If you've been visiting The Senior List® these past few years, you know that we love to write articles that inform (and provide advice) to boomers and seniors. One of our most popular topics of late has been around senior discount programs.
The articles and senior discount lists that we publish also generate a great deal of feedback from our readers, something we're very proud of (and want to continue to encourage on other articles/topics).
An interesting question about senior discounts came up in the office recently. We began debating the role that discounts have in driving consumer loyalty (specifically as it pertains to boomers and seniors). We had our own internal biases that discounts are a key driver of loyalty, but we wanted to go directly to the source.
Do Senior Discounts Drive Customer Loyalty?
In a recent poll (see below), we asked the question “Do Senior Discount Programs Drive Customer Loyalty?” The results are overwhelming to say the least. *Out of over 650 respondents, 96.22% of people responded that they were likely to frequent a business offering senior discounts vs. 3.78% of respondents that said senior discounts did not influence their purchasing decision. That is a huge margin for sure! (*Results as of 9/25/15)
Some brands are embracing the idea of “senior discounts” openly, while others wait on the sideline (or in the shadows). Relative to our published senior discount list for restaurants, The Senior List reached out to McDonalds to understand their senior discount policy more clearly. In doing so, we received the answer we thought we would; McDonalds allows their local franchises (90% of which are independently operated) to make their own local decisions about seniors discounts (or senior coffees, etc.). Interestingly, Wendy's (RIP Dave) asked us to take their restaurants off of our list completely (which we complied with).
96.22% of people responded that they were likely to frequent a business offering senior discounts – The Senior List poll on senior discounts, 2015
Given the results of our poll, it makes me wonder why some companies aren't doing more to woo boomers and seniors today. This is a huge demographic that has both time and money. Seth Bailey, contributor to Entrepreneur.com has this to say about boomers/seniors:
In fact, the number of seniors is increasing quickly. The percentage of the population age 65 and over increased from 4.1 percent in 1900 to 13.0 percent in 2010 and is projected to reach 20.9 percent by 2050. This demographic is also increasingly taking to online shopping. The number of consumers age 66 and older using this outlet to purchase products has increased 4 percent each year. – Seth Bailey, March 18, 2015, “5 Ways to Improve Customer Service for Seniors“, Entrepreneur.com
If you're a business looking to create loyalty among this “demographic tidal wave”, understand that this is a fiercely loyal demographic to begin with. They'll go out to their way to patronize your establishment if you provide respect and value. If you don't have a senior discount policy, think about developing one. If you do have one, make it easy for people to understand (post it on your website, or on a placard at your place of business. Remember, the purpose of a discount policy isn't to serve a customer once, it's to keep them coming back… That's what I call loyalty.