Men Don’t Shop – They Buy

There was a great movie that came out in 1979 called “Starting Over.”

Cover of "Starting Over"

Cover of Starting Over

It starred Burt Reynolds as a newly divorced man and featured Oscar-nominated performances by Candice Bergen and Jill Clayburgh.  I thought of that film the other day as I read about a piece of research from the folks at  uSamp.  I’ll explain why in a second, but first the research findings, which you can read about here:

Men are more likely than women to buy a variety of products, including digital content and consumer electronics, on mobile devices.  30% of male respondents in uSamp’s study said they have bought digital content via a mobile device, compared to just 20% of women. The disparity is even wider when it comes to consumer electronics; 27% of male respondents said they have bought a consumer electronic via a mobile device vs. 8% of female respondents. Men seem to be more active on mobile devices after the purchase as well. 35% of male respondents (females: 28%) indicated that they have commented on a purchase via a mobile device, and 26% (females: 16%) have written a review of a purchase.

There is a scene in the 30-year-old movie which reminds me of why the above is no surprise.  After he gets kicked out, Reynolds’ character needs new stuff – a bed, etc.  He goes shopping by walking quickly through the department store aisles followed by a clerk pushing a cart.  He slaps items as he goes, which the clerk throws into the cart.  The point is that most men don’t look as shopping as an experience but as a task, and we all know that tech devices are great at helping us accomplish tasks more quickly and efficiently.  Men don’t “shop” – we buy.

Your primary target is something to consider as you’re thinking through the customer experience   The differences between male and female shoppers should be taken into account.  If you’re a sporting goods store,for example,  maybe spending more money on anything that makes the process more efficient (faster checkout, more visible information about products, huge store directories) is a better investment than in-store music, snazzy graphics, or clever displays.  One can carry that thinking to a web shopping experience, a sports app, or any other business.

See the movie if you get a chance, and remember the lesson even if you don’t.  Funny how research keeps echoing real life!

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