Retailing Comes of Age By John Stanley Have you been to buy any dog food lately? Do you remember the days when you just picked it up in the supermarket and kept walking? Walk into any pet ï¿½box storeï¿½ today and itï¿½s a whole new experience. Prior to purchasing todayï¿½s canineï¿½s lunch, you need to know the age and size of your dog. If you donï¿½t know these two critical facts, the shopping experience could be a very frustrating one. In a store I recently visited in the UK, the actual merchandising was based on the age of the dog. Generational marketing has hit the pet store. Generational Marketing! Generational marketing is big business, the days of targeting lifestyle groups is being replaced by setting your store up to market to a specific age group. Toy retailers and some bookstores have been into generational marketing for many years, as has the fashion industry, but this concept of marketing is now spreading across all retail sectors. So how do you split up your merchandising to attract specific age groups? Firstly, what groups are out there that you need to be aware of? Generational Marketing- The Main Groups Researchers are now splitting the community into very specific age groups for marketing purposes. Generation Y This group are todayï¿½s teenagers and those in their very early twenties. They are very specific in their purchasing decisions and need to perceive a retail business and its product range as ï¿½cool.ï¿½ It is difficult to integrate the desires of this group into most retail stores and as a result, in many retail sectors, companies have set up specific stores just to attract this target group. Music, mood, colour and style are all very specific to this group to ensure they have the right retail experience. Generation X, the IKEA Babies This mid twenties to mid thirties age group is a big ï¿½power houseï¿½ when it comes to buying. IKEA, the Swedish furniture lifestyle company built a global business targeting this group and as a result, their founder is now the richest man in the world. IKEA babies are happy to spend for value. Their idea of value is that it is a lifestyle statement that literally comes in a box. They can take it home and create an instant statement. They are looking for lifestyle fashion statements and expect the retailer they frequent to be in tune with the latest fashion colours, styles and trends. This computer literate group expect quality customer service. Talk down to them and youï¿½ll probably lose them for life. The Jones Generation This 35 to 49 year old age group are a busy lot, they want an experience when they go shopping, but are time poor and if you waste their time youï¿½ll be crossed off their visit list. They are experimenters, they are shopping for new and exciting ideas and quickly get bored with retailers who, in their view, are not keeping them entertained with new ideas and new ways of putting old products together. Present the right products to them and they are prepared to Do It themselves (D.I.Y) A recent survey in the UK in the home improvement sector indicated they are still prepared to spend large amounts of money on the D.I.Y sector. The Baby Boomers They are in their fifties. They still have a major impact on retailing as indicated by the large amount of Ray Charlesï¿½ music being purchased on his untimely death. This sector has money, but no time. They are in the D.I.M ( Do It for Me) sector and have driven new business sectors in landscape design, rent a ï¿½hubbyï¿½ and chefs preparing meals in their homes. They have driven the organic food movement and the ï¿½slowï¿½ movement – fast and convenient are not their scene. They are prepared to pay for someone to remove stress, yet also still want to be involved and are prepared to pay to indulge in the fun part of the task and to purchase the fashion statements. Greying Tigers This final group are the over 60ï¿½s. Researchers, a few years ago suggested that this group would be an affluent, stay at home sector and as a result gardening and entertainment would boom. The home improvement industries have reaped the rewards of this growing group but not to the extent they thought. This group of greying tigers are not staying at home. The cruise industry, golf courses, theatre, restaurants and general travel industry have all grown rapidly by targeting this adventurous group. They are the most price sensitive and nostalgic sector of the population, but give them a comfortable experience and they will be loyal. Your Challenge The real challenge with generational marketing is that you need to create excitement and sanctuary for all these groups, often in the same building. Itï¿½s not easy, especially when you try and mix Greying Tigers with the IKEA babies, but get it right and business should blossom. Ten Generational Marketing Retail Tips 1. Change the music style during the day to attract different age groups into your store at specific times of the day. 2. Have Generation X style workshops on a specific day of the week to attract that age group. 3. Have a ï¿½discountï¿½ day for Greying Tigers on one day a week. You may want to promote this via retirement homes/centres. 4. Use colour theming throughout the store to distinguish different zones by the use of colour. 5. Provide childrenï¿½s activity days on a specific day of the week to attract the Jones Generation. 6. Display products in different combinations to attract different age groups eg: D.I.Y Package, D.I.M Package, D.I.W Packages (Do It With Me) 7. Promote services from your store to attract Baby Boomers. This may be a window cleaning service in a curtain category or a landscape design service in a garden centre. 8. Read the magazines that are targeted to the different age groups, so youï¿½re aware of what they are being exposed to. 9. Make sure printed signs are in bigger print when targeting Greying Tigers, and that the lighting is good. 10. Keep changing; your consumers are.