What demographics come to mind when you think “Internet Users?” Most likely you think of kids, teenagers, young professionals, tech savvy geeks, and middle aged people. But do 65-74 year olds come to mind as well? Recent studies show that more than half of Americans aged 65-69 are online and 45% of those aged 70-74 are online as well. I know what you’re thinking… The thought of my Grandmother using a computer is bizarre to me as well. I mean my Grandmother left the answering machine we bought her in a box for years because she said it was too technical and she couldn’t figure it out. But the truth is, many older consumers are taking to the Internet these days. Obviously there are different degrees of Internet use. I do not suspect that many people aged 65-74 are on Twitter and Facebook and blogging, but they likely are using email, making travel arrangements, and shopping online. As eMarketer headlines, “Safe Assumption: Teens are online. Unsafe: Retirees aren’t.”
So How Do You Capitalize on This New Trend?
- Design Your Site for All Ages (Where Applicable)
Making a website that is easy for seniors to use as well as younger clientele will go a long way in converting visitors in this age bracket into customers. Here are some helpful tips when looking to design your site for older Internet users:
- Make sure you are using program text so that users can zoom in to make the text bigger if needed.
- Minimize “busyness” and distracting uses of color.
- Use a button with a call to action (like “Click here for more”) instead of a standard link to avoid any confusion between what is a link and what is regular text.
- Reduce the number of clicks it takes to get around the site- have a clear navigation and avoid pop-outs and drop down menus.
- Keep the purchasing process as easy as possible- not making customers navigate away from your website to complete check-out.
- Sell Products TO Them
If your business sells products for older people to use sell to them specifically as well as to younger people that may be shopping for them. For instance instead of selling home medical products like walkers and canes just to adults with elderly parents or home care providers with elderly clients, also sell directly to the senior citizens with lines like “Need an easier way to get around your house?” You may find that targeting the older folks will increase the number of conversions with younger visitors as well. (Think about it, if your Father or Grandfather would buy a product for themselves, wouldn’t you feel comfortable buying it for them as well?)
Right now senior citizens are online more than ever, but their presence is not particularly obvious yet. Position your website to take advantage of this growing trend and down the road you may find that it was a very lucrative decision.
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-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist