New rules for retailing to these harried customers.
  by Jeff Mowatt

When it comes to retailing, it’s easy to get distracted by the hype about selling to the upcoming Gen “Y”ers/Millennials (see Florists’ Review January 2010 issue, Pages 79-88) or Gen “X”ers. 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. Baby-boomer women (currently ages 45-63) 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 targeting boomers is that this group is becoming fed up with the hassle factor of typical retail shopping.

Boomer women are busier than ever. They spend most of their waking hours working/commuting and dealing with their Millennial children who appear to never want to move away the concierge service they receive at home. At the same time, boomer women are caring for aging parents. They’re run ragged. In today’s soft economy, they may not be buying luxury, but they’re still buying quality. The implications for retailers targeting this group are severalfold:

1. Reduce the hassle factor for your boomer women customers.
  • Offer easy online ordering.
  • Offer to gift-wrap.
  • Offer to create custom baskets of your goods and ship them anywhere.

  Don’t wait to be asked to do this; proactively announce it (pick up the phone and start dialing during your slow periods). Your customers’ money is plentiful. Their time and energy is scarce.

2. Don’t offer cheap novelties that will end up in garage sales; sell unique products that provide real quality and lasting value.

3. Hire 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 “X”ers and boomers will attract none.

Pick a lane. Forget trying to go cheap to be affordable to young people; price wise, you’ll never beat Walmart or China. Instead, be a specialist who provides quality and remarkable customer service that your target market will appreciate and pay for.

Customer service strategist Jeff Mowatt is a professional speaker and bestselling author of Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month. For customer service tools and tips, or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit or call (800) JMowatt (566-9288).


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