Accessible E-commerce: how to adapt shopping sites to seniors

Seniors now spend more time on the Internet than other consumer groups. Impatient and often allergic to technology, retirees expect the web to be easy and accessible to them. But how can e-commerce sites be adapted to this population of customers often forgotten by digital and marketing departments?

Seniors who expect e-tailers to adapt to them and not the other way around.

Acquisition managers spend lavishly on buying keywords to recruit retirees as customers. The latter are then redirected to e-commerce sites with a UX (user experience) that is not adapted to their use. Illegible fonts, overly technical features, incomprehensible language are all the more obstacles to encourage purchase and brand loyalty.

To better understand the expectations of customers over 60, the EKOO team carried out a behavioural study and interviewed senior internet users. Here are the 3 main expectations that e-tailers must meet:

What are the best practices to put in place to retain your senior and retired customers on e-commerce sites?

  • Make your site easier to read! Remember that the eyesight of Internet users decreases from the age of 40!
  • Reassure your customers! Make it easy to access information and be transparent!
  • Make your e-Commerce site simple! Think of the web simply!

#Make your site easier to read! Think that the eyesight of Internet users decreases from the age of 40!

" Every time I have to buy on the internet I get annoyed! I never know where to click and I spend my time enlarging the text on the sites with my tablet! " says Gilles, a 61-year-old lawyer.

How to make your site easier to read? Consider that the eyesight of Internet users decreases from the age of 40 onwards and that there are innovations incorporating voice to get around this problem.

When teams work on ergonomics, they do not have the reflex to think about the visual comfort of the senior citizen. According to our study, the loss of comfort begins when the text font is smaller than 14 pixels.

The easier it is to read, the more the senior citizen will have a first impression of satisfaction with the information he or she discovers.

In addition, the senior citizen does not approach a web page in the same way as a younger Internet user. In most cases, older people read a web page as they would a book.

There are three considerations to take into account when building your website for seniors:

Most of the time, the senior citizen reads what appears at the screen only above the waterline. It is not natural for him to scroll. The information above the waterline determines his or her web behaviour for further reading. Therefore, the organisation and type of content that appears above the waterline should be given particular importance to capture the interest of seniors.

Adapt to their use!

The attention of the elderly does not intuitively focus on the usual buttons. The "Home" button, for example, to return to the home page, is used very little by seniors.

" I never know how to go back or how to find my basket when I go to a new site. The worst thing is the sites that are supposed to be trendy and that flash everywhere! I want to put on sunglasses when I'm on the Adidas site! When I wanted to buy Adidas trainers I couldn't understand anything and how to find the model I was looking for. I really had the impression of being an old man out of touch" François, 71 years old

A navigation menu and a tree structure with a font that is too small, or even unintuitive, as is often seen on smartphones, can discourage seniors from venturing onto your site.

Finally, senior citizens seem to be insensitive, even irritable, towards intrusive advertising animations or videos. Supposed to make a site more dynamic and interactive, animations can even drive them away.

#Reassure your customers! Make it easy to access information and be transparent!

" I'm always afraid I'll get the wrong item, whether I've chosen the right size or whether it's compatible. And most of the time it's always illegible " Odile, 73 years old

The period of COVID, which isolated the retired people, has clearly imposed on them to overcome their last psychological barriers for the digital. With the zooming aperitifs with the grandchildren they became familiar with video. They opened up to the more unknown social networks like Pinterest and Instagram which saw seniors grow in significant numbers in 2021. Then, because they couldn't afford to buy in-store, they had to resort to learning to trust e-retailers. But once converted, don't forget to give them access to services that should reassure them. Indeed, seniors are impatient, they don't have time to waste on your site. When they have a question or are looking for information, they need an immediate answer.

To satisfy web customers over the age of sixty, adapt your customer service, and set up a telephone line that will allow them to be connected immediately to encourage purchasing.

Populate your product sheets with effective information, with accessible and simple text for features and integrate voice testimonials from your teams to make your products more understandable.

Don't forget to get your other senior customers to talk to you through voice reviews too. If they can listen to the experience of customers like them, it's a sure win for reassurance! And with listening and voice testimonials you get around the problem of small print on phones.

#Make a practical e-commerce site - keep it simple!

" When I was piloting the construction of ZODIO's international ecommerce, the teams did not have the reflex to adapt the models and functionalities for ALL Internet users. The web teams are often very young and think the web for them. It was by organising round tables with our clients that we realised that our site was excluding some of our clients. Émilie Brossier, ecommerce director, ADEO Group.

When you think about creating an e-commerce site, challenge your teams to do away with all the knowledge or preconceptions they have as ordinary Internet users or e-marketing professionals. Give them one recipe: be simple and think mobile first!

And yes, now all seniors are connected and equipped with a smartphone! 60% of them start searching for product information on their mobile phone. But they have to give up because of the discomfort they encounter while browsing.

To avoid losing Internet users that you have had difficulty recruiting, make sure that your site is understandable. To do this, work upstream on the organisation and visualisation of the site. In order to optimise the content, it should be pointed out that senior citizens, who are less resourceful than the average Internet user, want to access the information they are looking for immediately. It is therefore necessary to oversimplify the content, the message to be transmitted. In the case of multiple answers to a question, it is preferable to direct the senior citizen to the full version of these answers by means of links, even if these send him or her to the bottom of the page.

Observe by putting yourself in condition.

If you are building a website for seniors, consider three parameters:

- Their ability to concentrate depends on their interest in the content. To test the quality of your content, a simple exercise is all it takes. Check whether the page answers the question the senior citizen is asking based on the query he or she made on Google.

- Their computer skills may be very limited, hence the importance of optimised natural referencing. After sending an email, searching on Google is the second action that seniors learn to do on the Internet. Think about orienting your content as if your user was talking to you, because you have to take into account that the senior user uses more and more the voice function with the microphone to dictate his searches on Google.

- The intellectual curiosity of senior citizens is very random and varies from one Internet user to another, hence a lack of patience for most senior citizens who quickly become discouraged if they do not find the information they are looking for

Then, there is only one recipe: test.
The A/B testing method is effective because it allows you to experiment with the web-behaviour of the user on several test web pages.
Then, all that remains is to monitor the relevant performance indicators such as the bounce rate, the conversion rate and the time spent on your pages. Testing the voice experience on your site? Follow the impact of your performance indicators on the relevant product sheets. On some sites, they have been multiplied by 5 on this target customer of seniors.

In conclusion, to succeed in your web strategy, it is essential to break a first preconception: if seniors have time to waste, they also hate wasting their time. So get to the point and keep it simple!

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Published by LA TEAM EKOO

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