Three mature women seated side by side at a restaurant eat lunch and laugh.
Older adults comprise 50% of consumer purchases and are the wealthiest age group, yet few businesses market to this customer demographic. — Getty Images/Vesnaandjic

In what seems like a never-ending battle for consumers’ attention, certain demographics are often overlooked and underrepresented — including older adults. Data show older people make up 50% of all consumer purchases — and hold the title of the wealthiest age group — yet marketing efforts are rarely geared toward the aging consumer.

Small businesses can offer senior citizen discounts, which can help organizations thrive compared to their competition while simultaneously boosting consumer relationships and establishing a strong sense of customer loyalty to this consumer demographic.

Here’s how your business can offer a worthwhile senior discount.

Set clear goals

Before you offer a senior citizen discount, determine what your company hopes to achieve with the promotion. Do you want to build customer loyalty with your existing patrons, or are you focused on targeting and attracting new customers to boost sales? Perhaps you want to get rid of older merchandise to make room for new inventory.

By keeping your intended goal in mind when creating a senior discount, you can ensure that your promotion will work with your business, not against it.

[Read More: How to Offer Military, First Responder, or Other Special Discounts]

Research senior discounts offered at other businesses

Researching competitors — both local and nationwide businesses — can give you innovative ideas about how to offer senior discounts. Your competitors have worked hard to develop promotions that appeal to what your customer base is looking for — use their ideas as inspiration when creating your promotional program.

Ensure your senior discount is comparable to, if not better than, your competitors, as many consumers are willing to switch to a different company if they find a better deal elsewhere. By offering a discount in line with those in your industry or better, your business can stand out as a competitor and attract a larger audience.

[Read More: B2C Customer Loyalty Program Ideas]

For small businesses trying to get more seniors through the door, registering with AARP can be a great way to gain exposure.

Be deliberate about your discount

While your discount should benefit your customers, it’s important to implement a strategy that ultimately improves your bottom line. Consider who your customer is — including their age, location, and interests — what they want, and how your business can meet their needs while still earning a profit. By being deliberate in your promotional strategy, you can ensure it positively impacts your business and achieves your intended goals.

For example, companies aiming to boost sales can offer older adults a tiered discount based on the amount spent in one shopping trip; those businesses that are looking to attract new customers can model their promotions after companies like Rite Aid, which offer in-store deals and exclusive promotional events for senior members.

Determine the effectiveness of your discount

Once your senior discount is in place, monitor the results to ensure it’s working as intended. The following metrics, among others, should frequently be measured:

  • Conversion rates: The number of customers participating in your promotion.
  • Customer satisfaction: The way your customers feel about your business after the discount.
  • Average order value: The amount of money customers are spending with the discount.
  • Sales volume: The number of sales made through the promotion.

If the discount you’re offering doesn’t interest your audience, survey them to see what they believe is missing. In doing so, you can learn what your customers would like to see more of and make the necessary adjustments to offer a discount they find beneficial.

Register with the AARP

For small businesses trying to get more seniors through the door, registering with AARP can be a great way to gain exposure. With over 37 million AARP members, many seniors will discover your business just by signing up as a member.

AARP works to connect small businesses, products, and services to those over the age of 50. They support companies that cater to those in older life stages by highlighting benefits — such as senior discounts — and providing marketing services. Businesses can see many benefits by registering, as AARP’s marketing efforts effectively reach a captive audience of older consumers, allowing organizations to reach a target market they may have struggled to connect with before.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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