20% of the UK population is now over State Pension age and their households spend £109 billion annually. However, older people face continual barriers to shopping.
Retailers must reconsider store designs to make them easier to navigate and reduce the risk of falls. Out-of-town stores or those stores in areas where it is difficult to park or to reach by public transport should provide transport to their stores. How well do your staff understand the needs of older customers; – do they help with items on hard to reach shelves, do they assist older customers to read packaging etc.? Retailers should also consider the provision of rest areas and toilets.
And what about help with online shopping? Think about providing internet training for older people, as Barclays are doing with their Digital Eagles programme. When online orders are being delivered, do your delivery staff offer to help carry boxes inside or to put shopping away? You must also think about your minimum spend and delivery charges, so that they do not deter many older people, who may live alone or not need to buy large quantities at one time.
Multi-buy discounts also don’t work for older people, so retailers should consider offering smaller packages of perishable food. In addition, many older people struggle with food packaging and manufacturers could do more to make items less fiddly and easier to open for arthritic hands. Additionally, cooking instructions and ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates should be written in plain English in a large, legible, bold font and colour to make it easy to read.
If your business isn't considering all of the above, then you are alienating many potentially valuable customers.
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