I will start this out by saying “does anyone really know how and when to use effect and affect?” Ok, now that this is out of the way I am going to get on with my mini research paper. I recently downloaded the eBook Why She Buys to my Kindle and it is a facinating read. I would recommend it to anyone who has made a purchase decision in their life – so, everyone!
The book starts out by explaining that women affect almost every single purchase decision a man makes. Even though Fortune 500 upper management boards are made up of mostly men it is women who make 80% of the retail purchase decisions in the United States. This means that companies should work very hard to appeal to females rather than males. An industry that proves the point is the motor industry. Almost all American automakers use strong, masculine names for their vehicles – the Ram, the Escape, the Corvette or the Challenger. When we look at Asian vehicles we see names like the Civic, the Camry and the Altima. Isn’t it obvious which companies are pushing testosterone here? When we look at total assets and stock prices over the last few years it is quite obvious who is winning the battle for market share in this industry.
There are several companies that I am currently invested in that hit a specific female niche. Lululemon Athletic, Ulta, and Steve Madden have all found a way to penetrate the female demographic. Some may say not all industries are affected by females. To that I would say, “have you ever been in a relationship?” Just the other day I went with my girlfriend to Dicks Sporting Goods and guess who was picking out my golf apparel? If there was ever an industry that was male dominated it was golf but I am still allowing a female to dress me for my high slice.
I will be very interested to see where the book goes from here (I am about 20% into it). The author is trying to help businesses recognize ways to reach this specific demographic. Being a male, I know how hard it is to get inside the female brain. With that being said, I also know that females make the majority of purchase decisions. I wonder if this means that the majority of searches on the Internet related to retail products are from females. My guess would be an astounding yes! Although some may think of homes and electronics as huge male purchases the book also points out that females have a strong influence on these purchases as well.
How many guys have gone to Best Buy to buy a brand new HD TV without first asking their wife or girlfriend? All of you single guys do not count as you tend to do whatever you want. Even if you are single it is likely the case that you have asked a woman’s opinion on many purchases. If you are smart, you would ask one of your female friends before every purchase because other women may think less of you when they see the sports posters on your walls at home.
Home decor and fashion are a completely different ball game as I would imagine women make 99% of the purchase decisions in this realm. I know that my girlfriend finds a way to make 99.99% of purchase decisions when it comes to what I wear. I might pick out a pair of tennis shoes every now and then but most of the time she has an opinion about those as well. She even picks out my golf shoes and she never even sees me play golf!
This leads me to a very important point – Women control spending so they must be pleased! We have seen the stock price of Sears tank over the last several years and much of this has to do with the fact that the company refuses to update and make stores more appealing to women. Do you think Target and Sears have completely different prices on most items? In all reality, Sears tends to have many more sales than Target yet Target has a stronghold on this demographic. Has anyone else noticed that JCPenney is doing everything possible to clean up their image and appeal to women? I would imagine that the former Apple executive that is now running JCPenney knows a thing or two about making products that women love – remember that iPod thing? Maybe you know about the iPhone or iPad.
The following picture is a perfect example of the different between men and women. Many men would think this is nice but they would love to throw out a fly or worm and see how big of a fish they can catch. Women would love nothing more than to sit with their feet in the water talking about their relationships or how great their day was.