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Did you know that there are over 60 million adults in the United States who fall under the Generation X demographic?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Gen. X (or “Baby Busters”, as they may be called affectionately) is anyone born between the mid 1960s and the late 1970s, accounting for around 25% of the adult population.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty significant demographic to me, especially when you consider the fact that statistically Gen. X has greater spending power than most of the other customer age groups; with a propensity for luxury items, these customers are looking for quality, premium products to invest in, and have been known to show incredible brand loyalty.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X income

The only difficulty is actually getting their business.  You see, Gen. X has a lot of cash to spend, but is very cautious while doing it.  When considering buying a product, Baby Busters are very mindful of three things: family, individual satisfaction, and security.  They want to make sure that they’re investing in necessary, convenient products that will allow them to provide for their family without jeopardizing their plans for retirement.

You might find yourself thinking “hey, I sell those types of products!”  If you are, great!  The next step is making sure that you are their first choice for buying these products, which means you need to focus on customer retention.  We’ve talked about retention marketing before, and always come back to the same solution: loyalty programs.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X rewards programs

But how do you make sure that your program appeals to Generation X?  That’s a monumental market, with a lot of potential for repeat purchases and brand advocacy.  This may seem like an extremely onerous task, yet designing loyalty programs for Generation X is made simple when you keep the following advice in mind: play to their values.

What Gen. X Wants From a Loyalty Program

Baby Busters can be defined by a whole whack of values, however the following five are going to be the driving factors between their decisions to either buy or move on from your brand.

1. Time

Gen. X is busy.  Between their jobs and families, they are constantly on the move and anticipating how much time each errand is going to take.  With so much going on, Baby Busters are looking for solutions that are quick to learn and even faster to use, making it an integral consideration when developing your loyalty program.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X quick easy to use

Having an easy-to-find and easy-to-access loyalty program tab or page within your store with clear instructions will increase overall customer satisfaction while specifically targeting the needs of the Gen. X demographic.

You should also consider a loyalty explainer page. A well laid out explainer page will show your customers everything they need to know in a visual way. Baby Busters are short on time, so make sure you explain the essentials of your program in a way that is quick to digest.

2. Value

Another key value is, well, value. We already talked about how busy Gen. X is, and how this prompts them to look for immediate solutions.  The same principle must be applied to the rewards portion of your loyalty program, as Busters tend to focus on results and results-driven behavior.  Studies have shown that 88.6% of Gen. X joins arewards program to save money, with 71.2% joining to receive rewards.  This makes it clear that they are looking for and expect rewards that are easily measured and relatively easy to attain.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X joining reasons

A simple way to do this would be by rewarding your customers with a significant number of points for every dollar they spend in your store.  You can still require your members to collect a high volume of points before they’re able to cash it in, but the higher number of points awarded will help your customers feel like they are getting better value on every purchase they make.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X free shipping

Similarly, you could offer your customers free shipping  as a loyalty reward.  Some retailers require their customers to spend a certain dollar amount before this type of reward is made available, so by offering it as a reward available on every purchase you will set yourself and your brand apart.  These types of rewards conditions make value easy to see and measure for your Gen. X customers, with a significant payoff that will provide them with the incentive they need to continue doing business with you.

3. Independence

Choice is a powerful incentive, so use it!  As an independent generation, Gen. X highly values variety and being given the opportunity to choose between different options.  An easy way to do this is to provide multiple ways to earn and spend points within your loyalty program.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X multiple options

Many applications (like, I don’t know, give you oodles of options for setting up ways for your customers to earn and spend points, including (but not limited to) earning points by sharing on social media, spending a certain amount, or reviewing products online.  These points can then be redeemed for rewards like a percentage off their total order, a fixed amount coupon, or free shipping.  This method of personalization makes your customer feel acknowledged, appreciated, and valuable, endearing them to your brand.

4. Technical Literacy

Born between the scientific-technical and information technology revolutions, Baby Busters are no strangers to embracing technological change and are happy to do so.  In fact, a recent survey indicated that 60% of Gen. X-ers use their smartphone daily, and 56% would like to be rewarded for their activity on social media.  So give the people what they want!  Providing ways and reasons for your customers to engage with your products online will increase conversations around your brand and demonstrate that you appreciate these conversations.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X smartphones

It is also important that your store and loyalty program be optimized for different types of devices, as many Baby Busters are still accessing digital content from a desktop or laptop computer.  This all goes back to the importance of time well-spent: whether it’s the grocery store or pharmacy, everyone seems to think that reward cards are pieces of plastic that everyone wants to be carrying around and fiddling with during every transaction.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X points cards

I dare you to be bold, be different!  The reality is that many people – Gen. X included – see cards as just one more thing they have to carry and might lose, and they do not want to be fumbling for cards in the several minutes they have available to shop from your store. Providing an experience that allows them to simply click a button or have their rewards information pulled up online will be greatly appreciated, and will demonstrate a heightened understanding of your customers by directly catering to their needs and desires.

5. Practicality

Gen. X is notoriously cynical, and this might be the most important consideration when designing a rewards program for them.  As we talked about earlier, value is an incredibly important factor for Gen. X, and this preoccupation means they are going to be very skeptical of anything you as the retailer tell them about your product.

Designing Loyalty Programs for Generation X customer reviews

Not wanting to be a marketing target, Gen. X-ers do more purchase research than any other generation and tend to turn to customer reviews and testimonials.  They feel these reviews are written by voices they can trust, making it extremely important to reward your customers for reviewing your products and providing a summary of your product’s value and benefits to others.  Through this process, established customers will draw in new ones, and the circle of life for your brand will continue.

The Importance of Gen. X Customers

With huge buying power and the ability to influence others, Gen. X is incredibly crucial to bridging the gap between Baby Boomer and Millennial customers.  As Millennials’ parents, the brands Gen. X is loyal to could influence a whole new wave of consumers, meaning their happiness with your products is imperative to your continue growth and success.  Offering a loyalty program that provides convenience, immediate value, and customized rewards options will satisfy Generation X’s unique buying habits and help build a new fleet of brand influencers.

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