Seniors outspend Gen X and millennials and have well-defined buying patterns that merchants can tap into.

E-commerce may have gained traction in the last decade, but it’s baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) who defined mass consumerism as we know it: fast food, Starbucks and Nike were synonymous with this ‘yuppie’ generation. For every dollar that a millennial spends, a baby boomer spends 17% more, so why not funnel this spend into your online channel? In our e-book, “The Grey Dollar: eCommerce for Baby Boomers,” we address online shopping misconceptions about this senior demographic. Here’s three:

Myth 1: Baby boomers don’t shop online as it’s too difficult

This is untrue, as more baby boomers value the convenience, and appreciate the variety and accessibility that online shopping provides, compared to the average shopper. However, 85% of baby boomers admitted to abandoning their carts dues to shipping-related reasons: 68% abandoned carts due to the high cost of shipping, and 51% did the same as they’re put off by shipping costs that were communicated too late in the buying journey. Comparatively, baby boomers seemed to be the most genuine with their intention to purchase; only 35% abandoned carts as they’re only browsing, while 61% of Gen Z did the same.

Myth 2: Baby boomers don’t shop online as much as younger generations

This is untrue; baby boomers spent double compared to younger generations by $400 billion annually and feature strongly in many leisure categories, such as books and stationery, electronics and appliances, and hardware and garden. Compared to other generations, almost a third more of baby boomers use hyperlocal (1-3 hours) and same-day shipping as delivery options for their online purchases—so merchants that don’t offer these delivery options are missing out on potential sales.

Myth 3: Baby boomers don’t spend much online

Although cost is not the leading factor for most baby boomers when it comes to online shopping, they are admittedly frugal compared to the average shopper, with only 14% intending to increase holiday spend. This doesn’t stop Amazon from recently targeting the over-50 demographic, and we won’t be surprised at how successful this retail juggernaut will be. 61% of baby boomers will increase their cart size for free shipping—a conversion tactic that Amazon excels at, and something merchants can learn to master with the right tools in place.

As you can see, baby boomers are undoubtedly worth pursuing as online customers, and leaving them out of your ecommerce plans is a huge disservice to your business. At Temando, our shipping and fulfillment technology helps merchants to not only serve customers with better experiences, but to do it in the most time and cost efficient way. Use these five Temando tips from the “Grey Dollar” e-book to inspire change:

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1.     Increase AOV with premium shipping promotions

As hyperlocal and same-day shipping are popular among seniors, why not introduce them as premium shipping options? By amplifying convenience at each step of the shopper’s journey, you’re increasing the likelihood of repeat business. This is certainly the case for baby boomers who are known for their brand loyalty.

2.     Drive value with agile shipping strategies

Compared to the average shopper, more baby boomers value the convenience and accessibility that online shopping offers. Reduce cart abandonment with delivery options that reflect changing consumer sentiment, and don’t be afraid to adjust when needed; Wal-Mart recently replaced it’s $50 ShippingPass membership with free 2-day shipping.

3.     Make tracking orders easy

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95% of baby boomers want to track their online orders, so make this process easy so they’ll continue shopping with you. Aside from email, you may want to consider SMS or text messaging as communication channels. This way, you’ll free up time for your customer service team to focus on helping more customers.

4.     Provide security with a great returns experience

With online shipping, the tactile ability to touch and feel products is removed, so providing assurance that a product is worth buying is important. Aside from customer reviews, a sure way to stand behind your products is by supplying a customer-centric returns policy.

5.     Communicate, communicate, communicate

Finally, I can’t stress enough the importance of communicating to your baby boomer shoppers throughout the buying journey. Ensure shipping options and costs are presented clearly at checkout, and make sure any free shipping promotions you’re running are displayed prominently in your masthead, and prompted as products are placed in the cart.

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I hope the insight and tips shared here will open your eyes to the sales opportunities that baby boomers offer. As baby boomers enter retirement and bid farewell to the last of their live-in children, they’ll have more time and disposable income in their hands—so step in, and showcase the delights that your online store holds.

Temando is a provider of shipping and fulfillment software.

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