Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Boys Vs Girls: Shopping Stereotypes

Posted by Kate Seat on 2/19/15 10:00 PM
Topics: college store customer service, college retail, eCommerce, sales strategies

Have you noticed a difference in the way your male customers shop in your store, versus the ladies? Are their behaviors really that dissimilar, or is this just another outdated myth waiting to be busted? It turns out that they aren't that different after all, and that the rising trend of online shopping may be responsible for blurring the gender lines. Find out more in the following excerpt from a post by Rieva Lesonsky for Small Business Trends.

It’s long been conventional wisdom — which seems borne out by every experience my friends and I have shopping with the men in our lives — that the men and women shop differently. Women enjoy shopping while men hate it, the convention says. Men care about speed, while women care about price. And men are big online shoppers, while women still like to go to brick-and-mortar stores.

Well, if you believe this view of Mars and Venus at the shopping mall, you need to check out The Myth of the Mansumer, a new study by The Future of Commerce that debunks some long-held myths. Yes, there are some differences, but not necessarily the ones you think. And getting the truth about male vs. female attitudes toward shopping can help your store compete.

The survey of more than 1,700 consumers says:

Online Shopping is Getting Better

More than one-third (34 percent) of both men and women report that online retailers’ customer service has improved in the past three years. Over 50 percent say they now shop online more often than they did even 12 months ago. And 49 percent say they buy from large online retailers more often than a year ago. If you sell books, movies or electronics, you’re in trouble. Because consumers of both sexes far prefer to buy those particular products online. But then, you probably already knew that.

New developments in online retail that are driving more customers online include next-day delivery, the growing number of e-commerce sites offering free shipping, and the influx of online subscription services like Birchbox that put some of the thrill of discovery into the online experience. In other words, online retailers are stiffer competition today than they’ve ever been. So brick-and-mortar retailers need to be on their toes.

What Men and Women Hate about Stores

In contrast to online shopping, just 13.2 percent of men and women say customer service in physical stores has gotten better in the last three years. Both men and women still shop in physical stores, of course, but they also share the same gripes about the experience:

  • 39 percent of both men and women say long lines at checkout are their biggest complaint about shopping in stores.
  • 21 percent say unhelpful salespeople are the worst.
  • 52 percent of men and women say they’re more likely to shop at stores where employees have tablets or mobile devices to speed checkout and look up information.

What Men and Women Hate about Online Shopping

Of course, there are still some negatives about online shopping, too. Both men and women are annoyed by these problems:

  • Slow delivery (22 percent)
  • Security worries (20 percent)
  • Retail websites that load slowly or are hard to navigate (16.7 percent)

Small Differences

There are a few differences in how men and women shop. Women are more likely than men to care about being able to buy products online and return them in-store. The study shows 66.7 percent of women vs. 50.5 percent of men care about this. If you do offer online sales, make sure your salespeople know how to handle in-store returns without slowing customers down.

Women are more influenced by social media in making purchasing decisions. That’s 20.3 percent of women vs 10.5 percent of men, the study says. However, that doesn’t mean men are rugged individuals. For example, 82 percent of both genders say they use online ratings and reviews to make product decisions.

In fact, while men are generally perceived as buying the first thing they see just to get out of the store, the study says men are actually more likely to do detailed research before they buy something. Some 32.1 percent of men spend 30 minutes or more on research, vs. 26.4 percent of women.


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