The Supply Side: Study examines gender gap in shopper preferences

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 289 views 

While men and women often have similar shopping behaviors there are a few key differences, according to a recent report by Euclid Analytics. The study also found 90% of retail shoppers use smartphones in stores, which illustrated a significant role technology can play in the brick and mortar shopping experience.

The study asked male and female respondents to provide details about how they use their mobile phone to shop. The study found women use mobile devices more than men while shopping and females also use them differently.

Women in the survey consider in-store shopping a social, interactive activity, whereas the men shoppers are more inclined to go in, get what they want and leave. The survey found women (57%) are more likely than men (47%) to call, text or email someone while they are shopping. One key difference is that women were much more likely to check email promotions (41%) than their male cohorts (29%). Men also take fewer photos of products in stores (30%) compared to 42% of their female shopper cohorts. Nearly 40% of the female shoppers said they sometimes seek advice of their friends and family regarding potential purchases, compared to about 24% of men.

Euclid found men tend to shop in a “get in and out” mindset. Men use their smartphones in stores less than women do with one exception — Google, the report states. Men (41%) are slightly more apt to do online research in the store than women (37%).

The Euclid survey suggests retailers can better use technology to more effectively attract, keep and motivate customers. The survey also looks at how shoppers might react to stores that replace sales clerks with technology. The study said more technology is not exactly what shoppers want. More than half of the respondents (65% of females and 55% of males) said they shopped in stores because they can try on clothes and get personalized recommendations. Also, 40% of each gender cohort said they appreciate in-store-only promotions.

The respondents said they are open to enhancing their in-store experience through smartphone engagement. The preferred way respondents want to incorporate smartphones into their store experiences are through deal alerts (40% of men and 47% of women). About one-third of male and female respondents said they also use the smartphone to save product information to use later.

“In short, many shoppers indicate they want to use their smartphones to learn more about products and incentives. This is a consistent theme in the survey responses, one that successful retailers will take to heart,” the study noted.

Since men and women value the help knowledgeable sales employees can provide, the research noted their biggest pet peeve comes from a lack of that assistance. Men (73%) and women (65%) are likely to interact with a sales clerk at least occasionally.

Shoppers are also motivated to visit stores by convenience and the expected personalized experience. About 60% of each gender group wants a convenient location, and about a third of them would like the opportunity to grab a bite to eat and rest while shopping. Researchers said this suggests retail stores could benefit from offering refreshments and a lounge area. Interestingly, respondents did not suggest that anything technology-related would encourage them to visit the store.

“In spite of recent headlines, it does not appear that salespeople are disappearing from stores. Half the men in the survey and 40% of the women want to interface with people when they are shopping,” the study noted.

Survey respondents uniformly said they were not interested in visiting stores that do not have sales people (such as Amazon Go). Some people said they might visit such a store out of curiosity, but not regularly.

Euclid said its research suggests retailers can further differentiate themselves by going back to the basics and use technology to enhance, not replace the human connections.

Researchers said retailers should recognize consumers (especially male shoppers) are visiting physical stores for the expert advice of sales clerks. The analytics firm suggests retailers leverage smartphone technology to allow shoppers to quickly and easily connect with store workers.

Because female shoppers like to reap in-store rewards, Euclid suggests retailers explore unique, mobile-centric incentives that can be used to surprise and delight in-store shoppers.

“Brick-and-mortar stores offer shoppers something they cannot get online—the chance to experience merchandise firsthand, and to get personalized attention from sales associates. Successful retailers will use smartphone technology to enhance these advantages, giving them and their customers the best of both worlds,” the report concluded.

Talk Business & Politics asked Fayetteville-based Field Agent to share insights on gender shopping differences gleaned with its research. Field Agent marketing manager Chris Medenwald said earlier this year the company did a large screening of 18,692 agents, roughly one-third of them were men.

In the survey the genders were more alike than different when it came to online shopping preferences.

Medenwald said men slightly outpaced women in the following areas: Wanting same-day delivery; Online orders via laptop or desktop; Ordering ready-to-eat foods via a smartphone app; Using a personal assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home to make a purchase; and Ordering more electronics online.

Field Agent also recently surveyed 720 females and 284 males about their grocery shopping behaviors. The premise of the survey was to get their reaction to the following statement: “I want retailers to develop alternatives to traditional, in-store grocery shopping.”

Medenwald said 67% of men agreed with the statement, compared to 61% of females. In this case it looks as if retailers are being expected to deliver alternative grocery shopping opportunities to appease a majority of consumers.

Field Agent also asked the respondents about grocery shopping online. Just under 30% of males said they make at least some grocery purchases online, slightly higher than 26% of females. Still 42% of men and 48% of women respondents said they don’t really purchase groceries online, but they are open to it.

In June, Field Agent surveyed 4,450 females and 1,856 males about the retailers from which they had made online purchases. Following were the responses:
• women 90%; men 91%
• women 17%; men 25%
• women 10%; men 11%
• women 56%; men 44%
• women 73%; men 66%
Editor’s note: The Supply Side section of Talk Business & Politics focuses on the companies, organizations, issues and individuals engaged in providing products and services to retailers. The Supply Side is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by Propak Logistics.

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