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Are You Ignoring Half Your Market?

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Conventional wisdom was that men hated to shop. That they would go into a store buy what they needed and leave as soon as humanly possible. While there are still those men who would rather have a root canal than shop, the tide is shifting. There is a growing percent of the male population that is starting to shop more like women. More and more men are becoming open to daring fashions, are shopping at trendy retailers, and are starting to check retailers’ websites for new products. Of course if there was ever any doubt that men harbored inner fashionistas, all you have to do is look to the golf course. Men’s golf fashion has tended to the avant-guard for many years.

As men start to embrace the newly liberated fashion consciousness, retailers are starting to adjust to take advantage. What they are finding is that men try new styles, buy on impulse and actually browse. There is even a growing belief that men are starting to enjoy shopping.

All tongue and cheek aside, this is a significant shift in buying and shopping habits for retailers. Those who pay attention can capitalize on a newly energized customer base. Those who still see men as quick in and quick out shoppers may miss the potential growth.

Are you giving your male customers a reason to spend more time in the store? We have learned that the more time consumers spend in the store enjoying their shopping experience, the more they tend to buy and the more repeat business you will earn. Some stores are having success opening bars, coffee shops and even barbershops in side their stores to encourage lingering and browsing by their male customers.

This change is partly driven by a shift in men’s conception of style. Recent studies support this. According to a report by the marketing agency Ogilvy, 95% of American men say they have a defined sense of personal style. These men are increasingly opinionated about what they wear and what that says about who they are.

Social media and the Internet have played a significant role in the way men shop as well. Now the average guy who only shopped once or twice a year to replace items that have worn out has become an aficionado on fashion and will likely shop many times throughout the year. This is not to say that men shop just like women and should be treated the same way.

Men and women still see the world very differently. It is important to treat each group as separate target markets. Now is a good time to consider the messaging in your advertising. Are you advertising the latest products that are targeted toward your male customers? Is your staff trained how to help the “new” more aware male shoppers? Is your store set up well? Do you carry complementary products to entice men to impulse buy while they are in the store?

As men become more willing to shop, it is important that retailers keep up and become more willing to pay attention and specifically target this significant part of their potential customer base.

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