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The difference in marketing mcommerce to men and women

Mobile commerce continues to rake in greater amounts of revenue for retailers. Marketers looking to grab a bigger piece of mobile should split up their efforts to target men and women differently because of their contrasting shopping behavior.

The talk about mobile commerce for retailers is shifting away from simply having a presence towards tailoring the shopping experience to meet the needs of specific groups of consumers. One of the easiest ways for retailers to do this is to break down efforts by gender to get a better understanding of how consumers use their mobile devices as a part of the shopping experience.

“Given today’s always-on, multi-device consumer, retailers are looking to grow business in part by driving greater awareness of their mobile sites and apps,” said Eric Feinberg, senior director for mobile, media and entertainment at ForeSee, Ann Arbor, MI.

“In addition to heightening awareness, a key contributor to retailers’ mobile commerce success is, of course, providing an intuitive and highly functional experience that meets user needs,” he said.

“So for retailers, that begs an important question: ‘What exactly are the needs of my different user groups? And how can I market to customers accordingly?’”

Mobile men
Men are wired to identify more with concrete concepts that have a specific goal in mind. For mobile marketers, this means focusing on utility.

Retailers should focus on getting male shoppers through the process as quickly as possible with messages that are straight-forward and declarative.

For example, a mapping or click-to-call feature within a mobile application might strike a chord with male shoppers more than female shoppers.

Take Home Depot’s approach to targeting mobile men, for instance.

The retailer’s mobile app includes in-store mapping that shows consumers which aisles products are in to help consumers find what they are looking for quickly.

Additionally, the homepage of the app features a big search bar that stretches across the top of the screen to let consumers type in information on products for which they are looking. There is also a voice-activated search feature that lets users speak into their device if they do not want to type their query into the box.

The store locator feature plots out locations on a map with a blurb that includes click-to-call, store hours and the distance that consumers are from a store.

Men shoppers are less likely to ask for help in-store than women are, so a bar code reader is baked into Home Depot’s app that lets shoppers scan UPC codes or QR codes for more product information.

Marketers should also tap into the compulsive spending habits of men.

Compared to women who may shop more frequently, men stock up their shopping into fewer trips and can easily be persuaded to buy additional items during one shopping session because it is convenient.

This means that placing prominent recommended products on mobile apps and sites right up until a consumer is ready to checkout should be a go-to part of any retailer’s mobile strategy that targets males.

During the holiday season last year, ForeSee surveyed 12,601 females and 10,140 males who shopped from the top 100 retailers with some interesting implications about how males shop that give marketers a sense of what to expect this upcoming holiday season.

Forty-eight percent of men used their mobile devices to research products while in a store compared to 38 percent of women. Twenty percent of men bought via their mobile devices versus 14 percent of women, showing a slightly higher likelihood of showrooming when it comes to males.

Plugged-in women
Women are more easily persuaded by emotional messages than men and look for relatable marketing.

Women trust their friends and family members for product recommendations, meaning that retailers who target females should combine mobile and social for the biggest punch.

Research is also a big priority for women shoppers, so reviews and easy-to-navigate merchandising is critical for retailers targeting women.

Sephora is a retailer that has nailed the mobile experience for women around reviews and recommended products.

Each product on Sephora’s iPhone app includes a big call-to-action where consumers can read all of the reviews on an item. The reviews can also be sorted by highest rating, helpfulness or date.

Sephora also includes a section for each product that describes what an item does and how it is used.

The bottom part of a product page is sectioned off with a scrollbar that shows recommended products based on shoppers’ recently viewed items.

Given women’s role in making key purchasing decisions, it is no surprise that mobile coupons and offers are particularly effective for women as long as they are personalized and tailored to a consumer’s spending habits.

New research from shopping app Swirl looked at how 1,000 women with smartphones shopped in-store. The takeaway message for marketers from the study is that retailers should be honing in more closely on the in-store experience.

Fifty-eight percent of women surveyed said they want to receive a personalized mobile offer while in-store.

Additionally, 50 percent of consumers would volunteer their information in return for more personalized offers. Eighty-three percent would be interested in linking that offer with a $25 credit, and 63 percent of shoppers wanted to receive a gift with purchase as their offer.

“Personalized offers and content hold strong allure for female shoppers,” said Rob Murphy, vice president of marketing at Swirl, Boston.

“Because of their strong desire to see, touch and try on clothes for fit, women overwhelmingly prefer to shop for clothes and fashion in bricks-and-mortar stores rather than online via their smartphones or laptops,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York