The three "big issues" for older supermarket shoppers
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Purpose – The senior market is becoming more attractive as older consumers come to comprise a greater proportion of the population and control a greater proportion of national assets. The purpose of this study was to examine older shoppers' experiences in Australian supermarkets to identify the three issues of most concern to seniors and provide practical recommendations to managers. Design/methodology/approach – Six focus groups yielded the three major issues which were then tested via a national telephone survey (n=505). Findings – The major issues identified included the demeanour of supermarket employees, the functionality of shopping equipment (i.e. trolleys and baskets), and the appropriate placement of products on supermarket shelves. Respondents considered these issues to be personally relevant and important to seniors in general. Practical implications – Supermarket managers should develop strategies to ensure staff are recruited and trained in such a fashion as to enable them to engage in satisfying interactions with older customers. Other areas requiring attention include thorough product stocking to prevent over‐reaching and the provision of well‐designed and functioning shopping aids in the form of trolleys and baskets. Further issues raised in the focus groups that are worthy of consideration by supermarket managers and other retailers are merchandise quality, adequate access to and within the store, in‐store amenities, home delivery options, seniors' discounts, and avoiding extended queuing. These service aspects appear to be of particular importance to older shoppers. Originality/value – The findings support previous research that has highlighted the need for retailers to take seniors' needs into consideration in service provision.