17 June 2020

A lot of garden retailers we talk to understand that people over 50, the silver generation, are an important part of their target group, but still want to focus their marketing on those under 50. 

And we appreciate it is way sexier to talk about millennials instead of seniors, especially when you have an online marketing agency sitting next to you. 

Still, seniors are a very important target audience for your garden centre. Looking at the Netherlands, more than 50% of the Dutch people are over 50 and the same trend can be identified in the rest of Europe and the Western world: we’re all getting older. 

In the following 24 months, 24% of these seniors are said to invest in their house & garden: that means there are a lot of opportunities for your garden centre! 

Whereas the millennial is sexy, the over-50’s have a lot of purchasing power. That is why we want to give you 5 tips on how to connect with and bind this target group to your garden centre online. 


1. Yes, they are really online

Seniors & Garden Connect, that is not a logical combination, is it? 

It is! 

The same study of “Bureau Vijftig” concludes that 48% of the people between 50 and 70 years purchase something online at least once a month. Furthermore, 80% look for home & garden inspiration online. 

The amount of online purchasers has increased the strongest among the over-65s: from 25% in 2012 to 45% in 2018. 

Still not convinced? We have made an overview of one of our Irish clients showing their online visits and sales per age group:

You see that the over-65 group generates 23,17% of the online purchases. It’s also the group who has visited the website most frequently. Over 42% of all online purchases are made by people over 55.  

So yeah, they really do purchase online. 

(And if you are wondering why we are talking about over-55s: that is just how Google Analytics segments age groups.)


2. Help them a bit on your website

All people over 50 will gladly deny that defects and discomforts enter their lives after the age of 50, but one thing happens to nearly all of us: our vision gets worse. From the age of 40, the decline starts, so it is not a surprise that 60% of the over-50s needs reading glasses.

Take your target group into account when designing and updating your website:

  • Do not use yellow or light grey letters on a white background
  • Provide text in pictures with a light, transparent background to enhance the readability
  • Make sure there is enough white space surrounding text, buttons and pictures
  • Make the font big enough (is also hip by the way!) 
  • Links should be big, not small; use buttons to get the message across

These are just a few ways to help the silver generation find their way on your website. But a small adjustment can already make a big difference.

3. Search online, buy offline

Millennials are crazy about anything “local”. They would love to buy a cow from the meadow around the corner or vegetables grown by a local farmer. But at the same time, they buy coffee at Starbucks and shop till they drop on Amazon. That makes it difficult for you as a retailer to respond to their needs: you never know what they want. 

Research has shown that 60% of the over-50s supports local businesses and actually put their money where their mouth is: they shop local and are skipping nationwide brands & the internet more frequently. 

That means more opportunity and certainty than the millennial audience. 

Enhance your visibility in Google and on social media: your target audience is waiting for you. As mentioned before, 80% of over-50s looks for home & garden inspiration online. 

While they look and search online, they often purchase things offline, in real shops & garden centres.


4. Help them find their way in your garden centre

You have to help over-50s, just like the rest of your customers, to find their way in your garden centre. People over 50, as well as millennials, hate having to carry around heavy and impractical objects. 

The first target group hates it because they do not feel like it or lack the energy to do it (or they just want to keep their car nice and tidy). The second group does not even have a car, especially not in urban areas. 

So no matter what target audience you are focusing on: serve your clients by offering a home delivery service. Of course, that does not have to be free of charge, but it should be affordable. 

It is funny to know that a lot of our customers have a webshop where they deliver garden furniture for free nationwide. Now, if you want to buy the same furniture in-store and deliver it at home, all of a sudden there are shipping costs you have to deal with. Hmm. 

Furthermore, we suggest trying to cram a big load of plants into your middle-class car. If you succeed, either your plants are broken or your car is filled with dirt. Not a very appealing idea if you are planning to pick up your (grand)children later that day!

Another good idea: clearly state on your website if you have wheelchairs, parking places for handicapped people, and if you have baby changing facilities. Great to know when you or your partner is less mobile or if you want to take the (grand)kids with you.

5. Trust, trust & trust

The best strategy to tempt over-50s to buy something in your webshop? Win their trust.

Whereas the average millennial (including the whole Garden Connect team!) makes purchases anywhere with their eyes closed, the over-50 is somewhat more suspicious. A person over 50 finds every webshop shady until proven otherwise. 

Put hallmarks of the trade association, reviews, and contact information on your website. And do not mention them just once: repeat them on every page. You need to conquer your customer’s heart & mind to get their money

If you do not do that, they will be gone in no time, just as fast as a millennial. Because there is always a colleague that does offer them the love, attention, and service they are looking for. 

The silver generation gardening
Edwin Meijer

This article is written by:

Edwin Meijer

Marketing director

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