I had an ah-ha moment earlier this month. An old fellow popped in to the shop and said he and his wife had just downsized to a condo and they needed to update their sound system. I started to play a number of options while outlining the specs for each unit while paying close attention to see what sound generated an emotional response with the potential customer. On this day, I was not seeing any hint of engagement, so I asked him "how he thought each option sounded?"
"Son" he said, "I'm 74 years old and to my old ears they all sound fine, in fact I can't tell the difference. What I need" he added "was something to look nice in our new place and something that will be easy for my wife and I to operate. We don't want any clutter."
So there you have it, a music system purchase where how it sounds, was third on the list of his requirements. He bought a Naim Muso and signed up to Spotify and couldn't be happier. I had another old guy pop in and ask if we sold headphones where he could control the volume independently between the right and left ear. He explained that he had lost considerable hearing in his right ear, so if he plays the volume at a perfect level for his right ear, it is far too loud in his left. JBL has an app for their Everest Series headphones that can control the noise cancellation level of each ear independently, but to my knowledge no headphone exists that can control volume from one ear to the next. Hmm, aging population, specific needs... could this be a business opportunity?
Another common request that I get from the grey-haired crowd are headphones for television. Sennheiser has a few models that allow for a wireless headphone to synch with a TV without any latency issues, but boy, why isn't every headphone manufacturer coming out with a TV specific headphone? Or better still, how about TV manufacturers adding a wireless frequency that would communicate with a headphone that they could sell as an accessory?
We spend a considerable amount of time chasing the consumer reach of Millennials. Oh Millennials, so special we dedicated a whole issue of our magazine to discover what makes them tick! We build apps and mobile payment opportunities so Millennials feel at home when they shop (while they price check every item against Amazon, or ask about lay-away plans, if they actually make it in to the store!!) when the real money and the no-nonsense customers are the baby boomers, these old guys that have the cash on hand and are willing to buy on the spot, if you can solve their problem. We have so much technology at our fingertips but sometimes the simplest item is the perfect item. Overheard:
Old timer: "I want to listen to the Fan 590 in the kitchen when I make lunch"
The bad answer: "Have you tried the app TuneIn Radio that you can download to your Smartphone where not only can you access the Fan but sports stations from all over the world? We can then stream it to a speaker in the kitchen AND the living room."
The right answer: "Here is a Tivoli radio that even has a battery so you can also listen in the back garden while you eat your lunch. It has a dial for both AM and FM tuning. It comes in black, white and red"
According to Moody's data, in the first quarter of 2017, American's 55 and older accounted for 41.6% of all consumer spending. If you drop the age category to include a smattering of Gen-Xers at 53 and 54 years old, the age group now represents half of all consumer spending. There are 90.7 million Americans over the age of 55. The median age of the Canadian population is 41.2 years old according to Statistics Canada. We bend over backward for Millennials, when the best and nicest customer getting no attention, is the Boomer Consumer. Spend it while you can!!
As always many thanks for reading.