Men and women have different shopping habits. Every retailer knows that. The challenge is developing an offering that recognizes these differences.
University of Michigan professor Daniel Kruger has told The Telegraph that it goes back to prehistoric times. He says men were hunters, women were foragers. As a result, women would spend hours trying to find the right outfit, present or object, because they had in the past spent ages trying to find the best quality foods. But men decided in advance what animal they wanted to kill and then went looking for it. Once it was found – and killed – they returned home.
It comes down to a simple difference: women shop, men buy.
"When gathering, women must be very adept at choosing just the right colour, texture and smell to ensure food safety and quality" Kruger said. "They also must time harvests and know when a certain depleted patch will regenerate and yield good harvest again. In modern terms, women are much more likely than men to know when a specific type of item will go on sale. Women also spend much more time choosing the perfect fabric, colour and texture."
A Wharton study found that women go for personal interaction with sales associates. Men are more likely to respond to more utilitarian aspects of the experience. For men, it's more about the availability of parking, whether the item they came for is in stock, and the length of the checkout line. For women the biggest turn off is "lack of help". Men are more likely to get annoyed when the product is out of stock.
The message for retailers is pretty clear – don't have items out of stock and make sure staff are helpful, and not in a superficial way either.
The hunter vs forager line comes up again in another interesting finding: men outspend women when it comes to online purchases. Like hunters, more men shop online and they love the quick efficient nature of the Internet which allows them to go in for the kill.