Are Men and Women equals when it comes to shopping?

The answer, unsurprisingly, is – definitely not. While much has changed in recent years, there are still some behavioral aspects that set these two genders apart. What this article is primarily tackles though is the difference between online buying behavior between men and women.

Despite the apparent gender equality in the workplace, stereotypes are still very prevalent in the household. A lot of families still see the male as the provider, while women (although they may also work) are still tasked with shopping for the family. As such, it really is no surprise that women dominate online retail.

The Stats: Where Women Win

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Women spend approximately 20% more time browsing through shopping sites online than men. While some key categories like sports, electronics, and outdoor goods are still predominantly controlled by men, women lead almost every other retail category.

What’s more, women don’t just spend more time shopping online. They also spend significantly more money on most categories for online purchases.

As an e-commerce retailer, it’s important to not only know who your audience will most likely be, but also the factors that will affect their purchase decisions. If you’re targeting women for example, you should know that women take coupons much more seriously than men. In fact, 68% of women shoppers (vs. 60% of male shoppers) are likely to use coupons when they want to save money while shopping online. They are also more likely to shop when there are sales (49% vs. 36%), and sign up for incentive programs (33% vs. 23%).

The Stats: How Men Measure Up

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However, one of the advantages men hold over women when it comes to online shopping is their dominance of the m-commerce market. Although there are several factors that affect this, such as the fact that men are more likely to own a smartphone than women, the point is that e-commerce merchants who focus their efforts on the mobile market should definitely cater their services to better deal with the needs of the male audience.

The two genders also approach online shopping differently. Males tend to stick to whatever mission they assign themselves when they shop online, whereas women tend to wander among different product categories. Before deciding on a purchase, men tend to search for information on the particular product’s page, while women tend to just scan the information before moving on to the next potential product. This often leads to more impulse purchases from women than from men.

Additionally, women also depend on social media more than men when making a purchase decision. Women are also much more likely to recommend a product to friends and family on a social networking site (35% vs. 28%).

Lastly, despite the apparent differences in shopping behavior though, Shoppercentric, a UK based research firm, claims that the younger shoppers, whether male or female, display mostly identical shopping patterns.

So what do all these facts and figures mean for an e-commerce merchant?

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First off, if you are providing a product or service primarily for men, it’s better if it’s within the male-dominated categories. When presenting your product, make sure to give accurate and detailed descriptions of your product. Show why you are superior to your competition and provide customer reviews and testimonials proving it.

On the other hand, if you’re product or service is for the female demographic, it might be better to make your site more interactive. Give the users a chance to communicate with one another via chat, forums, or reviews. Pay particular attention to ease of navigation, filtering, and sorting. You might even want to pay more attention to creating promotions and sales in order to give female purchasers more incentive to choose your product over your competitors.

If you are catering to younger shoppers, you might want to give them detailed product information, customer reviews, and opportunities for social interaction.

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