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About Dick Stroud

Dick Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a consultancy specialising in marketing to older consumers. He is the UK’s leading expert in understanding the implications of physical ageing on the way older people behave and the products they buy.

Marketing to the Ageing Consumer
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50-Plus Marketing

News, views and opinions about the most powerful group of consumers - the 50-plus market.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A retail bonanza as oldies spend their pension savings - I think not

Research from Ipsos MORI (sorry I couldn't find its URL) forecasts how people will spend their pension funds once they get hold of them next April. Here is an article about the research from the Guardian.

The headline to the research is that 200,000 are going to withdraw all of the money and spend it. Shock and horror.

Of course what is not said is that the average pension fund in the UK is less than £30,000. So for somebody that has outstanding credit card debts or / and a mortgage, then it is a sensible thing to do. If they wait for it to pay them an annual pension they will have the princely sum of £2,500 a year paid into their bank account.

There will undoubtedly be an increase in consumer expenditure once people can control their (just say that again - control their pension savings. Unfortunately, for many people they will have no idea about the tax they will then pay, but that is a different story.

Bottom line, next April will see the 55+ spending more money than normal but I doubt it will be the bonanza that some people are expecting. Dick Stroud

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How best to tell the user they are must wait

I am currently in the middle of testing and app and web site. Because the software is on a test server the response rate is slow (at least I hope that is the reason).

It was great timing that the the latest edition of Jacob Nielsen's usability newsletter was published and it is all about how to indicate to the user they have to wait.

My concern was that because of a delay the user will get impatient and click twice (the sort of thing that I do).

According to the usability guru, the last thing that you want to do is say "don't click twice". Why? Because people rarely read the text  -  I am sure he is right.

The more I think about this issue the more interesting and important it becomes for all ages of users but particularly for oldies.

If you are involved in the digital pond then worth a read. Dick Stroud

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Five Year Forward View of the NHS - you must be joking

The top honcho in the UK's NHS has just published his look to the future that lists what needs to happen to the UK's health service.

As was commented about in the sunday papers, it was an odd choice of imagery to use on the front cover. The way forward for the health service is all about dealing with an ageing population rather than the smoochy photo of a young baby in the safe arms of the caring nurse.

It was interesting to note that the report contained nothing about the impact of the changing UK demographics and only one mention of ageing.

The failings of the NHS and the care system to respond to the demands of the UK's older population is going to be a bonanza for private companies catering for the wealthy older person. Dick Stroud

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The lost art of DIY and its affect on retail

One of the UK's largest DIY, for the younger reader that stands for "do it yourself', retailers announced this week that it was shutting a quarter of its retail outlets in the next four years.

The stated reason was that young people cannot/don't want to do their own repairs and decorating.

Now this rings a few bells and sounds like a partial explanation but I think there are other contributing factors. For instance, young people are not getting their own properties until much later in their life and I suspect the retail sector has got fat and happy and over-supplied the market.

If you have a subscription to the Telegraph you can read the full article here.

Anyway, it makes an interesting example of where generational change might be having a radical impact on the retail channel. Dick Stroud

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Post Office please, please start treating customers as customers

The Post Office call centre getting it badly wrong

I don't like using this blog to deal with my personal hassles but when they illustrate a much wider marketing problem I break the rule.

Before listening to this call centre dialogue you need to understand a few facts:

This refers to the Post Office Travel Money card that acts as a Euro direct debit card

  • I applied for one of these things and transferred £50 from my bank account and waited
  • The next thing that happens is that the fraud office of NatWest bank contacts me because of unusual transactions on my bank account
  • I then learn that at the time the transaction to the Post Office was made two other payments were illegally taken from my account 
  • This might be coincidence but it does seem a bit odd. Certainly worth investigating?
  • My card arrives and when I try to authenticate it I am told that it has been put on hold

The dialogue you hear is 4th maybe 5th call I have had with the Post Office after sending them a scan of my passport and a copy of my online bank statement showing the £50 transaction.

At this point I am a customer who is clearly not happy. I have not been told why I am being asked for more and more information to get access to MY money. Worse still, I am the one who has suffered a fraud incident that might have be connected with somebody involved with the Post Office -  but nobody is in the least bit interested.

And finally, I am being asked to provide a paper (yep, you know that funny stuff we once used) bank statement.

Now this poor hapless lady at the call centre is not to blame for the Post Office's awful customer service. She is only doing what she is allowed to do. The person to blame is the idiot that set-up the rules of the call centre and the paths that are available for the call centre staff to use.

I hope the Post Office take this as a learning experience and maybe I have saved a few of their customers being exposed to such a poor customer experience.

So if somebody from the Post Office is reading this can I have my money back and please can you investigate what might, just might, be fraudulent activity connected with your organisation. Dick Stroud

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