Technology can be both intimidating and expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to get the tech devices and services seniors need without breaking the bank. Plus, many devices and tools are easy to use, even if you’re new to such products. If you’re in an assisted living or rehab facility, the following tips can help you stay connected to loved ones regardless of the distance.
Look for Tablets and Laptops with Specific Features
While you can find tablets and devices with many advanced features, you can expect to pay more for some upgrades. The good news is that the features that seniors need most are among the most affordable. For example, all tablets have touch screen interfaces, which are especially useful for older adults, and many are compatible with keyboards, too.
Consider the following when shopping for a tablet:
Try Out Voice Assistants
Voice assistants are another technology service that is beneficial for seniors—and almost half of Americans are already using them, says Pew Research. From Apple’s Siri to Google Assistant to Amazon Alexa, all manners of voice assistants come built-in with a range of devices.
A voice assistant can make phone calls on your behalf, schedule reminders so you don’t forget appointments or medications, and answer questions about the weather forecast, news, and more. The key to choosing a voice assistant is compatibility with your smart home equipment and any existing devices.
For example, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant works with Amazon Kindle tablets and Echo devices. Apple’s Siri is available on iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers. Google Assistant is available on Google smartphones and through Google Home speakers and devices.
Don’t Forget About Discounts
No matter what type of device you want to buy, make sure to look for ways to save before you check out. Looking online for promotional codes, sales, and coupons from retailers like Best Buy and Walmart can help you get the best deal possible. If you shop at sites like Rakuten, you can find deals from stores with free gift offers so you can save even more.
Avoid Overspending on Cellular Data
Making a lot of phone calls—or even sending text messages or browsing the internet—can use up your cellular phone data plan. Making sure you have a good phone plan with enough data, text, and calling allowance can help you avoid overage charges. Plus, many companies offer discounted plans for seniors.
Use Free Calling Services
According to the Family Online Safety Institute, an organization dedicated to protecting people from risk and harm while using the internet, video calling is popular among all demographics, but seniors especially can benefit from connecting virtually with family and friends. But video chatting can use your cellular data, quickly running up your bill, unless you have a high enough minute allowance on your plan.
One great way to connect via video chat for free is by using apps. For example, Viber and WhatsApp are video calling and messaging services that let you chat with anyone for free. Both apps can use your Wi-Fi connection rather than using your smartphone’s data. Plus, you can use many video calling apps on tablets and computers, too.
Answer the Door Easily with Video Monitoring
From doorbells with built-in cameras to video surveillance inside and outside your home, technology can help you feel safer and make life easier, too. Doorbell video cameras allow seniors to answer the door without physically crossing the room or going downstairs. Many devices also allow two-way communication so that you can speak to delivery people or visitors without having to open the door.
Adapting to new technology can be intimidating at first, but the benefits of such tools are too great to ignore. For seniors who are working to maintain their independence and connectivity with friends and loved ones, all while sticking to their budget, there’s nothing like the right technological tools to help achieve your goals.
Photo via Pixabay
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
While some brands choose to sell their products on Amazon, others decide to buck the trend and chart their own course. Join Eric Bandholz, founder of men’s grooming company, Beardbrand, to hear how he bootstrapped his six-figure business with just a $30 investment in his ecommerce platform. He’ll share the marketing strategies that helped him scale his brand and discuss how embracing owned marketing helped him build a thriving business off Amazon.
Beardbrand took an investment of $8000, organic promotion, storytelling, backlash against an anti-masculine ethos and a compelling mission to "make men awesome," starting with grooming, and created an 8-figure revenue stream.
Because they had no money, they focused on what they did have: time for story-telling.
Initial buzz earned a successful spot on Shark Tank and best-to-date 2015 Christmas sales, but neither prevented the typical post-Christmas downturn and entrepreneurial fears of the end. In response, Beardbrand decided to insource their Amazon store presence but noticed that sales increased after Amazon store was removed.
Eric realized that Amazon, besides creating platform dependence, actually hurts business because customers will often research products on your website and then purchase via Amazon which steals trust and offers competing products.
From then on, Beardbrand has owned their own marketing and growth has never been better. He closed with a reminder that business is about prioritizing and solving a series of problems and that business only stops when you give up on problem-solving.
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
The 2010s were the golden era of paid advertising. But as platforms like Facebook and Instagram have matured, paid ads have become an increasingly expensive way to acquire customers. Reza Khadjavi, CEO of Shoelace, will share how retention, storytelling, and brand equity are becoming critical components of any marketing strategy.
Reza began by explaining "the paid marketing arbitrage of the 2010s." He said it was a philosophy that brands could cut out retailers as a middleman no longer necessary. There was a short window of time where brands (like Movement Watches which went from $0 to $90M in a few years) could scale phenomenally exclusively on Facebook or other performance-based platforms.
Then venture dollars pour money in, other companies jumped on the bandwagon and advertising costs rose steeply.
Daniel Gulati of Comcast Ventures expressed this by saying "CAC (Cost of Acquisition) is the new rent." Google and Facebook essentially became the new landlords replacing brick-and-mortars, but raising prices at least as much.
Customer Retention is more important than ever. The difference between 5% and 10% repeat business is expressed below.
Raz cited Lululemon and Outdoor Voices as brands who create strong community through messages that resonate deeply with their audiences and, therefore, inspire great loyalty.
CAC is rising, so while in 2010 the answer was to get on the paid-advertising train as it was leaving the station, the answer today is storytelling is the most cost-effective way to build brand equity. In addition, media and commerce must be aligned with an understanding of "linear commerce," the spectrum between ecosystem dependent (paid advertising) and ecosystem independent (storytelling) brands.
In this "brand-first" era, we can no longer devote most efforts to top-of-funnel exposure. When Facebook advertising was cheaper and less competitive, the answer was to expand reach as much as possible until customers bought. Then "retarget the heck out of them" with little thought given to how monotonous that was for consumers who have already visited the site.
Instead, we need to focus on the lower end of the funnel through retargeting customer journeys, like Rhone which tells different stories to influencers, suspects, prospects and returning customers.
VP, Research Director
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
We’re experiencing one of the most innovative eras in consumer history. This boom is driving opportunity for brands and buyers alike. And yet, Forrester research shows that the very facets making companies successful today are also causing their greatest challenges. Join Brigitte Majewski, Forrester Research director, as she reveals these paradoxes and offers a toolkit to reconcile them.
It's never been a better time to be a consumer, according to Brigitte, because so many Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) disruptors have emerged to address pain points in hundreds of industries. (Eg, customized insurance for freelancers or lunch delivery for employees of commercial spaces caught in restaurant voids. represent pain points DTC is aggressively addressing.)
In 2015, Forrester correctly predicted hyper-adoption would ensue, which means it's also a great time to be a DTC disruptor -- consumers will try you! However, Forrester also correctly predicted hyper-abandonment. This is the first of three central paradoxes of the Age of the Customer, which follows the Age of Manufacturing, the Age of Distribution and the Age of Information:
Paradox 1: Hyper-adoption leads to hyper-abandonment.
However, a third Forrester prediction in the same study was incorrect: that consumers would have less emotional attachment in the midst of hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment; the opposite is the case. Consumers are not just rapidly, but passionately adopting and rejecting brands, leading to two additional central paradoxes:
Paradox 2: Hyper-innovation leads to hyper-expectation.
Paradox 3: Hyper customer obsession leads to hyper consumer dissatisfaction.
How can you navigate these three paradoxes in the Age of the Consumer? The first step is to recognize that, while consumers still evaluate on price, quality, trust and convenience, the factors to evaluate quality and trust have now changed.
Because of this, it is more important than ever to balance short-term and long-term goals and resources. Collecting and using data is vital, but not at the expense of alienating customers who find you "creepy." Being available for customer queries is important at the top of the funnel, but not at the expense of follow-up after the purchase.
Brigitte closed by pointing out that many brands create an emotionally inconsistent experience by focusing all emotional delivery before the purchase, but not after. Instead, she recommends Chewy's approach which dedicates an entire "Wow Department" to customer correspondence. Another example is Delta Airlines, which provides all employees attached to a flight a customer manifest detailing loyalty and connection status of each passenger. If a passenger has a tight connection, all the employees can work together to make deplaning easier.
Erich Hellstrom - Digital Marketing Strategist, Chubbies,
Kevin Page - Sr. Manager Media Strategy and Measurement, Chubbies (@Chubbies)
Writing pithy, click-worthy, compelling email subject lines and content is no small feat. But for the team at Chubbies, crafting humor-filled content has proven to be the lifeblood of a successful email marketing strategy. Learn how Chubbies engages its subscribers with really weird subject lines and targets email sends to non-openers.
Chubbies started at Stanford by friends who visited Lake Tahoe, saw pictures of past generations wearing shorter shorts and felt that market could reemerge. It's expanded into 12 brick-and-mortar stores, wholesale sales and 160 employees.
The company's email efforts involve two dedicated email employees, including a stand-up comedian, plus two more floaters and companywide brainstorming over Slack. Humor is vital, so Chubbies recommends interviewing funny, charasmatic inhouse talent extensively and write down every idea for brainstorming sessions.
Best of for non-openers:
Erich and Kevin note that 9 out of 10 subject lines are trash, so relentless brainstorming is crucial. Assets are important, too, so photo shoots are conceived based on split tests and feedback. They involve two photographers and a video crew with emphasis on having media for all channels. Finally, Chubbies tests flows (subject lines, discounts vs no discounts) monthly.
Founder and CEO
Following working with ecommerce for AOL and having three children, Kara gained weight and found herself with unhealthy habits including an addition to diet soda. She launched the first fruit-flavored unsweetened water after realizing the health impact of adding fruit juice to water in her personal life.
When her first sale to Whole Foods led to reorders the very next day, she knew she was on to something big. Through connections she sold to Google, Starbucks (but lost the contract) and then Amazon. It is now the largest independent beverage company in the US with no relationship with Coke, Pepis or Dr. Pepper-Snapple
She drove growth through office environments where employers realized the benefit of healthier employees. However, she felt that she needed a direct relationship with end-users. Despite concerns regarding the wholesale business model now responsible for millions of dollars of sales, Kara launched a website and began email marketing through Klaviyo. These same tactics worked to launch Hint Sunscreen, made in a similar way and for the same reasons as the beverage.
From this experience, Kara completely rejects the idea that wholesale product companies can be removed from the consumer and can depend on third parties to host their platform (like Amazon). She regularly receives warm customer feedback expressing well wishes for her health and even asking for company growth advice, even though the conventional wisdom to grow a wholesale brand was to pay for expensive product placements in grocery chains which she avoided entirely.
Growing a business requires different strategies at different stages of your growth. But one thing that must remain consistent and high-quality as you evolve: your customer experience. Hear from Megan Whitman, chief digital officer of Kopari to hear about the different and changing ways this beauty brand has leveraged Klaviyo to increase revenue and boost customer satisfaction during the various growth stages of their business.
Despite packaging delays and a launch email misfire, Megan used Klaviyo to grow one of the first beauty supply ecommerce stores. When a Klaviyo survey revealed that customers wanted to try products in-store and a deal with Sephora was inked, Megan used Klaviyo to provide needed purchase statistics. She used Klaviyo as the firm's CRM and connected it to their customer service team so that agents could access campaign emails that inspired queries.
They also used Klaviyo to set up direct mail segments and track their success through Klaviyo.
After a very popular coconut deodorant, which at $14 was less than half the brand's average $30 price point, dropped average cart value significantly, Kopari initiated customer feedback queries. In fact, telephone queries are now constant.
Personalization has become Kopari's engine for growth, and Klaviyo is used to customize forms and web experiences (through UTM links).
Next steps include personalized content blocks, additional flows based on recency, frequency and spending habits and pushing data into other technology partners to align messaging.
Director of Sales
Magento, an Adobe company (@magento)
The online retail landscape is undergoing a metamorphosis as merchants explore a variety of emerging technology trends to try and stay ahead of ever-shifting buyer expectations of what defines a great online shopping experience. Join Jim Gillon, director of sales at Magento, an Adobe company, as he looks at how emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), personalization, advanced data insights, and more are enabling leading online merchants to stay ahead of the innovation curve and delight their customers with engaging experiences across their owned marketing channels.
Jim began by discussing the anticipated growth trends for ecommerce, comparing photos from his dining room table filled with received packages verses two lone shopping bags from less and less frequent mall trips. Then he moved onto statistics:
After discussing new ecommerce technologies, like virtualization and the progressive web, he warned that fifty percent of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared in the last twenty years, mostly because they failed to evolve their sales models to reflect shifting commerce models.
Trends to watch for, according to Jim, include redesigning the retail experience to support seamless omnichannel journeys. Eg, mobile traffic is now 60% of online traffic, and 32% of online purchases were picked up in-store in the last 30 days. Also, convenience and personalization are increasingly important with 80% of surveyed consumers wanting personal service in-store and online but only 52% of retailers score themselves as providing moderate or high personalization. Further, 40% of online retail will be transacted on marketplaces by 2020 and 25% received a subscription box in the last month (mostly millennials, ages 18-29).
Finally, data is driving ecommerce with 75% of businesses using AI in one or more commerce applications and 58% of retail leaders stating that analytics have significantly improved their competitive position.
Klaviyo offers more than just a way to communicate with your customers and prospects via email. Customers use Klaviyo in many unique and powerful ways to not only grow their businesses, but to also regain control over the customer experience. Hear about the power of Klaviyo from four customers, including up-and-coming brands and well-established businesses, and learn how they’re using it to build deeper relationships with their customers and grow sustainable, thriving businesses.
Moderator: Joe McCarthy, Director of Performance Marketing, Klaviyo (@JM1731)
Ilona Abramova, Head of Content, AppSumo (@AppSumo)
Rebecca Melsky, Co-founder & CEO, Princess Awesome (@princessawesome)
Patrick Coddou, Founder, Supply (@soundslikecanoe)
Emily Baird, Digital Marketing Manager, Nuun (@nuunhydration)
Each panelist described their experiences testing and segmenting through Klaviyo. For example, Patrick Coddou discussed adding a short two-question survey into a campaign that has allowed much better customization.
Rebecca Melsky uses Klaviyo to plan new-product launches by predicting spikes in advance. Ilona Abramova created a custom field that populates with how much money a recipient would have saved had they joined AppSumo Plus and received 10% off each purchase.
Emily Baird discussed Nuun's unique nature in that it doesn't seek to drive more than 5% of revenue through email sales, preferring instead to use email as a community generating tool and generate sales through partnerships. However, Nuun has been surprised by how much revenue campaigns have generated despite having no promotional links or sales verbiage.
Advice from these heavy-hitters includes being "less lazy" about developing creative promotions (from Patrick) , prioritize new ideas on a 1-5 scale of impact verses effort (from Ilona).
Head of Direct Marketing
Death Wish Coffee (@DeathWishCoffee)
What makes a really great newsletter? Death Wish Coffee will spill all the email beans. Learn how the brand used its data to realize its newsletter content had become stagnant, and how the team used data to uncover an opportunity to grow customer loyalty and increase campaign revenue—all while flexing their creative muscle.
Will presented a case study on how upgrading newsletter content grew his brand, noting how competitive coffee markets are considering that it is the third most consumed beverage after tea and water, respectively.
Will's first task was to determine the goal of clickshare, or the estimated share of all achievable clicks that a campaign has received. After a lot of thought and discussion, the brand settled on clickshare as a reliable metric of content utility, moreso than open rate or click rate. The first step was to remove sales pitches from the newsletter, The Scoop into a differentiated Thursday Sales Email (which still gets a 34% open rate).
For The Scoop, Will compared the content goals of his audience (interests and value) with those of Death Wish (products and brand) and tries to balance across both. By reducing the number of articles, emphasizing video, personifying the brand, communicating in a natural, casual way and creating a simpler, cleaner brand presentation, Will's revised email newsletter raised clickshare to 76%. This met the company's predetermined goal and raised sales significantly.
Death Wish Coffee realized that sticky content needed formal planning. So, to resist the time-constrained temptation to "throw something together," the company now generates content in regular two-hour "Scoop Sessions" in which the first hour is devoted exclusively to brainstorming and the second hour is used to determine milestones, deadlines and logistics.
One recent session on Best Friend Day developed the idea of coffee being the customer's best friend. This eventually led to a series of humorous videos with one employee dressed in a "coffee" shirt and accompanying another to get ice cream, play catch, etc.
Will also plants "easter eggs" (usually the word "egg" in white text) that is not promoted on social media or elsewhere. The first five clicks to an exclusive landing page win unadvertised premiums that involve significant value (e.g., $60 cooler). This generates substantial social proof and enables Death Wish to test new products.
The non-promotional nature of the newsletter is underscored by the fact that it contains zero product links. The result of 11 weekly newsletters to date have resulted in a substantial newsletter list increase to 101K with an average open rate of 43% and rising brand popularity.
Will has been working to send The Scoop out at 8AM to generate office-worker buzz among workers looking for a brief escape from the "daily grind."
Tom McClintock is the owner and founder of Relationship Martech.