TO WHAT WOMEN WANT
are such complex people, and as
times rapidly change, life for women
becomes more complicated and what
they are expected to achieve more
complex. Statistics indicate that
women control eighty percent of
the purse-strings, so it makes sense
to gear your sales and marketing
strategies towards them. But first,
you have to understand them.
I can’t go into great depth
about that subject in a small column,
but it should suffice to say that
there are considerably fewer women
who have the luxury of staying home,
cooking, washing, ironing, sewing
and housecleaning as my mom did.
The typical mom works or runs their
own business, is a community or
school volunteer, ferries children
to various activities; some care
for their ageing parents, and she
tries to squeeze in being the perfect
mother – and staying fit,
sane and healthy.
women I talk to are “too busy”
and always “stressed”,
with little or no time for themselves.
So when they do make the decision
to shop for an item or service,
this is going to take valuable time
and therefore much planning. The
business that can most fulfill their
needs and make shopping a bearable
– if not enjoyable experience,
wins long-term customers.
boomers are opting for service and
stress-free shopping, tired of the
mega-monsters. Barbara Caplan, a
New York-based consumer trends expert,
stated in 2002 that “People
want to hit the bull’s eye
every time they do something or
buy something. They want pleasure,
enjoyment, connection with people,
an experience—and they want
to be taken seriously.” Caplan
calls it the “affluent attitude”.
does your store shape up?
Women notice everything about your
store, from the first telephone
call to how clean the washrooms
are to whether you have good candy
in that candy dish on the counter.
If you are a man reading this, please
don’t question any of this
logic, just believe it. Women are
complex creatures! I'm probably
not telling you anything.
an inventory of your store's
physical appearance. Women customers
The telephone is the first point
of contact that starts building
customer relationships. Answering
the phone sounding stressed, bored
or curtly with just the store name
doesn't cut it. Instruct employees
to always use a warm, friendly tone.
"Good morning, Willowtree Appliances,
how may I help you?" Your tone
and the way you talk to potential
customers sets the first foundation
in building solid relationships.
Women decide whether to come in
based on your telephone conversation.
displays: Making your store
friendly and inviting to women doesn't
have to be an expensive proposition.
Start with asking yourself, "What
message is my window display carrying?"
A bunch of sterile equipment is
not that attractive to women –
machines are “a man thing”.
Have sample products attractively
displayed in a warm home setting.
The "machine" perception
then softens and women can relate
the products to their home. Words
such as "sale" or "inventory
clearance" splashed on signs
or across windows are music to our
appearance: The store interior
is the next to register. Is it tidy
and inviting? Are colours warm and
inviting? Has the store had a coat
of paint lately? Women notice shabby,
scuffed or dirty appearances. If
the store needs a paint job, then
paint it. It makes all the difference.
Ensure that a clean, tidy washroom
is available to customers. Busy
women often plan their shopping
trips based on where there is a
A well-organized store appeals to
women – they love organization
and a disorganized store reminds
them too much of home. Ensure that
signs direct them to where to find
product and that they don’t
have to hunt for them. Women are
too busy and get easily frustrated
if they can’t find something.
Is there enough room to easily move
around, or do they have to step
over or squeeze past "stuff?"
displays: As with the window
displays, show women visually what
products can do. If there are accessories
that complement your products, include
them in the display. Clearly mark
the prices and make sale items visible
– and have enough in stock.
shopping: Accessories are
income-generators, and women need
convenience. Ensure that you have
a good selection of product-related
accessories in the store, so that
shoppers don’t have to go
and clearance items: Most
women look for "sale"
or "clearance" signs.
Even if products aren’t on
sale, have something to offer that
is discounted. Make the signs large,
and place a small teaser rack at
the front of the store and the balance
closer to the back, so that they
have to walk past regularly-priced
items to find the other sale items.
appearance and manners:
It should go without saying that
both you and your staff should be
neatly dressed and groomed and always
treat customers as VSPs –
Very Special People – treat
customers as you would like to be
design your store to appeal to what
you want; design it to appeal to
what women want – after all,
they are the Nation’s purchasing
column is available for syndication.
For more information, call Frances
McGuckin at 1-888-771-2771 or e-mail