Man Up! Retailers urged to go beyond the mister myths of men and shopping

Mr Ogden Barnes, a Retail Industry Fellow with the University’s Graduate School of Business looked at the myths and facts surrounding men and shopping.

“It’s easy to buy into the men hate shopping story as the media is full of stories on research, reports, studies and surveys which portray men as victims rather than beneficiaries of the consumer culture,” Mr Ogden Barnes said.

“But are these myths or reality? “Are marketers missing an opportunity to engage men in mainstream retail activity, losing market share, and a key demographic in the process?”

Mr Ogden Barnes busted a number of mister myths.

Men Hate Shopping – “Not all men hate shopping, any more than all women love shopping,” he said.

“Men can be big big spenders just look at the predicted expansion of the personal care, sales of luxury watches and the value of the gay dollar.”

Mr Ogden Barnes said as men were marrying later and divorce was commonplace more men were having to shop for themselves as their relationship status changed.

“More single time, means more shopping time,” he said.

“Men may not love it, but they have to do it, everytime you get divorced there is more stuff to buy.”

Men Hate Shopping because they are not Hunter Gatherers – Mr Ogden Barnes said the skill set required by hunters should make men better shoppers than women.

“You need patience and lots of it, you need a clear plan, a flexible strategy, you need to know when to strike and when to wait,” he said.

“You need to be alert to nature’s specials and promotions that come your way, ‘is one bison better than two gazelles?'”

Men hate shopping with their partners – Mr Ogden Barnes said there may some substance to this myth.

“Money and financial problems are the cause of marriage breakdown, so overspending, poor budgeting and undisciplined credit card usage can make shopping habits a sensitive subject,” he said.

“Men may just not like spending time with their partners in an activity which may generate relationship tensions and stress.”

Men aren’t any good at shopping – Mr Ogden Barnes said the evidence showed men conducted more research online before purchasing.

“Married men who bear more responsibility for household shopping enjoy the supermarket visit more than if their wife is the primary shopper and men are more knowledgeable about prices,” he said

Men are too busy to go shopping – Mr Ogden Barnes said research internationally showed men are not necessarily busier than women, in fact in some countries they are less busy.

“With the average shopping mall trip taking 1.5 hours it appears men and women, although busy and often multi tasking can find the time to shop,” he said

Mr Ogden Barnes argued retailers and marketers needed to revise their strategies to appeal to male shoppers.

• Make your brand stand out from the crowd – Men are more likely to try new products and are likely to be drawn to aspirational brands emphasising success, prestige and achievement but older men are less likely to talk to friends about their recent purchases.

• Men rely on what the store tells them about a product through various promotional cues and sales people, than their friends.

• Men feel motivated to purchase after an extensive sales demonstration because they are grateful for the knowledge gained and the quality of the experience. But, men are single task, pragmatic shoppers – in-store engagement, shopper interception initiatives and cross merchandising interfere with the achievement of the goal – getting what you came for after a logical, time-efficient shopping process.

• While men may visit the same store often they are not particularly loyal and are especially confused at assessing which stores are the best ones to shop at.

• Men do buy their own clothes. They too shop to make themselves feel better, fill a perceived gap in their lives or to relieve boredom. Marketers need to work harder to make it more interesting and engaging for them.

• Men are more price aware but less price conscious than women and update their wardrobes when products are on sale.

• Retailers need to consider that men may not know how to shop and are hesitant to seek advice.

• Shopping for food for men acts as a training ground for larger shopping expeditions. More men may be doing the food shopping than ever before, they are just not as involved in nutritional food issues as women are.

•Men are harder to please as customers and a generally less satisfied with the clothing purchases they do make.