Perhaps to no one’s surprise, women and men approach some aspects of shopping differently. Our recent research uncovers some important distinctions between the two genders that would be useful for retailers as they develop marketing strategies to reach these different demographics.
Here’s what 1,500 consumers told us — plus three tips on how retailers should think about adjusting their approach to each group.
1. Women seek community input.Women rely on mobile technology to inform their in-store experiences. They out-text men by 10 percent and are 12 percent more likely to use their mobile phone cameras to snap pics of merchandise in-store. Thirty-seven percent of women are actively communicating with family and friends about what to buy, suggesting a crowdsourcing element that’s useful to keep in mind.
Pro tip: Develop appealing in-store promotions and special benefits using mobile technology. Think creatively about incorporating elements like well-lit, visually attractive “selfie stations” or contextual, social media tie-ins like Snapchat geofilters that facilitate this valued online engagement with friends and families.
2. That personal touch matters to women. Overwhelmingly, female respondents confirmed that personal interactions are the dominant driver of their in-store visits. Sixty-five percent of women — as opposed to just 55 percent of men — valued the opportunity to get recommendations tailored just for them as well as the opportunity to easily try on clothes.
Pro tip: Beefing up the presence of knowledgeable and friendly store associates may help reinforce the value of repeat visits to female customers. A focus on building long-term relationships by being helpful is always preferable to pushing the shortsighted quick sale.
3. Men are more dependent on in-store interactions. Most men view in-store shopping as a surgical strike: get in, get out. And they see store staff as the conduit to speed. After all, if you can tell a smart sales associate what you need, he or she can quickly locate it for you, you can make a decision, and move on. Nearly three-quarters of the men we surveyed always or frequently interacted with sales associates. What’s more, almost a third of men, in contrast to 23 percent of women, cited an unresponsive associate as their biggest pet peeve.
Pro tip: Associates should have an expert handle on where merchandise is located in the store, facilitating speed, but also be able to talk about it like product experts (vs. just salespeople). It sounds obvious, but so few retail organizations do it well that this can become a differentiator for your brand.
4. Men and women are united in their lack of enthusiasm for stores like Amazon Go. New store setups like Amazon Go, powered entirely by technology, sound like the wave of the future. However, at least for now, both male and female respondents were underwhelmed by the prospect of no human interaction. Less than half of each group expressed interest in visiting a purely technology-powered store. Even then, they would go only once, purely for the novelty of it and not by necessity or desire. They also reinforced a key point: human interaction, even in the buying experience, is meaningful. Fifty percent of men and 40 percent of women indicated they like human interaction in brick-and-mortar locations. Furthermore, about a third of women weren’t comfortable with the notion that human jobs were eliminated in favor of technology.
What do you think retailers should do to differentiate in-store?
Brent Franson is the CEO of Euclid Analytics, a provider of insights and attribution for the physical retail world.
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