Gender vital in online shopping
Men and women are different, so the old song says – in how they shop in store and online as well as how they play sport and workout.
Reports Dr. Regina Henkel, in ISPO News, studies show the widely-accepted clichés are true.
Women tend to love shopping and to see it as a free-time activity. They are more likely to make impulse buys and take advantage of offers.
Men mostly buy just what they need – they go with a clear idea of what they are looking for, and try to spend as little time as possible.
A recent GfK study showed that women also spend more time shopping online. “The process of making buying decisions is longer for women and has more stages,” explained Diana Versteege, who together with her agency Shecommerce specialises in studying the different e-commerce buying habits of men and women.
“The long process of deliberation before they click the ‘Buy’ button is very important to women,” she says.
If you were to depict behaviour on a graph, for men it would be linear, while for women it would go in steps, Henkel reports.
What happens in this deliberation process? “Women appreciate it when they can get inspired, when they can browse through different products,” Versteege continues. The layout of a shop should therefore be arranged emotively, not rationally.
For example, images of just the clothes themselves won’t do. Women always want to see models wearing the clothes – if possible, with a 360° view, and with a video too – so that they can get a better idea of the product.
As decision criteria, they tend to look for more attention from the retailer, a more personal approach, and an interactive shopping experience.
However, Henkel reports for ISPO News, reviews, customer opinions and recommendations are more important for men.
Social media sites are also important sources of inspiration – and they are becoming increasingly important as purchasing triggers. Most important in this are Facebook, blogs und Instagram. “The influence of fashion bloggers and widely-followed Instagram accounts is always increasing.
It then makes sense that women like shopping in a relaxed atmosphere, at home on the couch, using a smartphone. This has been established by a new study from ECC Köln and HSE24.
More than three quarters of those questioned make clothing purchases from home and especially do it while the TV is on. Some 54 per cent of the interviewees revealed that they enjoy searching for new clothes on their phone while watching TV. It’s no surprise that people are led more by emotions than facts in these surroundings.
Men love being able to use information, facts and figures to make quick decisions. However, the GfK study has shown that men are easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of products available on the internet. That is one reason why they are particularly receptive to offers like curated shopping (personal style advice).
Another result of the study is that women are more annoyed by high delivery costs than men. Almost half of the interviewees gave this as the reason for shopping in physical stores.
Something else that is not surprising is that e-commerce is a man’s world: Those who design shops and are part of the decision-making committees are mostly men, so it’s not surprising that many stores are still designed very technically, putting the focus purely on product sales, Henkel reports from Germany.
But watch out: As clear as the differences are, they need to be interpreted with care. Customers’ purchasing behaviour is now more multifaceted than ever before. Ultimately, it’s a matter of knowing individual target groups and making conclusions from these.
Those who stay up to date with fashion will know that the young generation of consumers in particular does not confirm the old clichés so clearly. Set ideas of what is masculine and what is feminine are not as important to Generation Z.
For example, writes Henkel, Facebook has more than 50 gender options for users to choose from. Fashion labels work more and more with transgender models, with fashion shows as joint events for men’s and women’s fashions.
For a long time, this would have been unthinkable.
Current trends point to both genders moving towards the middle – men are become more feminine, and women more masculine, Henkel predicts.
• Pictured: Understanding how this group shops online and in store is vital in maximising retailer opportunities.