Is 'Male Shopper' an Oxymoron?
Women still make the majority of buying decisions
Theres a secret to effective marketing and Faith Popcorn spells it W-O-M-E-N. While she doesnt exactly dismiss the importance of the other gender you know, men author/futurist Popcorn pointedly notes the vast majority of purchasing decisions are made or critically influenced by women.
So one might wonder why anyone markets to men.
Men and women are biologically and shopologically different, Popcorn told retailers at the recent GlobalShop store fixturing show in Chicago, IL.
How so? Popcorn the popularizer of the early 90s cocooning trend listed eight ways:
- Women dont buy brands, they join them. Women think relationally, so offer them an opportunity to connect with others through your brand. Examples: iVillage.com and Oprahs Book Club.
Tip: Form collectors clubs to tie into this trend.
- Women are skilled multitaskers. Merchants who market to just one of her roles employee, wife, mother are missing the others.
Tip: Stress the versatility of many jewelry pieces for example, how they can travel from office to soccer to late-night dinners.
- If she has to ask, its too late.
Tip: Its been said before but its worth repeating: Jewelers should make prices on all jewelry visible. Its what women want. Honest.
- Market to her peripheral vision. Women dont like a direct pitch; they prefer to discover things.
Tip: When a woman is just looking, offer to clean her jewelry and point out that worn prong. Or ask her whether she knows her pretty tanzanite is produced in only one country in the world.
- Walk, run, go to her and secure her loyalty forever. As in romance, women like to be wooed, but this doesnt mean they want a hard sell. Ask your customers, Are you happy? and I guarantee you will double your sales, said Popcorn.
Tip: Go out of your way to tailor your jewelry to her. Find out whats driving her to buy, then meet her every whim. Pamper her, especially if its a reward or spirits-lifter gift.
- This generation of women shoppers will lead you to the next. Again, women think relationally. They will shop where their mothers shopped.
Tip: Remind her the jewelry shes buying is an heirloom she can eventually pass on to a daughter, a favorite niece or a sons wife. Learn about her family, and suggest gifts for rites of passage, such as religious events or births.
- Women care about brands so solicit their input.
Tip: Ask a select group of good customers to try out new jewelry youve just bought. Or when a prospective customer stops in, ask her opinion about jewelry in the news. Actresses are wearing huge hoops these days; would your customer like to see the store carry more big hoops?
- Everything matters; you cant hide behind your logo. Nike, for example, once hid damaging information about its manufacturing practices. Now its forthcoming.
Tip: Face up to the bad news coming out of Africa about the sale of diamonds to finance conflict. Tell customers you personally are avoiding buying conflict diamonds.
And if you think you have gender differences down to an art, be careful, says Popcorn, a 50ish Baby Boomer who recently adopted a 2-year-old and, thus, gets junk mail from baby gear and retirement home companies. Dont generalize your customer, she said. Never forget this is a person.
by Mark E. Dixon