Supermarkets engage older people: everyone profits.

We’ve said it many times, Australia’s population is ageing rapidly. By 2050, 22.5% of Australia’s population will be aged over 65 – that’s over a fifth of Australia’s population! So what are businesses doing to engage this older generation?

Supermarkets in USA have started taking notice of older shoppers and have begun implementing changes to make it easier for older people to do their shopping. Walgreens and CVS have magnifying glasses hanging off the aisles and windows are left uncovered to let natural light into the stores. Walgreens is also lowering shelving and re-organising products so that older people don’t have to stretch or bend to reach the product they’re after.

In Europe, shopping trolleys with built-in seats have been introduced to allow older customers to sit down to have a rest if they need to.

But it’s not only the supermarkets that are paying extra attention to their older customers. San Francisco based First Republic Bank has replaced its heavy doors with automatic doors and their plush sofas have been substituted with higher chairs with cushions after employees noticed older customers struggling to get back up from the couches.


Other ways businesses are making their shop fronts more age friendly is by replacing shiny (and slippery!) floors with carpet, providing single serve meals and increased font sizes on labels.

Australia’s ageing population means that these changes also need to start happening here. So what can businesses do to make older customers more comfortable?

  • Increase fonts and label size
  • Design marketing materials from an older person’s point of view
  • Make sure older people can access your services or products on a motorised scooter (e.g. wider aisles)
  • Make sure sales staff remain courteous and speak slowly and clearly.

While these small changes have been designed to keep a customer coming back, it does not guarantee that they will come through your door if they’ve never shopped there before. This requires research into your customers’ motivations, aspirations and community surroundings to ensure customers feel looked-after and engaged.

Promoting ‘senior discounts’ to a group of 50-somethings, for example, is not going to be effective. What 50-year-old these days would consider themselves ‘senior’? Marketing materials needs to ‘speak’ to the customers through images, colours and design as well as the actual message. It’s about knowing what customers want and need, what they’re willing to spend their money on, and where to reach them.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you reach Australia’s older population more effectively. Visit our website to read more about our approach to health and ageing and case studies.

image credit : Fabio Tieri