Article

THE GENERATION MAP

Quash the gap—dig in for the BIG triggers + turnoffs for each key consumer generation today (yes, even for millennials)

I CALL MYSELF AN INFORMATION JUNKIE.

As research director, consultant, and a keynote speaker for BridgeWorks [a generational research firm that helps companies bridge generation gaps in the workplace], I thrive on studying what motivates, forms, and challenges each generation.

How can your eyecare business best approach and appeal to each unique generation?

Here are some top considerations we share with clients about the best ways to appeal to—and engage with—each key generation of today’s consumer force.

THE GENERATION:
BOOMERS
Born 1946-1964

This generation is always looking to stay on the cutting edge and purchase products from experts.

Want Me to Buy?
Make boomers aware that you know all there is to know—you are the expert—and that you are excited about changes in the industry.

Connect With Me
Boomers are looking for a personal connection. They want to know that you’re taking time to build a relationship.

Talk to Me
Make them aware you are focused on making their shopping process easy, and that means being ready to dedicate focused time to them.

THE GENERATION:
GEN X
Born 1965-1979

Overall, they desire transparency and are skeptical, which translates to their being keenly aware when someone is trying to upsell them.

Want Me to Buy?
Be sure you explain all the reasons behind your suggestions. The moment you come across as “sales-y” is the very moment you lose them.

Connect with Me
Gen Xers have done their research before they shop. If they have a question, they’ll ask you, so don’t go into a sales presentation until you get the green light.

Talk to Me
For the most part, leave Gen Xers alone. They are fiercely independent and skeptical, so when they go into a store, they want to make decisions on their own.

THE GENERATION:
MILLENNIALS
Born 1980-1995

This generation craves authenticity and informality in relationships. Be sure to keep that in mind.

Want Me to Buy?
Millennials have done some online shopping, so don’t criticize online retailers. Instead, praise them for what they’re doing while offering the benefits of why you are different.

Connect With Me
They crave customization, and that means every step of the sales process should include a customized, or personalized, approach.

Talk to Me
Not just in-store, either. A strong social media presence is necessary if you want to reach them.

THE GENERATION:
GEN EDGERS
Born 1996-2010

Gen Zen is cost-hesitant when they’re on their own dollar, so be sure to be candid about products and services when they happen to cost more.

Want Me to Buy?
Represent diversity in your marketing campaigns if you want to reach this generation. Remember that they have a strong value of and for the inclusion of diversity.

Connect With Me
Don’t overconnect. Interactive merchandising is a great way to catch Gen Edgers’ attention.

Talk to Me
The worst thing you can say to this group is, “Well, most people really like this because…” without asking questions first!

DO’s + DON’Ts

Keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re offering the best shopping experience for each generation.

BOOMERS

DO focus on relationship-building and attentive customer service.

DON’T assume they’re brand loyal because they always have been or that they’re resistant to change. They embrace it.

GEN Xers

DO be transparent and to the point, and offer opportunities to save.

DON’T hover or trap them into listening to long-winded sales pitches or bombard them with marketing messages.

MILLENNIALS

DO customize the experience and show off how your team and products give back to the community.

DON’T leave them voicemails, call multiple times, or come across as too formal.

GEN EDGERS

DO have a well-established social media presence.

DON’T assume that they shop like millennials.

ACROSS GENERATIONS, WEARERS CONSIDER THEIR GLASSES TO BE PART OF THEIR STYLE, ESPECIALLY MILLENNIALS

CONSIDER YOUR GLASSES TO BE PART OF YOUR STYLE:

Source: “The Eyeglass Consumer” study by the Center for Generational Kinetics/Transitions Optical