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According to the Census Bureau, people age 65 and older now makeup 12 percent of the population but account for more than 48percent of discretionary purchases. So how can you make your storesenior-friendly?

Candace Corlett, director of the 50+ Marketing DirectionsService at WSL Strategic Retail, a marketing consulting firm inNew York City, cautions entrepreneurs who might be consideringputting resting chairs in their stores or a cozy gray-haired couplein their ads. "We are in a new age of aging," she says."Marketers need to show people as they want to be seen, fullof vitality and reflecting their realisticaspirations."

It is true, however, that seniors have different preferences.They are more likely to view shopping as a social event and,therefore, are often better browsers than buyers. But they'realso more likely to buy when they get to interact with asalesperson of a similar age. In other words, hiring an18-year-old, gum-chewing cashier is probably not the way to go.Other tools that work for the senior crowd include clear, in-storesignage and accurate depictions of seniors in realistic settings inpoint-of-purchase materials.

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