'Men Buy, Women Shop': The Sexes Have Different Priorities When Walking Down the Aisles Published : November 28, 2007 in Knowledge@Wharton
When it comes to shopping, women are from Nordstrom's and men are from Sears. Women are happy to meander through sprawling clothing and accessory collections or detour through the shoe department. They like to glide up glass escalators past a grand piano, or spray a perfume sample on themselves on their way to, maybe, making a purchase. For men, shopping is a mission. They are out to buy a targeted item and flee the store as quickly as possible, according to new Wharton research. In a study titled, "Men Buy, Women Shop," researchers at Wharton's Jay H. Baker Retail Initiative and the Verde Group, a Toronto consulting firm, found that women react more strongly than men to personal interaction with sales associates. Men are more likely to respond to more utilitarian aspects of the experience -- such as the availability of parking, whether the item they came for is in stock, and the length of the checkout line. This is a single/personal use copy of Knowledge@Wharton. For multiple copies, custom reprints, e-prints, posters or plaques, please contact PARS International: email@example.com P. (212) 221-9595 x407.
"Women tend to be more invested in the shopping experience on many dimensions," says Robert Price, chief marketing officer at CVS Caremark and a member of the Baker advisory board. "Men want to go to Sears, buy a specific tool and get out." As one female shopper between the ages of 18 and 35 told the researchers: "I love shopping. I love shopping even when I have a deadline. I just love shopping." Compare that to this response from a male in the same age group who described how men approach retailing: "We're going to this store and we buy it and we leave because we want to do something else." Price says women's role as caregiver persists even as women's professional responsibilities mount. He speculates that this responsibility contributes to women's more acute shopping awareness and higher expectations. On the other hand, after generations of relying on women to shop effectively for them, men's interest in shopping has atrophied. According to Wharton marketing professor Stephen J. Hoch, shopping behavior mirrors gender differences throughout many aspects of life. "Women think of shopping in an inter-personal, human fashion and men treat it as more instrumental. It's a job to get done," he says, adding that the data has implications for retailers interested in developing a more segmented approach to build and maintain loyalty among male and female customers. Feeling Important vs. Checking Out Fast "Men Buy, Women Shop" also found that women are more likely to experience problems while shopping than men -- 53% vs. 48%, with women over age 40 reporting more problems than men in the same age group. For women, "lack of help when needed" is the top problem (29%). It is also the likeliest reason that stores lose the business of women shoppers. Indeed, according to an analysis of the study's data, about 6% of all female shoppers could be lost to stores due to lack of sales help. Men, however, ranked "difficulty in finding parking close to the store's entrance" as the number one problem (also 29%). The problem most likely to result in lost business from men is if the product they came to buy is out of stock; about 5% of all All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Page 1 of 3
'Men Buy, Women Shop': The Sexes Have Different Priorities When Walking Down the Aisles: Knowledge@Wharton ( http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1848)
male shoppers could be lost to stores for this reason. Male and female shoppers also have...