The Truth About Male vs. Female Customers

According to a recent Shop Smart Survey, 76% of women will ask for help when shopping vs. 37% of men. This tells me that men would rather buy the wrong item than ask for guidance. Knowing this, you may not want to ask a man if he needs help in a retail store!

Also, 76% of women are likely to return an item they don’t like and for men it's 34%.

Oh, and men and women who shop together have closer relationships, how about that? As they shop they discuss their goals, their ideas and how they make decisions. They may also hold hands, which is considered a very intimate experience for women.

The study defined three male types and how women can shop with them.

1. Mr. Grab and Go!

This is the impatient man who just wants to get done with the shopping and doesn’t care what gets bought. You know what it’s like working with couples—he wants to run and she’s still looking. Give him something to do: television, wireless connection for his computer, magazines. If you don’t, most likely nothing will get done because she will get upset and just want to leave. Or he will be too antsy and insist they leave.

2. Waiter and Whiner!

This is the man that stands there and taps his toe, keeps looking at his watch and talks about what else he has to do. Again, give him a task, get your Wii system hooked up and running, let him clean the warehouse or run the forklift.

3. Mr. Money-is-No-Object!

Sure this sounds like the best customer for you but he may just be there to flex the muscle that says "I can buy anything I want!" In any case, show that you are concerned about the money he spends and you want him to still get what’s right for him. With customers shopping bargains these days it’s wise that you show you’re concerned about spending and value.

More About Saleswomen

Remember, if you send a man out for a pair of pants, he comes home with a pair of pants. He knows what they wants, gets it and goes home. Mission accomplished. Send a woman out for a pair of pants and she comes home with everything, including a suitcase if she sees one she likes. Why? because women like the chase, and the chase is in your store. Don’t push her or “qualify her," she’ll do that when she sees what she wants and she’s ready.

The other night I went into a local furniture store, Raymour and Flannigan, in Albany NY, to browse. I had nothing in mind to do but look at things as I find furniture shopping to be a great pastime.

I’m greeted by a female salesperson who immediately says "nice shoes!" My friend Mary laughs — I think the salesperson must have been in one of my sales training classes. Rena takes us on a tour of the store, casually gets our names and asks, "What are you doing to your house?" Great line! I spend the next 45 minutes looking, talking, thinking of showing her a floor plan of my house. She continues to give me the tour, after offering a cup of coffee. We part as new friends. She says she'll call, which she does, and we continue to discuss my living room.

No she didn’t try to close me. How can you close a customer that’s really looking and doesn’t know what she’s looking for? Well you can’t and you don't; you make friends, get a phone number and go from there. She didn’t ask if I needed help—what woman needs help shopping? Name me one, I dare you!

The Hunt vs. the Kill

Remember, women like the hunt; men like the kill.

Hunting takes time; we look under every bush, in the cabinets and the closets if they’re open. We might even look in your price book if it’s handy. By the way, where did you get those shoes? No we’re not ditsy or disorganized, we just like the hunt, the planning and the big picture.

Women buy the big picture, men by products. Women only care about features and benefits when they’re ready to justify the buy. F&B’s don’t sell us—they just confuse us. We’re after how it will all come together, how we’ll use the room and what it all means. Men buy the pair of pants.

Women see endless possibilities, men see the pair of pants. Men didn’t notice your showroom—they don’t need it to make a decision. Women noticed everything about your showroom—that’s where we hunt.

Hey, if you’re female, happy hunting!

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