Monday, September 28, 2015

The way men and women shop

There are countless jibes that are directed at women about shopping and their fondness for the same. However, it is a reality which is not well known that there are validated reasons for the differences in shopping behavior between men and women.

This cartoon of Calvin & Hobbes is an interesting depiction of how men get confounded by choice which would not be the case if a woman were shopping.

There are two fundamental differences between men and women which defines their orientation towards shopping and why they differ from each other.

Women are supposedly much better at multi tasking and anyone who has taken a ride with their mother would know that it would be a fun ride where the woman would not mind having loud music being played while she chats and also drives. This would be a direct contrast to a ride with a male who would prefer minimal distractions when driving and absolute quiet might be a de-facto requirement when navigating heavy traffic.

Women are supposed to have a wider peripheral vision. This essentially means that women can take in more visual stimuli as compared to men. Men have a stronger straight-on vision supposedly a hangover from the hunter-gatherer days. This means that men prefer a single target to zoom into and complete the task.

This obviously has significant implications for any retailer. The store and all the various elements inside in terms of design, display, etc has to be different, depending on whether the focus of that store is on women shoppers or men.

As the cartoon shows, men shoppers should ideally be presented with a simple design, easy to choose display and a quick shopping experience. The direct opposite is required if a retailer is targeting women shoppers.

That is not all, even the service and interaction levels would have to be tailored and structured differently for men and women as women are more socially inclined and actually welcome interactions. On the other hand, men are far more functional and their expectations are for functional service.

Cartoon courtesy - The Hindu Metroplus