The Differences Between Male and Female Purchase Behavior



Shoppers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. While all of them will demand high-quality products at a fair price, you can make some very educated guesses about what certain segments of the population will want based on their differences. Of all the things that separate people, gender can prove to be the most thought-provoking when it comes to what people look for and want in their shopping experience. If you can learn how to capitalize on these differences, you might very well see an uptick in your sales.

Female Purchase Behavior & How to Cater to Female Shoppers

Although it is wise not to fall into the trap of stereotyping people purely on the basis of gender, female shoppers do exhibit some behaviors that will probably not surprise you since they fit into many of the long-held suppositions about women. For one thing, they are motivated by “gut feelings” and emotional responses when they buy products. When it comes to marketing strategies, women tend to be attracted to brands that carry with them compelling human interest stories. Therefore, if an item you want to promote has a compelling back story, make sure you let it be known. For instance, train your staff to chat with customers so that they can communicate tidbits about what you are selling: who invented it, where the idea for the product came from, etc. Women of all ages will respond to a website or physical store that is warm and unique and draws them in emotionally.

Zappos integrates this type of motivation by creating different landing page for female vs. male buyers. The female landing page is more focused on emotion whereas the male landing page is more functional, focusing on easily navigating to categories:

Zappos catalog

(image source: https://www.guided-selling.org/women-vs-men-gender-differences-in-purchase-decision-making/)

Female shoppers are drawn to the experience of buying. That means they love to browse the aisles, comparing one product to another and looking for bargains. When it comes to clothing, they tend to try on far more than they end up buying – primarily for the pleasure they take in experimenting with different looks and items. If you want to cater to this demographic, make the most of this by optimizing their in-store experience. That means catchy product displays, demonstrations, sales and promotions, samples, and deep discount bins and racks. If possible, make their time in your shop as social as possible by having meet-and-greets with product reps, wine and cheese receptions, sidewalk sales, and child-friendly events. Don’t forget to use social media not only to publicize special occasions but also to highlight product reviews, customer testimonials, and fun or informational photos that will all serve to draw customers in even further.

Female shoppers make careful decisions about what they buy, but the background details figure highly into their final purchases. If they believe that what they are buying is infused with humanity, and particularly if the service that backs the item is stellar, you can expect to make the sale.

The importance of the personal touch cannot be over-emphasized with this demographic. If they feel genuinely cared about and respected, they will respond with long-lasting loyalty and will spread the word about your store to their friends. On the other hand, they will be slow to forget a slight or a lapse in good customer service. As a merchant, it is incumbent upon you to be friendly, clear and proactive if concerns should arise. In the vast majority of cases, it is best to allow the customer to win even if you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are right.

Male Purchase Behavior & How to Cater to Male Shoppers

By contrast, men are motivated by the practical desire to complete the task of acquiring the precise list of products they had originally decided to buy. Let’s face it, many men run on logic and reason. They don’t want to spend tons of time going from aisle to aisle and browsing through every item on the shelf. They want to get what they came for and leave. If your goal is to encourage them to expand their horizons and purchase additional things, it is your job to convince them that there is a solid, logical reason to deviate from the initial plan. Remember, if your sales pitch gets too gimmicky or complex, you will probably lose the typical male buyer. Keeping it simple, fast, streamlined, and straightforward is your best marketing strategy.

Whereas females respond to emotional approaches, men want facts and figures. Explain why Product A will perform better than Product B, why it is a smarter deal or why it will last longer and reduce the chances of needing to make a repeat purchase. Because men are data-driven, they love to hear what other shoppers like them have to say about a product. Having reviews and testimonials handy for these shoppers can often help to complete a sale.

Asos uses this approach in the landing pages they’ve created for their male vs. female Halloween campaign. The male landing page is more straight forward focusing on just the products whereas the female landing page creates an emotional shopping experience with how those products will look when worn and the type of lifestyle that they are promoting.

Asos catalog

(image source: https://www.guided-selling.org/women-vs-men-gender-differences-in-purchase-decision-making/)

While women will gravitate more toward integrity and good customer service, their male counterparts are highly loyal to their preferred brand. If they have bought a particular make of jeans or type of tool for the past 20 years, your chances of convincing them to switch to another vendor are slim. Whenever possible, cater to your male shopper’s brand loyalty by providing exactly what he wants. He is much more likely to be convinced by that than by any fancy customer service techniques you might have learned about at a recent chamber of commerce meeting.

If your store is designed mostly to meet the needs and preferences of male shoppers, set it up accordingly. Make products easy to find. Sort them logically not only by usage but by brand. Train your sales associates to be very task-oriented with these customers. Of course, they should have information such as product specs and customer reviews handy, but they should be ready for a fast, focused sale. Doing everything you can to  minimize long lines at the checkout counter and to streamline your payment processes  will also go a long way to pleasing the restless, goal-directed male shopper.

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The Differences Between Male and Female Purchase Behavior – An infographic by the team at Total Merchant Services