business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I don’t usually refer to reader emails in this space, but I got one late last week that I thought was worth Eye-Opener attention.

It came from my friend Todd Hale, who was referring to a piece that ran on MNB referencing the fact that the Millennial generation has less money than retailers might hope, and therefore less disposable income than twentysomethings of previous generations had to spend while shopping. It probably was not a coincidence that we also had a piece last week about how more older people than ever - distressingly described as “55 and older” - are holding down jobs and putting off retirement plans.

To which Todd Hale responded:

“We continue to offer discounts to seniors.  I’m now 61 and I get discounts at movies, a 10% discount at my dry cleaners...

“With a widening income disparity in this country, which favors boomers,  why haven’t some retailers and manufacturers figured out that maybe we are giving discounts to the wrong people!”

I read that, and a lightbulb went on over my head.

What a great idea.

Maybe there are some retailers out there that are doing this (and if so, I’ve love to hear about it ... keep those cards and letters coming in!), but imagine what it might do for traffic and sales if a retailer chose a usually slow night of the week and said that for 3-4 hours, anyone with a driver’s license clearly establishing that they are under 30 is eligible for q 5-10 percent discount on all food products (excluding alcohol).

Think that might generate some traffic and sales? And then, if the retailer is smart, it would then create programs that would build on this burgeoning traffic, with samples and meal selections that are seen as relevant to this generation.

In an age when everybody is trying to figure out how to compete with the likes of and Walmart, this might be a way of creating relationships and establishing a kind of loyalty to this generation of consumers, loyalty that might persist as they age, earn more money, get married and have families and turn into the kind of big-transaction shoppers that most retailers covet.

Just a thought...with all props to Todd Hale.
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