It is so easy to be blindsided by the hype that women make 80 per cent of shopping purchases in the household, however, the fact remains that men still shop and their influence is starting to increase in the household and beyond.
We’re all familiar with the stereotypes of male shopping styles – if he’s out with his partner he continually complains, or if he’s shopping alone it’s a quick ‘in and out’ trip where he leaves with exactly what he came for and nothing more. He’d rather be anywhere but here.
Ikea’s original Manland, a dedicated instore crèche for entertaining men while their partner shops, supports this thinking. It created much debate when it opened and raised the question of ‘why should women do the hard work?’. It also points to a very sexist view of men backed up by male oriented lounges being commonplace in malls, department stores and high street stores.
With men starting to nudge the scales towards becoming a more significant grocery shopper, there are some interesting male shopper mindsets that other retail categories could start to invest against in creating shopping experiences that engage and capture men’s attention and wallet.
Male shoppers will seek out stores that can become a part of their routine, a ‘go to’ with a familiar feeling, just like their local pub.
Smart retailers allow them to take control and shop the way they want, while offering the type of reliable service a regular should expect.
Sydney’s Shirt Bar is a clothing store with added whisky and espresso bars to allow customers to unwind as well as shop in a relaxed atmosphere. Service is centred around understanding individual style and taste, delivering something considered, whether that be the perfect espresso, single malt, or shirt.
In a similar vein to the Double Monk store in Melbourne, stores like these build something extra into the buying experience, making shopping feel less like shopping. These stores let men take control over the shopping experience and environment, winning their loyalty as a result.
In the know
Men like to shop armed with information, but also want to gain a deeper level of knowledge while doing so. These are the shoppers who see their purchases as an investment and less for the moment. They like to feel they are in the know and approach shopping in an informed yet curious way, keen to know the details and back story. They want an experience that enhances this feeling.
Opportunities to customise, create, and learn about the finer details appeal to this male mindset, which is why Moss Bespoke in London offers a personalised service providing greater involvement and deeper levels of information about the tailoring process of their suit.
This is enabled by the combined role that the store and online plays. Having had an instore fitting with a tailor, choosing from a menu of fabrics, buttons, and personalised details, customers not only receive a takeaway pack that captures their details and swatches, but can login online, email the tailor, and track the progress of their suit.
Men place more emphasis on navigation, zoning, and segmentation than women. While designing a well structured store that allows any shopper to find what they want is key, for the man who knows what he wants, there is real appetite for easier, more convenient ways to shop. Self scanning and instant checkouts are appealing to men who want to shop with speed.
Click and Collect fulfilment lounges where purchases can be examined, questions asked, and extras explained, will hit the right note with men who want to shop more conveniently without compromising on service.
Clever retailers need to see the potential in providing tools to men who are not fixated on experience alone, but want everything working conveniently together. The male is the ultimate all channel shopper, engage him and have him lead the way in the next shopping revolution.
Simon Stacey is creative director of customer experience at Designworks.
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