Most of us have heard of the expression “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. Originally the title of a sizzling bestselling book by the author and relationship counselor John Gray, the aphorism has since entered popular culture, and is taken to mean that the sexes differ on many levels, which is why it’s so hard for men and women to see eye to eye in and out of the bedroom, and in the shopping malls, online and offline.
In fact, the psychological differences between the genders have been backed up by scientific research. A study released last year, which involved the analysis of over 1,000 brains of both sexes, revealed that male and female brains are hardwired differently. Neural maps revealed that the average woman’s brain was highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, while the average man’s brain revealed stronger connections between the front and back regions.
In practical terms, the latest research confirms what you’ve probably suspected all along: men’s brains are hardwired for perception and locomotor co-ordination, while women’s brains are hardwired for social skills and memory. Men grunt responses to their wives, and women can gossip for hours. Men make bloodthirsty military leaders, while wives never forgive husbands who forget their wedding anniversaries. Most women tend to really want to know a lot about what they are buying, to see, touch, smell, and try it out before making an actual purchase. While most men prefer to just wham-bam get it done.
Men and women have different ways of processing information, communicating, dealing with stress, responding to arousal, and handling tasks. And anyone who’s ever seen a married couple at the mall would know that men and women shop differently, too. In a nutshell, most women treat long hours of shopping like a high-pleasure, recreational past time, while most men seem to loathe it.
A recent study in the UK revealed that British men get tired of shopping after 26 minutes, while British women only lose their enthusiasm after 2 hours. Women tend to lose steam if they haven’t found anything suitable, or if the stores lacked good bargains and choices. The study— which involved 2,000 Brits—also revealed that 8 in 10 British men find clothes shopping with their partners boring, while 45% of British men admitted that they avoided shopping with wives or girlfriends as much as possible.
Women, in general, are considered to be more sophisticated shoppers than men, and will take longer to make purchase transactions. Far from being aggressive, men tend to treat shopping like a chore, and prefer to choose products within a reasonable time frame, as opposed to women, who are more willing to go from shop to shop in search of the perfect product.
Additionally, women are more willing to invest the time and energy that is required to research and compare different products. Women are also more susceptible to emotional pitches, which is why advertising targeted at women can be so dramatic.
Since men can’t savor the “joys of shopping” like their more sensual female counterparts, they spend less time comparing different products, and are willing to spend more money to speed up the buying process. Men tend to go to stores armed with lists of items to buy, and are less willing to buy items impulsively.
How about online shopping? Do men and women’s online shopping habits differ significantly?
When Martians and Venusians Shop Online
Overall, surveys and studies have shown that men and women exhibit similar online shopping behaviors in terms of device and location. According to Shopzilla’s June 2013 e-commerce poll, men and women who shopped online made the majority of their purchases on desktop (87% of men and 82% of women).
Women were more likely to complete a purchase transaction using a mobile device than men (18% of women and 14% of men). Moreover, the bulk of e-commerce orders were made at home (84% of women and 81% of men). Many bosses would be glad to know that only a small group of naughty online shoppers choose to place e-commerce orders at work (15% of men and 13% of women).
Showrooming (which is the practice of examining products in brick and mortar stores without making a purchase, and then going online to find a lower price for the same product) was more common among men than women (12% of men and 9% of women). While most men don’t like to look for bargains, some are more comfortable doing it in the comfort of their own homes.
On the other hand, there are some marked differences between the online shopping habits of the sexes. Women were more likely to actively hunt for bargains and deals (71% of women and 57% of men). Women were also more likely to use coupons than men (34% of women and 26% of men).
Women are also more comfortable buying intimate products at home. According to the adult paraphernalia retailer Adam and Eve, men and women spend a whooping $15 billion annually on sex toys. Women, though, are more likely to purchase sex toys and adult videos at home, as women favor discretion.
Want to woo women shoppers? When it comes to marketing emails, women are more likely to respond than men: 14% of women and just 8% of men stated that they saw their most recent online purchase in a retailer’s email. Men are also more likely to buy a product when surfing aimlessly online than women: 30% of men and just 26% of women first saw their most recent purchase while aimlessly exploring the Internet.
Creating Orgasmic Shopping Marketing Plans for Martians and Venusians
Aside from being hardwired differently, men and women also respond differently to online marketing tactics. Online marketers who are targeting male-dominated markets should invest in paid search advertising and SEO. While men might hate store hopping and bargaining, they are more likely to research products online before making a purchase.
As women are more responsive to marketing emails, it is best for online marketers to invest in email marketing platforms if their target market is dominated by women. The best time to send out marketing emails are late afternoons when work pressures are beginning to subside, or after dinnertime, when women are more likely to be relaxing in bed, browsing the Internet and looking for some action – shopping.
Coupons are more likely to entice curious women to shop. Women are also more open to other bargains, like free shipping, specials, complimentary gifts, and other nasty surprises. Online marketers can add coupons and other special offers to their marketing emails and blast them out to their female targets.
Thinking of marketing via social media? Choose your platform carefully, as men and women differ in their social media habits as well. According to a 2012-2013 report on gender and social media from the Pew Research Center, women are more likely than men to use Facebook (72% of women and 62% of men), Pinterest (25% of women and 5% of men), and Instagram (16% of women and 10% of men). Both men and women were more evenly represented on Twitter (17% of women and 18% of men) and Tumblr (6% of men and 6% of women).
Online marketers who are trying to seduce female-dominated markets should optimize their Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts. Gender aside, online marketers should study their markets intensively in order to determine the right social media platform and marketing strategies to apply for maximum seduction.
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