As we continue to face unknowns and unfathomables in this era of Covid-19, the need to stay focused on recovery for both patients and businesses becomes critical. The devastating impact on people’s lives and health are indisputable. But the toll on economies, and businesses, is also the basis for crisis management strategies.
If there is a silver lining for ecommerce merchants struggling to survive 2020, it’s a surprising increase in potential customers from a demographic they thought was unreachable: Boomers. Older consumers are understandably less comfortable with conducting financial transactions online, but that has changed rapidly over the last few months as shuttered retail stores and empty shelves have driven them to digital shopping.
Will it last? No one knows. Some industry analysts believe that as storefronts begin to reopen, older shoppers will abandon the idea of buying over the internet. Yet others think there is an opportunity for ecommerce vendors to capture a decent share of this market – if they play their cards right.
It’s interesting to note that nearly 75 percent of online shoppers have shown a willingness to try out new venues during the Covid era. That demonstrates an active desire to explore the benefits of remote purchasing, and it could benefit your business. Among consumers surveyed, 76 percent of those over age 55 say they would try a new brand or venue if they were to be enticed with an online coupon or discount.
You may downplay these stats if your merchandise mix tends to target young shoppers. This is a mistake. Often older buyers are specifically in need of gifts for children and grandchildren, and without a viable option for in-person shopping, they will turn to the internet. Over time, studies show that consumers in the older age categories have sharply increased their comfort and skill levels with technology. The combination of those two realities could spell a big boon for ecommerce merchants who had previously given up on attempting to attract customers from all demographics.
Another worry ecommerce vendors face is the stiff competition from established icons like Amazon. It’s true that the Seattle-based giant has experienced explosive growth throughout the response to a global pandemic. But that contributes to something you may not have considered: older people, who are not Amazon regulars, will be more likely to use Google to find goods they want, and not head straight to the Amazon site. Or, they may consult with younger friends and relatives on where to look. And their quest may land them in your customer base.
The takeaway here is fairly straightforward. People who spent the vast majority of their teen and adult years shopping in brick-and-mortar stores may have overlooked digital commerce because resisting change is a natural human instinct. Covid-19 has shaken an entire planet to its core, forcing seismic shifts in behaviors of all types. That includes learning to love shopping from the comfort of home. If you’re willing to fine-tune your outreach and broaden your marketing strategy, you may just net a new group of happy customers.