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Store Designers Seek To Accomodate Seniors

[ 0 ] Aug. 16, 2011 | SBO Editor

Within the next decade the number of people older than 65 is set to jump almost 30 percent. That shift has store designers thinking about how to accommodate the millions of older shoppers who’ll be streaming through their doors. Are you poised to adapt to this booming market?

The older we get, says retail anthropologist Georganne Bender — just about everything could be altered in shop design.  Take the floors, for example.

“Retailers love shiny floors,” she says. “But shiny floors are scary to somebody who’s not sure if it’s gonna be, you know, slick footing for them.” Then there are the products. Half the population over age 65 has some kind of arthritis. A lot of younger people have it, too.

With this ailment, reaching and bending get harder. The National Retail Federation says its members are on the case, but Bender says so far there has been more talk than action.

Drugstore chain CVS, though, has made changes.”They’re resetting their counters, not putting things too high or too low,” Bender says. “They’re putting carpeting in the store.” Another factor is the weight of doors. It is difficult for many seniors to open them.

CVS and Walgreens also have magnifiers hanging from shelves so shoppers can read the fine print on packaging.

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Category: Features