There are widespread, persistent stereotypes regarding the buying habits of men, and shopping is not exactly considered to be their forte. It’s not hard to find counterexamples to this claim: some women despise shopping as well, not all men hate to shop, and most of them are usually pleased with the items they end up purchasing. I too have experienced the typical “male shopper stereotype” first-hand with my father: whenever we would go to the mall to purchase items for myself, he would seat on a bench, check his phone, and eagerly wait for my approval to leave the store… talk about a shopping buddy! While some men aren’t too keen on shopping for others, most of them are usually far more patient when it comes to shopping for themselves, and they’re more than willing to spend. Recent research from Statista found that retail sales in the menswear industry are expected to generate $74.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, a 15 percent increase compared to 2014. So, what do male shoppers really want? This article debunks four common myths about the “mansumer”.
Myth: The customer experience doesn’t matter as much to men
Fact: Men expect a seamless experience across all channels
Men value superior customer service, including the ones who aren’t avid shoppers. They expect a frictionless experience across all channels, and a little bump on the road is sure to make them cringe. In short, shopping must be easy. In fact, many men get just as impatient as women if they wait in line for too long or if a page doesn’t load quickly enough. Unified commerce capabilities are no longer a nice to have: they’ve become an absolute must-have for retailers. What’s more, men reported spending 28 percent more online than women over the last year according to a new Big Commerce study. A full-featured e-commerce platform is thus essential to meet the expectations of today’s increasingly demanding online male shoppers.
Myth: Men avoid store associates at all costs
Fact: Men highly value knowledgeable associates
Most retail giants constantly receive plaudits for their outstanding customer experience, and small to mid-size retailers may find it hard to keep up with them. To make it worse, male shoppers have become product experts over the last few years. According to Nielsen, 32.1 percent of men actually spend more than 30 minutes researching products before purchasing, while only 20.3 percent of women do. Luckily for smaller retailers hoping to supercharge the customer experience, customer engagement solutions can help them transform average store associates into sales experts. Using clienteling tools, store associates can provide relevant information to male shoppers and assist them at any given time. Unlike women, men might not be willing to spend endless hours in a store: they want to cut to the chase, and knowledgeable store associates can help create a smooth checkout process.
Myth: Men won’t really notice or care if you run out of stock; they’ll just pick something else
Fact: Men get just as annoyed as women over poor inventory management
Male consumers expect a convenient shopping experience, and they certainly won’t appreciate any mishaps. While running out of stock may occasionally happen, avoiding the unpleasant situation altogether is always wiser. Selecting the right demand management solutions enables retailers to anticipate the needs of their customers before they run out of stock. In the event that items do run out of stock, enabling the endless aisle with an omni-channel order management system is another wise move. Online retailers can also set up workflows to alert male shoppers by email when an item they want comes back in stock.
Myth: Men don’t even bother reading marketing messages
Fact: Tailor-made messages are well-received among men
Customer segmentation is essential to get the right marketing message to the right customer. Male shoppers’ preferences greatly vary with age. For instance, a study from Nielsen found that “slapstick, edgy and sarcastic humor in advertising (resonated) with Millennial males” while older male consumers preferred a more formal, less personal approach, as they were concerned about their personal information getting stolen. Older consumers can still be reached, but retailers should give them the opportunity to pick between their favorite channels. For example, an older male may prefer human contact over mass marketing, so sales associates should always keep track of their customer preferences in their clienteling solution.