Yes, the age of online shopping is here to stay. When a Boomer buys a major appliance online, it’s a big deal. We were raised by the Builder Generation: the people who wanted to see it, touch it, smell the new paint, and test it…because they basically didn’t trust it.
Our parents were classically loyal to brand names; we Boomers revel in choice and take a chance on new products. Dad bought only Fords. At age 84, his last car was a Crown Victoria. Mom raised us on Del Monte canned vegetables because her Mother raised her on them. It wasn’t because variety wasn’t available; it was brand trust and brand loyalty.
This is not news to Boomer marketers. The research is stunningly accurate on what Boomers want because of who we are: spontaneous, confident risk-takers, willing to work hard for things, ideas and values we cherish and admire. Even in our youth, the amount of money Boomers controlled enabled us to open new markets (designer jeans), inflate existing markets (bottled water), and deflate others (non-disposable diapers).
Boomers are a huge audience in an ever-growing online marketplace.
On April 29th, I will again be a media participant for the Boomer Business Summit: What’s Next 2011: a one-day gathering of premiere Aging businesses which meets at the annual joint conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging (ASA/NCOA). This year in San Francisco, What’s Next promises to be loaded with online entrepreneurs and sessions highlighting what to sell and how to market to Boomers.
This conference is self-described as “an annual event that brings together the country’s top businesses and organizations that are thought leaders in the baby boomer marketplace. It is where deals get done. No other conference brings together a dedicated group of professionals focused on the boomer and senior populations. Together this group of thought leaders from the non-profit sector, senior advocacy organizations, and Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurial start-ups will share their knowledge and passion for this important customer demographic.”
I like the “thought leaders” concept, and have to admit that’s exactly why I return year-after-year. As promised, What’s Next Boomer Business Summit draws companies that showcase products and services that are good for seniors and their Boomer kids. My own brand, Success In Aging®, is all about thinking ahead, and I support those companies that encourage aging people to make a plan and work the plan for their own success in aging.
Okay, I admit it: I bought the machine from Sears, a GenBuilder hang-out. Kenmore, their own brand, has proven reliable over the years, and I have owned many a Kenmore. But this time, I knew I wanted a Whirlpool Gold: quiet, energy efficient and parts are readily available. I knew search-engine marketing would not let me down either.
So this Boomer-ette was confident in her quest. Within the span of the DVR-ed movie Husband had settled on for the evening, I had chosen, ordered, scheduled and paid for the machine that will soon grace our kitchen and relieve us of our sadly quiet, kaput Kenmore.
Fortunately, I also had the good sense to call Sears when their website kept spitting at me when I tried to modify one simple (I thought) area of the order. Moral of the story: shop to your heart’s content, but before you enter credit card info on that big ticket item, call a human on the other end of that screen, just in case.
I might be a spontaneous, confident risk-taker, but I really don’t want to hand-wash that many more dinner dishes. I want to see that new dishwasher…and touch it, smell the new paint, and test it…because I basically want to trust that I made the right online choice.
© 2011 Diane Alexander Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then ‘success in aging’ is about attitude, attitude, attitude!” www.SeasonofLife.net