
  4. Like others generations, older customers value a straightforward and user-friendly online shopping experience

With these points in mind, do we actually need to adapt for this segment at all? The answer; change everything and nothing.

Change nothing because: An online experience that suits the needs of older customers will also be smooth and easy for all ages.

Change everything because: Designing an experience for older people must take into account their fundamental, undeniable difference with younger people; their physical ageing. I’m talking about the cognitive, physical and sensory decline that will inevitably affect the way older shoppers interact with brands. Read more here. We’ve even developed an iPad app to measure these effects across the online (and the entire) customer journey. There’s a free download available from iTunes here.

Every online retailer needs to take note. To capture the broadest possible market potential, you need to deliver an intuitive and straightforward online e-tail experience for all generations – with speed, efficiency and a simple payment process that responds to the physical capabilities and behavioural traits of all potential customers.