Keynote speaker Bridget Brennan, CEO of Female Factor and author of “Why She Buys,” delivered a seminar during the Apparel Market covering the importance of reaching women buyers. Women are the engine of the global economy and buy nearly 80% of all consumer products. This gives them power to influence company executives, demanding products and shopping experiences that meet their expectations.
During the seminar Bridget discussed gender-based differences in shopping habits, particularly when buying apparel. According to Bridget, men shop for a specific item and seek out basic information, like whether or not the garment fits. In addition, men tend to not be interested in being upsold by store associates since they generally spend time researching their purchases before ever stepping foot into a store. They also desire a quick and seamless shopping experience.
In contrast, Bridget says women seek exceptional customer service and often desire affirmation that the clothing and accessories they try on are not only flattering, but go together well. Women often want associates to make suggestions for items that will mix-and-match with the apparel they are trying on, thus giving retailers an opportunity to offer accessories and other pieces to either complete an outfit or take it from day to night.
Bridget has identified 6 global trends behind driving the growth of women’s purchasing power. First, more women are working than ever before giving them more disposable income. Second, many women are waiting longer to marry, with the average age of American women getting married for the first time now at 26 years of age. This rises to 30 for women who are college educated. Bridget reluctantly brought up the unfortunate statistics that nearly 50 percent of all marriages now end in divorce and women on average outlive men by 5 to 7 years. These last three factors have resulted in women spending more years of their lives single and greater numbers of single women.
Bridget references the fact that women are waiting longer to have children and are having fewer children as the fifth trend driving the increased purchasing power of women. This delay results in parents spending more money on their children and purchasing brands they like, influencing their children’s brand loyalty from an early age.
Finally, higher obesity rates among women are a driving factor in their demand for quality and high design. Bridget points out that while for year’s women who were overweight simply accepted not having stylish clothing available in their size; however, this complacency is no long acceptable to women. These days, larger women are demanding the same stylish fashions as their skinnier counterparts and will no longer settle for dowdy design.
Below are Bridget’s 10 tips for appealing to women buyers:
1) Inspire by engaging her senses. Women shop for everyone in their lives and retailers should remember that she is always on the lookout for them as well as herself.
2) Inspire her through the language you use in website copy, store signage, clothing and price tags.
3) Help her feel confident rationalizing her purchase.
4) Enthusiasm is contagious. Give her eye contact and a hearty welcome.
5) Proactively show her items that go together.
6) Think about who may be accompanying her while she is in your store. Provide chairs, magazines and other items that may make these people feel more comfortable while she shops.
7) Learn to speak “female” in your marketing.
8) Let your personality shine clearly and distinctly.
9) Demonstrate your appreciation and give her a reason to return to your store.
10) Women want to hear “Please” and “Thank you” when they.