Smashing the Stereotypes on Gender-Based Shopper Behavior
There are various commonly repeated urban myths. Take for instance the notion that males shop using caveman behavior and are considered “grab and go” shoppers who also “whine and wait” when shopping with females. Consider too the idea that females allegedly treat shopping like a hobby and wander without aim or focus.
Our survey results smash these urban myths.
First, let’s tackle the similarities between male and female shoppers.
Nearly the same number of male and female shoppers surveyed reported that they've purchased a product they hadn't heard of before as a result of a store associate’s recommendation (about 50 percent), thus emphasizing the importance for retailers of having store associates who are knowledgeable about the retailer’s products, and are willing and able to approach both male and female shoppers to offer recommendations. Retailers should train their store associates to avoid the common trap many make of only targeting shoppers of their same gender.
Another similarity discovered is that nearly four-fifths of male and female shoppers who downloaded a retailer’s app said that they used it while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Retailers would be wise to make sure that their app and stores are aligned, avoiding confusion for both male and female shoppers if they provide one kind of experience via the app but another totally different one in-store. Apps need to be branded like the in-store experience and have the same product set that can be found in-store.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the differences between the genders.
As an important side note, retailers and CPG brands need to realize that shopping differences are based on behavior, not biological differences, which is a common fallacy when considering gender-related factors. In other words, think of male and female shoppers as “groups” that happen to have shopping patterns that can differ from each other due to various preferences and styles considerations, rather than improperly attributing these differences to biological reasons.
Generally, the survey indicated that male shoppers try competing brands for products they like (i.e., have a propensity to comparison shop rather than picking only a particular product), and they read extensive product information before making a purchase decision. Meanwhile, more female shoppers report that they'll make impulse purchases and invite others to shop with them.
Interestingly, only about one-quarter of male shoppers indicated that they purchase products for their own use that were marketed toward females, while nearly half of female shoppers indicated they would purchase products for their own use that were marketed toward males. This finding can be significant for CPG brands in terms of how they design their product packaging and target their marketing efforts. Retailers should be careful to not alienate male or female shoppers by overly emphasizing a gender focus via in-store displays if the product is intended for anyone’s use.
Knowing the gender-related similarities and differences of shoppers can dramatically impact your bottom line. Smash the blind stereotyping and market accurately according to the needs of your customers!
Lance Eliot is the vice president of information technology at Interactions.
Dr. Lance B. Eliot, MBA, serves as Vice President of Information Technology at Interactions, a global leader in retail solutions and experiential marketing. Dr. Eliot has over 20 years of industry experience, especially in the retail and CPG marketplace, and has served as a Chief Information Officer (CIO), along with having founded, ran, and sold several high-tech related businesses.
Acknowledged as an outstanding innovator in the retail/CPG realm, Dr. Eliot was instrumental in Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products receiving the prestigious Innovation in Information Technology award from UCLA for the proprietary state-of-the-art merchandising system that he designed and fielded with Fox, and that also earned Fox a vaunted Wal-Mart Supplier-of-the-Year award. These systems ultimately enabled Fox to boost merchandising revenues by 100 percent in only two years. He was also crucial in the design of the Taco Bell self-serve kiosks, one of the first to provide such a capability for fast-food stores and which led to technological breakthroughs that other kiosk systems subsequently now rely upon.
Known for his thought leadership in many leading areas of business technology, including mobile technology and also Business Intelligence (BI), he previously hosted the popular radio show Technotrends that was also available on American Airlines flights via their in-flight audio program.
Author of three books and over 200 articles, he has made appearances on CNN, and has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences. A former professor at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), he founded and led an innovative research lab on Artificial Intelligence in Business. He was elected to the Board of the Southern California of the Academy of the Sciences (SCAS), and has served on the International Board of the Society for Information Management (SIM), a prestigious association of over 3,000 CIO’s/CTO’s worldwide.
He has performed extensive community service, including serving as Senior Science Adviser to the Vice Chair of the Congressional Committee on Science and Technology. He has served on the Board of the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF), where he is also has been a Grand Sweepstakes judge, and likewise served as a judge for the Intel International SEF. He served as the Vice Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Orange County Chapter, a prestigious association of computer scientists. And, he has been an advisor to start-ups via the USC Stevens Center for Innovation and also the LaunchPad incubator and accelerator.
Dr. Eliot holds a PhD from USC, MBA, and Bachelor's in Computer Science, and earned the CDP, CCP, CSP, CDE, and CISA certifications. Born and raised in Southern California, and having traveled and lived internationally, he enjoys scuba diving, surfing, and sailing.