It's an easy assumption to make: teenagers and millennials are the only age groups addicted to their smartphones. Retailers who specialize in products for older consumers—such as supportive shoes or medical supplies—are likely tempted to forgo the benefits of having a mobile app. However, you can't escape the fact that everyone uses a smartphone now. They've been cemented as part of our daily lives, communications, and shopping habits. Older generations are wising up to the benefits of mobile technology—in fact, 25% of all mobile shoppers are over age 55.
While there are major purchasing differences between the generations, there are still some common factors that apply to consumers of all ages. We've compiled a little guide to help you understand why all consumers crave mobile apps now—and how you can cater to that ravenous retail desire.
#1: Consumers of all ages want an intuitive way to shop, with as little hassle as possible.
How many times have you sighed and rolled your eyes upon facing a long form required to purchase a product online? Undoubtedly, this frustration is exacerbated on mobile web, which touts itself as responsive to user actions, but often slows down or even freezes while in use. Mobile apps have solved this problem, with a variety of features including:
- Facebook Login: Facebook is now for the older generations, but young people still have it due to the popularity of Facebook-owned Instagram. Prompt your users to transfer their information to you by using their Facebook profile, eliminating the need for forms that slow down or even halt the purchasing process. All it takes is a couple of taps, and they’re ready to browse and purchase from your app.
- Simple Search: Sometimes customers have something very specific in mind when they open your inventory. Take advantage of their specific needs by allowing them to type in product names, numbers, colors, and other details.
- Easy Checkout: A camera-enabled credit card scanner eliminates the need to manually punch in card information. Relatedly, digital wallets allow your app to save different cards to avoid more data entry. You can also employ services like Apple Pay that allow your customers to pay with a thumbprint.
#2: Consumers across generations want control over the way they shop.
Of course, different generations define this differently. Members of the Silent Generation may want payment options beyond a credit card. Meanwhile, Generation Z wants freedom from expensive shipping that uses up their limited budgets. This is the very essence of mobile apps—mobile meets consumers exactly where they are, on their own time, on their own terms. What feels more "in control" than a handheld shopping device?
#3: Personalization is attractive, no matter the age.
Frankly, making a sale is no longer simply just a transaction. You have to understand the person you’re selling to and the unique shopping experience they want. Mobile apps are perfect for this, as they allow you to mine and analyze data to study your customers via special sensors like GPS. This data makes customer messaging more personalized than ever with push notifications, which are extremely effective communications tools that immediately alert customers to sales, new products, and more.
#4: Authenticity is ageless.
Don’t make wild promises or try to set up a sterile, artificial shopping experience. Instead, earn the trust of all ages with messaging and aesthetics that are warm, personal, and friendly. This is made especially easy with the Shopgate widget system, which gives you full control over the layout of your app, emoji-enabled push notifications, and the coupons that are so easily created within Shopgate apps.
So, about that mobile revolution...it's here, it's here to stay, and everyone wants to be involved, from the oldest consumers to the smallest businesses. Why haven't you decided to get your share of the top revenue-producing mobile channel?
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Author: Casey Gannon
Vice President of Marketing | Casey is an experienced tech marketer, driven to develop marketing strategies that blend traditional techniques with emerging technology. With over ten years of experience in mobile, she believes that mobile apps are the modern solution in helping retailers directly connect with and impact consumers. When she's not looking ahead to the next opportunity, Casey is a busy mom, soccer player and adjunct professor at her alma mater, St. Edward's University.