Are retailers making it too tough for seniors to shop online?
Many older consumers have discovered and embraced digital communications and online shopping during the pandemic as the higher-risk group avoided stores. The onboarding experience for many, however, hasn’t been a walk in the park.
A survey commissioned last fall from Beyond Consultancy, found only 42 percent of U.K. consumers aged 65 and over found their online experience to be straightforward, with 13 percent labeling it as frustrating.
A survey of adults over the age of 50 taken last October from AARP found the biggest barriers to adopting online technology were cost, cited by 38 percent; awareness/lack of knowledge, 37 percent; and privacy concerns, 34 percent.
Many businesses sought to redesign their websites as more seniors headed online during the pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal. For many, mild cases of deteriorating vision or dexterity that come with age spoil the online experience.
Suggestions for website upgrades from the Journal article included increasing the size of fonts or using brighter colors to highlight important text. Displaying menu items clearly at the top of the home page and avoiding unnecessary scrolling or drop-down menus were other tips.
Instacart launched a Senior Support Service last October that provides an online specialist to walk older customers through their first order. The service also provided tutorials for setting preferred replacements, chatting with delivery drivers and changing orders.
A recent Washington Post article on the spike in online grocery spending by Baby Boomers noted how Kraft is working with retailers to group items online by category, such as breakfast or burgers, instead of mimicking traditional supermarket aisles. The packaged foods giant is also partnering on creating videos and interactive images that highlight a product’s size and ingredients, as well as setting up one-click options to purchase ancillary items such as ketchup.
Elizabeth Bennett, VP of e-commerce for Kraft Heinz, told the Post, “If you think about a traditional store, I can’t control which entrance you walk in or which aisles you go down. But online, when we see who you are as a consumer, we can surface certain items.
- Brands warned not to ignore ‘grey pound’ as over-65s embrace e-commerce – The Drum
- Tech Usage Among Older Adults Skyrockets During Pandemic – AARP
- 2021 Tech Trends And The 50-Plus – AARP
- Some Companies Make Their Websites More Elderly-Friendly – The Wall Street Journal
- Beyond the Cart: A Year of Essential Insights – Instacart
- Introducing New Senior Support Service Ahead of Cold & Flu Season – Instacart
- Baby boomers, to retailers’ surprise, are dominating online shopping – The Washington Post
- 10 Consumer Trends We’re Watching in 2021 – NPD
- Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are website redesigns, onboarding tutorials or other steps necessary and practical to improve the online experience for older Americans? Do you see this market remaining significant for retailers now that states are beginning to lift pandemic restrictions?