Dear CEO of my favorite retail store:
No doubt that old saying, “Your customer is your wife,” attributed to David Ogilvy, was good advice to follow, back in the day—it just isn’t true, anymore.
If you’re interested in online sales, your customer is not your wife. Your customer is probably your daughter and, even more so, her grandmother. Here’s why:
Your wife is out to make sure your business is a success. She’s going to love your website and sugar-coat her criticism—hopefully. She doesn’t want you ranting and raving and spending even more time at work. While valuable, her insight will be tainted with personal desire.
Your daughter is less worried about pleasing you. She’s out to please herself and prove to her friends that your products are green. She shops online wondering how she can personalize your products, isn’t afraid of price tags, but does expect quality for her dollar. She will hold you to a higher standard while demanding you allow her to engage with your product design and development. She hates shopping with her mother, but loves shopping with her grandmother—grandma is less critical and more likely to buy her the stuff she wants. And, she’ll share popular links with Grandma when it's birthday or holiday time.
When it comes to the Grandma in the family—she’s out to please herself and your granddaughter, not you and not your wife, even if your wife is her daughter. Grandma is nostalgic, and her relationship with your daughter is a fun way of reliving her youth. Because Grandma is also environmentally conscious, she’s going to check out your efforts to show support of her favorite non-profit. If you’re not into the exact non-profit she is fond of, she’ll give you kudos for whichever non-profit you are involved with.
These are not the rocking-chair women of the 20th century. They’re vibrant, colorful, energetic, and connected women love who love hanging out with their granddaughters. They’re over 50 but act as if they are under 40—living up to their expectations, not yours.
What does all of this mean? It means the Grandma’s who shop online today are hot to trot—not for sex—they’re hot to trot for life, love and excitement! Make your site and your products connect with them on one or more of those levels. Understand they are connected to the youth community, the Mom community, the business community, and any other community you can name. Yes, really, Grandmoms are everywhere.
Build relationships with them. Use social networking. Jeff Russell says boomer women are the fastest growing group on Facebook. He forgets to mention that these women are connected to the nth degree—to their friends, their kids, and the friends of their kids. Seriously, they have influence. Get to understand that and how to tap into it. Don’t forget the offline opportunities—these women bring those online friends to their koffee klatches and product review parties. Show them a good time at an offline event, and you’re sure to get them to your website in droves!
A Vibrant Nation survey revealed, recently, that, “Boomer women plan their own travel and are willing to spend more for travel.” Get involved in their desire to travel safely and inexpensively. Who do you think they’ll be taking with them? Find out—is it the granddaughter, a close girl friend or a new boyfriend? Once you know, showcase the products you have that will make the trip fantastic!
On Internet Networking Boomers, they write, “Once they are sold, [these women] become loyal and consistent customers who spread the word. They don’t buy brands, they join them.” How much more powerful can it get? Make it worth their while to join your network.
Forget your wife. Call Grandma and ask her how well your site works. Tell her you’ll give her and 25 of her closest friends a party—with free merchandise, and watch them share your website link, over and over. Once done, nurture that community of powerful shoppers—because those women, according to this report at The Bastrop Advertiser “…have seen their roles change from homemakers to purchasers of security, convenience and luxury items.”
How do I know all of this? Well, I’m a Grandma, of course.
Grandmother, Mother, Shopper, Professional blogger and tweeter