Although baby boomers tend to be some of retailers' heaviest spenders, they also are not as loyal as other customers. According to a recently released ICLP report commissioned by Survey Sampling International, baby boomers often feel overlooked and under-rewarded by retailers, which is why 93% aren't fully loyal to their favorite brands.
For the study, ICLP surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers ranging from millennials to baby boomers, and created a customer-brand relationship model which focuses on three components of the relationship: intimacy (willingness to share information with a retailer), passion (brand enthusiasm) and commitment (loyalty). It found that the most loyal consumers are devoted, enthusiastic, passionate and committed to a retailer, as well as least likely to stray to competitors.
Still, from the consumers' perspective, baby boomers don't feel a high level of passion, commitment or intimacy toward brands and are more likely to stray. As many as 88% reported they don't expect brands to take the time to get to know and understand what they want, and 71% said that their customer loyalty is not adequately rewarded.
Nearly all consumers surveyed who are devoted to their favorite retailers would also recommend the brand to others. However, only one-third of boomers would regularly recommend their top brands to others.
But why are baby boomers not as devoted as other demographic groups? For one, many retailers focus their online and mobile marketing efforts on millennials due to digital shopping's appeal to multiconnected shoppers. However, 79% of the 55-plus group are willing to splurge on purchases for their family. In addition, baby boomers control 70% of the country's disposable income.
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"As it is today, 84% of baby boomers have a smartphone that they use for various aspects of the shopping journey, including researching brands and products, price checking, loyalty rewards and ultimately, purchasing," Phil Seward, regional director, Americas at ICLP, told FierceRetail. "The rate of 'smartphone savviness' is on the rise among older generations, so as retailers further invest in their online and mobile apps, baby boomers will continue on this trajectory and keep on shopping digitally."
In addition, just 12% of boomers expect that brands will spend the time to get to know them and less than 40% who consider themselves regular customers feel appreciated. In fact, 80% of the 55-and-over group don't expect brands to make relevant recommendations for them.
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"Baby boomers feel largely undervalued and overlooked by the brands they engage with the most," Seward said. "To turn this sentiment around, retailers must implement personalized engagement strategies that ‘surprise and delight’ to obtain their loyalty. Retailers should use Big Data insights from online sites and mobile apps to get a sense of what these consumers want on an individual level, whether it’s the mode of communication they prefer to be contacted on, providing relevant product recommendations, or sharing timely offers based on a previous purchase. Taking it one step further, boomers value responsiveness and reliability. In order to maintain this group’s emotional investment in a brand, it’s vital to own up to mistakes and quickly rectify issues."