We are in a world where personalization is predominant and shoppers want a unique experience according to the needs and preferences. Every shopper’s hallmark matters. What men and women demand from retailers is not too different from each other. However, there are some distinct differences while shopping.
Shoppers’ behaviours are convoluted when we try to find out what, how and why they buy. Reading all product information and trying competing brands before making a purchase is common with men, whereas women mostly shop for recreation and make catalyst purchases (Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing, Inc., 2015).
Forbes signifies care-giving responsibilities of women as a factor triggering them to shop on behalf of everybody else in their lives. A study of the different brain structures between male and female helps to explain the difference in shopping behaviours. The corpus callosum, the bridge of nerve tissue that connects the left and right side of the brain, is thicker among women and it assists them to use both sides of their brain to solve problems quicker, whereas using left side of their brains is prevalent among men. Logic computation and processing facts are performed by the left hemisphere while visual imagery and interpreting contexts are the tasks of the right hemisphere of a brain. When women perform tasks the organized cerebral cortex is in use. In contrast men use the larger proportion of gray matter in the left side of their brains. Therefore Guided Selling concludes, “In the context of shopping, this different brain structure leads to men tending to be mission- and task-oriented shoppers while women are more likely to be discovery-oriented shoppers who readily adjust their initial goals if this would result in a more satisfying outcome.”
There are different dimensions of motivations influencing shopping behaviour which is summed up by Mpinganjira, M (2014) into utilitarian and hedonic shoppers. The cognizant quest of a planned repercussion is a more logic based approach and it is utilitarian in a sense that customers shop to get something done. Men tend to follow it while women are mostly hedonic shoppers as they want innate and impassioned responses. Seock and Bailey (2008) observed that women visited more websites and contrasted different options more thoroughly than men. Searching online sales and discounts is more likely with women whereas male equivalents are more competent and rapid.
Fig: Gender Differences in Purchase Decision Making. Source: Guided Selling.
Women react more vigorously than men to personal synergy with sales associates. “Women tend to be more invested in the shopping experience on many dimensions,” says Robert Price, chief marketing officer at CVS Caremark. “Men want to go to Sears, buy a specific tool and get out.”
Men perceive a lower level of risk in online purchasing than women and a recommendation by a friend increases the willingness to buy online among women than among men (Garbarino and Strahilevitz, 2004). Women customers often act more rational and sensitive to risks than men (Syke, Comunale, and Blelanger, 2002). We can wind up with Regis McKenna’s thought, “Customers set up a hierarchy of values, wants, and needs based on empirical data, opinions, word-of-mouth references, and previous experiences with products and services. They use that information to make purchasing decisions.”
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