Dr. Hong Yu: Improving the Shopping Experience for Older Adults

Hong Yu
Photo by Mark Blinch

Dr. Hong Yu
Director and Associate Professor
Ted Rogers School of Retail Management 

Picture a group of friends spending the day shopping at a mall, visiting their favourite stores. Imagine that same group shopping online or through a mobile app. In your mind, how old is the group? If you immediately pictured a group of teenagers or young adults, your imagination aligns with the typical vision of most researchers.

Dr. Hong Yu is taking a different approach. While most consumer studies have been heavily focused on Generation Y and Generation Z, Dr. Yu is focusing her research on baby boomers, to gain insights on the mature shopping segment and promote a sensible vision for future changes among retail practitioners.

How do cognitive age and other psychographic factors like innovativeness, time pressure, and price consciousness affect older Canadian shoppers’ attitudes toward and participation in an omni-channel commerce environment? What are the perceived cost and benefits of omni-channel shopping options from the older Canadian consumers’ perspective? And how do inclusive product, process, and distribution channel designs contribute to the older Canadian consumers’ satisfaction with their shopping experience?

Dr. Yu’s research creates knowledge that could contribute to strategic development of Canadian retail innovations and management. Further, it will help older Canadian consumers better participate in the ever-changing commerce activities and therefore improve their engagement in the society, which is a measure of quality of life. “To me, this is meaningful research because of its potential to make a difference,” says Dr. Yu. “It not only contributes to new discoveries but also provides implications for practice.” Dr. Yu’s research also aims to help improve the experience for older shoppers, to allow business to better serve their diverse needs.

This research profile originally appeared in Think, Act, Connect: Ted Rogers School of Management Research Report 2015. To read the full report, visit Research at the Ted Rogers School of Management.