Out of the many aspects that can influence a customer’s decision-making behaviour, gender remains one of the key factors. Men and women approach shopping with different motives, perspectives and considerations. Recognising gender-specific tendencies (not stereotypes!) is important for any business, but nowhere is it more prudent than in fashion.
There is ample scientific research which shows that there are big differences in how men and women shop, but the challenge is to know how to apply these findings to online shopping. Our work with both top men’s brands such as Ben Sherman and Moss Bros, alongside our work with women’s brands such as Roman Originals and Yours, has given us a unique insight into how gender differences influence purchase decisions.
Firstly, there is a basic truth about designing and building a successful ecommerce site, no matter what gender your audience is. You need to create a visually enticing site that is fast and responsive, moving the shopper seamlessly through the entire process.
Speed of response becomes even more important when your main target audience will be men. Studies have shown that women to use both sides of their brains to solve problems, while men predominantly use the left side of their brains – responsible for performing processing facts and logical thinking. In the context of shopping, this means that women are discovery-oriented shoppers, regularly browsing for ideas and inspiration whilst men tend to be highly task-oriented shoppers. Offer men clear, utilitarian focussed images and all the key facts and data up front. Men want instant gratification, so a next day delivery option is also essential. No fuss please!
Service or product? For men, good service means helping them find the right item and helping them get through checkout quickly, and get their shopping to them quickly. Added value and the user experience is more important to women. Men are also much more brand loyal than women. When they find a product that works, they stick to it. So, the message is, focus on showcasing your products in the best possible light.
Our talented developers spend a great deal of time constantly researching the latest web technologies in order to make the ecommerce functionality from Remarkable.net be as fast as possible on every device that customers use to browse and shop on our websites. Our client sites perform at best-in-class speeds and equal or better many of the biggest name retailers online, this performance then pays in dividends when it comes to online sales growth. However personalisation and speed of that individual tailored response to each customer also makes a big difference.
In an industry where personalisation is becoming more and more prevalent, businesses simply have to know their audience better than ever before. Know who is buying from you. Their gender and ideally age and lifestyle information too. Over the last 20 years we have distilled our experience into our unique Remarkable.net e-commerce technology, a part of which is our customer intelligence engine and single customer view reporting suite. This information helps our clients to target much more specifically. For example, you may be selling products for a male end user, but your shoppers may be women, buying for men. Our approach for a client such as Simon Carter, accessory where gift purchase by women is high, was tailored to keep this in mind.
To attract new users or entice current users more regularly, your marketing approach also needs to be more specifically targeted. When marketing to women you need to build a personal relationship, but when marketing to men, you should highlight the advantages and benefits of your products above anything else. Convince them that they need your product and why. What benefits will this product offer them?
The fashion industry was first to recognise and respond to men and women shopping differently. By considering the distinctive differences between male and female online shoppers, you will be able to effectively enhance customer engagement, conversion, and loyalty. However, remember that people are unique and although there may be gender-specific tendencies, they all want to be treated as unique individuals. Try to understand your individual shopper’s motives and expectations to give them the experience they demand.
Mark West is the CEO of REMARKABLE.NET