Thursday, November 05, 2009

What Boomer Women Want

What Boomer Women Want
by Jeff Mowat

Recently, Gifts and Tablewares Magazine asked me, as one of their retailing expert panelists, to comment on whether retailers should be targeting Baby Boomers, or shifting to Gen Xers and Gen Ys. My response includes several tips you might find helpful for selling to your customers.

Here's what I wrote...

Forget which group is the largest or has the most money... the question gift and tableware retailers need to ask is which group is the most appropriate target for the types of products you sell. Typically, younger people are not 'all that into you' if you retail tableware or kitchenware.

For most gift and tableware retailers, baby-boomers are their largest target market. That's a good thing since not only is this a massive portion of the North American population, but it's one that will inherit more wealth over the next decade. Plus, as the Gen-Xers and Ys mature, they'll want more of your products later. Meanwhile, the challenge for retailers targeting boomers is this group is becoming fed-up with the hassle-factor of typical retail shopping.

Boomers are busier than ever - especially the women who do most of this type of shopping. They spend most of their waking hours working/commuting and dealing with their 'Millennials' (20 something children who will never leave the concierge service they receive at home). At the same time boomer women are caring for aging parents. They're run ragged. In today's soft economy they may not be buying luxury; but they're still buying quality. The implications for gift and tableware retailers are several fold:

  • Reduce the hassle-factor for your boomer women customers. Offer easy on-line ordering. Offer to gift-wrap. Offer that you'll put together custom baskets of your goods and ship anywhere for them. Don't wait to be asked to do this; pro-actively announce it (pick up the phone and start dialing during your slow periods).Your customers' money is plentiful.Their time and energy is scarce.
  • Don't offer cheap junk that will end up in garage sales. Sell unique products that provide real quality and lasting value.
  • Hire mature employees who can relate to your target market... not students who have no interest in the products they're trying to sell.
Bottom line - your business can't be all things to all people. Targeting Gen-Xers and Ys and boomers is attracting none. Pick a lane. Forget trying to go cheap to be affordable to young people... price-wise you won't beat Wal-Mart or China. Be a specialist providing quality and remark-able customer service that your target market actually appreciates and is willing to pay for.
About award-winning speaker, Jeff Mowatt, BComm., CSP
Jeff Mowatt is the bestselling author of the books,
Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month (for managers), and Influence with Ease (for professionals who interact with customers). As a customer service strategist, Jeff's Influence with Ease® column has been syndicated and featured in over 200 business publications. To help professionals put ideas into action, Jeff heads his own training company and has produced 4 multimedia training kits. An award winning international speaker, Jeff is among the top 7% of professional speakers in the International Federation for Professional Speakers to achieve their highest designation - Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). For more Influence with Ease® tips, training resources, and information about engaging Jeff for your team, call 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288), or visit
Very good advice from Jeff for all retailers - especially the part of hiring mature staff who can relate to the values of your best customers.

Your best marketing is customer service training for your staff.

George Torok
Marketing Expert and Speaker


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