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Women: The Shopping Magnates

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Different consumer and buying preferences are clearly reflected in the diverse generations of the Millennials and Baby Boomers.

But while retailers assimilate data and information to determine how best to market to these distinct groups, there are other factors at play that are even more basic: how retailers and brands market to men and women.

An article by Bridget Brennan in Forbes suggests that because women throughout the ages have been primary caregivers, they make purchases on behalf of everyone in their lives, whether it be their children, husbands, bosses, in-laws, or their businesses.

And because women are so multi-task oriented, brands and retailers need to view women as multiple markets in one, since they are the “gateway to everyone else.” When a woman experiences great service, she’ll probably tell other people about it and the multiplier effect begins. So optimizing sales and marketing efforts is important for retailers, if they want to garner women’s buying power.

Men are very task- and mission-oriented. They know what they need and want, and they usually make the effort to get in and out of the store quickly.

Women often like to experience things, take their time, touch and feel things, and ask questions of sales associates. When not pressed for time, women tend to treat shopping more as an outing and adventure.

A study done by the Verde Group of over 1,200 men and women aged 16 to 60 indicated that one of women’s biggest concerns was not being able to find sales help, and that  negatively affected their view of the store to the point where they would not return. Being ignored was a huge issue for women, though both men and women appreciated when they could shop at their own pace without pressure from sales people.

Men’s biggest gripes were ease of parking, whether something was in stock or not, and that the item in question was indeed located where a sales clerk said it was.

Marketing firm Interactions recently released its report, “The Power of Persuasion,” which talks about the latest retail trends. The results show that 91 percent of women surveyed conduct online research prior to making a purchase, and 92 percent are willing to pay more for competing products that receive positive online reviews. 30 percent of women use a mobile device to conduct research and 37 percent of mobile users say they conduct research during their shopping.

Surprisingly, most women prefer retailer’s websites to determine whether or not to purchase a product (vs. reviews on social media).

The report also shows that 80 percent are influenced to purchase a product after seeing positive reviews, and 67 percent say they are less likely to purchase a product they were considering after reading negative online reviews.

Some marketing studies suggest that men are more product-focused and women are more brand-conscious.

At the store level, making an emotional connection with women is key in winning the brick-and-mortar battle. Functional selling can fall flat. Having a gender-balanced sales team strategically positioned can really help better identify communication nuances that can make women say “this placed really ‘gets me.’”

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, omni-channel,
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