Soap; it is what we sell. So let’s look at this commodity from a typical male vs female purchasing point of view.
The Male Consumer
- Trouble-free and ease of purchase is a must. First and foremost your typical male consumer wants to get in and out easily while purchase alone.
- Keep your products neatly displayed and with simple choices. Once at the purchase location (your store, your craft booth, etc), a man does not want to see clutter and be bombarded with ideas. Men typically are less than impressed with a huge range.
- Your male consumer is buying to solve a problem. What is the problem? Well it can be a host of things- from skin ailments to scent indulgences and everything in between. Do not confuse his buying situation with too much descriptive narrative.
- Men prefer to be in control of their decisions. Let them freely browse and offer suggestions when asked.
- Men are less likely to check competitor pricing. To the male psyche, this involves too much time so if the soap is reasonably priced, the purchase is made.
- Men are conditioned to perceive blue and green as masculine and are most often drawn to these over pink. Men prefer shaded colors (colors with black added to them). However, if the soap contains all the elements needed to solve the problem, color is often a non issue.
- Men like to smell like men. They do not like to smell like their female counterparts nor do they want to smell like children. Keep the perfumey and candy coated scents out of his hands.
- Easy checkout is imperative for your male consumer. Men will avoid long lines, fussy packaging (unless he is buying a gift for a woman) and pushy sales clerk. Be efficient and quick!
The Female Consumer
- Shopping for the female consumer is a social event. Women tend to compare their choices in greater detail and take their friends along for the outing.
- Women love choices! The larger the range the longer they will shop.
- Your female consumer is shopping for the experience. She is not always looking to solve a problem but rather to see what items are available to her.
- Women shopping decisions are greatly influenced by their friends and/or salesperson. Ask questions of them, offer suggestions and allow them to sample your products.
- Women are bargain shoppers. They will compare pricing and use this information when deciding on a purchase. To the female psyche, this is a way of obtaining more for their money. So it would stand to reason that women also love discounts and sales.
- Color is always important to women. Women perceive scents and colors in a harmonious way. If a red soap smells of lavender, it is a turn off (it just doesn’t make sense to the female brain). Use feminine colors and coordinate these to the fragrance. Women prefer tinted colors (colors with white added to them).
- Customer service is a must for women. They want acknowledgement, validation and assistance. Women are more apt to stand in line when shopping with friends (the time passes quickly as they are often chatting). And attractive packaging is a must as women perceive packaging as part of the whole shopping experience. Women relive the experience when unboxing their purchases at home; give them a reason to love your products all over again.
Should you tailor your shopping medium to fit the needs of both sexes? Yes and no. This answer really depends on who your target audience is. For example, if your ideal customer is female, no, you do not need to worry about masculine packaging. And visa versa if your ideal is female. But if you are selling to a range of consumers, yes, psychology deems that your sales are in line with how you position your goods in the market.
Did you know that I have received a waffle maker as a gift from my husband twice this year (both birthday and Christmas)? Why because the first waffle maker was to solve a problem; make my breakfast experience easy and tasty when cooking for all. The second was because I broke the first; a logical solution. This is an example of men's purchasing decision making as its finest! My article is speaking in absolute generalities; an overview of what drives male vs female purchases. Take what you need from this topic and apply as it best fits your business model. My hope is that as I continue this series of Consumer Behavior articles, you will discover how to engage with your consumers in a mutually profitable way.