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What women want: 5 ways to keep attracting female shoppers

Katie Keating of women-focused ad agency Fancy, discusses what retail can do to better deliver for women shoppers.

Women drive 70% to 80% of household spending. Forty percent of women are the primary earners in their households. They control 60% of the wealth in America. Blah, blah, blah. We know all this. Women have money. Women spend money. What’s interesting is, how do we get them to spend it with us?

Well, here’s the thing.

You’re not just selling products, you’re selling an experience.

She’s got a lot of choice. A lot of convenience. A lot of places pulling, luring and dangling shiny things to get her in the door. And she’s got Amazon with two-day, next-day and (depending on where you live) same-day delivery. She doesn’t have to go anywhere she doesn’t want to. So, make her want to. Make her want to spend time with you. Invite her to view your store as an opportunity to do something for herself. To make her life easier, better — more interesting.

1. Don’t leave her on her own, wandering up and down the aisles, overwhelmed with choices. Help her make a decision she’ll feel good about. Train and empower your sales associates to listen to your customers, understand what they’re looking for and offer opinions and options. Not simply “oral care is in aisle eight,” but rather, “this race car toothbrush actually got a customer’s son to brush for the full two minutes.”

It’s clear women want more than a purely transactional relationship. Make it easy for her to find something new and something unique that isn’t available everywhere. ... Make your store a delight to return to again and again.

2. Celebrate your community. Let women know that you are really there for them. Host events that will bring your local shoppers together over a shared interest or experience. Think about a “mom’s night out” for new moms when they can ask questions, check out products and learn from local and brand experts. Or a partnership with the local area Council on Aging for an event about what to expect as your parents begin to need more help. Bringing women together, in judgment-free settings, will help them build support networks during what can be very lonely times in life.

3. Make your policies public. Women support women. And they also support companies that support women. Today’s shoppers are double-clicking, digging deep and using their wallets to make a statement about who and what deserves a share of their dollars. So, consider your C-suite, your board of directors, and your upper and middle management. What is your family leave policy? Do you offer your employees health benefits? When a company employs members of its target market within its own ranks and leadership, decisions that benefit the group are automatically made.

4. Highlight products that are made by women-owned companies. Call them out on the shelf. Give them an endcap. In fact, why not dedicate an entire aisle? Give her the opportunity to choose women-made products. My company recently conducted a survey of 500 women over 40 years old, which revealed some interesting insights. Seven out of 10 survey participants said brands should play a stronger role in advancing women’s issues and 9 out of 10 said they felt brands should play a positive role in debunking gender stereotypes. Promoting women-owned brands gives you an opportunity to do both.

5. Offer her opportunities for discovery. It’s clear women want more than a purely transactional relationship. Make it easy for her to find something new and something unique that isn’t available everywhere. Something that’s going to make a difference in her life. Something to tell her friends about. Make your store a delight to return to again and again.

What do women want in the retail experience? They want to be recognized for who they are, the burdens they carry, the love they share, the difference they make, the fun they have and the dreams they realize. They are building lives they value — for their families and for themselves. If you can see that, if you can help them on that path, they will reward you for it.  

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Katie Keating, co-founder and co-chief creative officer, Fancy, an advertising agency owned, operated and focused on women. 

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