April 30, 2001, 12:00 AM

Move aside youngster, Grandma wants to shop—online

(Page 2 of 2)

“Our users like to save money. That is the big incentive for shopping through our site,” says Philip V. Escaldi, secretary and CFO. ElderVision’s users want to deal with retailers they know, which helped ElderVision determine which retailers it wanted to cut deals with. The portal has more than 100,000 registered users. Shoppers must be registered on the site to get the rebates, which they can check online at the site.

Despite the fact that the older demographic set may be Internet users and shoppers, they still are concerned about potential misuse of personal information. The AARP’s study shows that 74% of those who have made Internet purchases are concerned about the privacy of information collected on them while shopping, which is similar to the overall population. Addressing those concerns through marketing and education is one way to help encourage this group to shop more.

The reality today, however, is that shopping moms are the target for e-retailers. Retailers are reluctant to devote scarce resources to a population they don’t think will provide strong and immediate returns. “Right now our focus for online shopping is moms,” says a spokesman for Kmart Corp.’s BlueLight.com operation. “The return on investment in marketing to seniors is not yet strong enough for things like e-commerce.”

But if other technologies that became mainstream by appealing to younger consumers-such as ATMs-is any guide, seniors will be in the web market soon-and retailers better be ready to take their money.

andrea@verticalwebmedia.com

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