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Venus Goes Shopping: 
Tips to Get Women to Love Your Brand 

By Judy Carter

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, they say, but their shopping habits tend to fall more along prehistoric lines than interplanetary. Men’s shopping tends be like that of the hunter, going out with a single goal in mind and a determination to acquire it. Women, on the other hand, tend to be gatherers, pursuing fewer specific goals and lending the task a more social aspect. Meaning, men will go on a “hunt” for the best priced IPod while women will go out hunting for an IPod, not find it, but come home with “Ten fabulous things” that they didn’t even know that they needed.

Studies show that women are less likely to buy something they need than men are, but far more likely to buy something that gives them a feeling they need. No wonder so many women call it “Shopping Therapy.”  Women are also more likely than men to buy something because it’s on sale, to buy on impulse, and to buy to celebrate something. And that something to celebrate can be anything from a Brithday to Flag Day. Any excuse is a good excuse to shop.

Women are estimated to control about $5 trillion in U.S. business and consumer spending, and they influence 80% of all consumer spending, including homes (91%), new bank accounts (89%), do-it-yourself products (80%), and automobiles (60%), according to Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment by Martha Barletta. Still, many advertisers still stereotype and assume females have a disinterest in “male” products even though they are actually purchasing or influencing the purchase of them.

The fact is that most women form relationships with every person, place or thing they encounter, including brands and products. For example, even if they are knowledgeable about auto mechanics, many women will be drawn more to a car’s aesthetics—its color, look, style, and amenities—and how these factors make them feel, as opposed to men who are more interested in things like horsepower and engine size. When an otherwise great car has an inadequate coffee cup holder, and coffee spills all over a woman’s outfit while she’s taking a corner, she’s likely to blame the car for the accident, and her feelings of affection for the car lessen. Similarly, an auto dealership that calls its male customers “Sir” but its female customers “Honey” is likely to lose women who feel insulted by the demeaning sexist language. For women, ultimately the quality of the experience holds more importance than other factors. It’s not about the product; it’s about the relationship.

For example, Chico’s is a women’s clothing store that has had great success, having branded themselves as a “girlfriend” to women over 40. Like a friend, Chico’s sends its customers birthday cards every year with a discount coupon and wraps each purchase with a ribbon, as if it were a gift. Their husband might forget their birthday, but Chico’s won’t. Their clothing line offers a huge selection of flattering elastic-waist pants for its customers, whose slowing metabolism no longer lets them shop at trendy stores, and their sizes are generous, so customers feel slimmer than they may actually be. Additionally, their catalogs features mature models who look like their customers and not like their customers’ daughters. As a result of all of these branding measures, Chico’s stock has gone up 170 percent in the last six months, while other retailers struggle.

Chico’s has tapped into women’s desire to feel welcomed, understood, and appreciated, and you can, too. Women will reciprocate with undying loyalty and become your best customers and cheapest word-of-mouth advertising. To get women to love your brand, implement the following:

  • Listen to their concerns. Survey current and past customers to find out invaluable information you might not otherwise hear. Customer won’t always complain about a poor service experience, they will just stop using your service. Study your customers through an inexpensive Internet survey, or if you’re a small entrepreneurial company, you can do it free at sites like

  • Meet their needs. Discover how your product or service can provide women with whatever they feel is missing in their lives. For example, a few years ago, a popcorn company’s ad showing a woman sneaking out of the room to eat popcorn by herself was meant to promote the idea that their popcorn was so good you’d want to keep it just for yourself. But the ad didn’t do well because testing later showed that women believe popcorn brings a family together to create fond memories. Eating popcorn alone is tantamount to drinking alone. But eating popcorn as a family promotes ideas of togetherness and familial bonding—something women want. So find out what feeling your female customers want, and then make sure your marketing messages relate to that.

  • Bring them into your “family.” Women like to experience connections with others and to feel as if they belong to a “family.” When women recognize others wearing a specific brand they like, for example, they’re likely to smile, greet, or even strike up a conversation with that person. Therefore, offer exclusive membership cards to make women feel special and send cards and gifts on occasion; many women will proudly wear a t-shirt or other paraphernalia that identifies them as being in your brand’s “family.”

  • Treat them like more than a sale. Customer service personnel at reveal their names and even a little personal information, such as where they’re from, which allows customers to form a bond with the person they’re doing business with. Likewise, you can buy a carpet from anyone, but a salesperson who remembers a small personal detail you reveal is more likely to make the sale and a lifetime of future sales. This seemingly small strategy helps your female customers feel like they have a voice, and aren’t just another invoice.

  • Focus on the small stuff. In some women’s clothing stores, customers must try on clothes in large communal dressing rooms, in front of everybody else. Very few women are comfortable being looked at and compared to other women, especially as they age. Very small details, such as flattering lights and slimming mirrors in spacious individual dressing rooms, for example, will lead women to fall in love with your brand.

  • Make them feel welcome. No one wants to have to hunt for help, and women, especially if they feel out of their element (perhaps in a hardware store), find the experience as disheartening as cruising a bar full of uninterested men! Therefore, consider instituting greeters to make customers feel more welcome and to keep an eye out for those who are wandering about, lost and increasingly frustrated.

  • Empower your frontline to promote happiness. You can spend a fortune on advertising, marketing, and research into your product, but the person who has direct contact with the customer is the person who will get women to love your brand. Train your employees to cater to women and to be more sensitive to them and their needs. Also allow them to make positive decisions that will make your female customers happy. Women respond very favorably to sincere attempts to mitigate or avoid conflict and will show their appreciation with brand loyalty and a lifetime of recommendations of your product or service to others.

Nurture the Nurturers and You’ll See Sales!  At their core, many women feel powerless and overwhelmed by constantly taking care of others’ needs. So when you step in and take care of women’s needs, they’ll reward you with loyal business and word-of-mouth advertising. So at every step of the process, from advertising to sales, showcase how your product or service can fulfill women’s needs. When you do, your company will attract a larger share of the lucrative female market, and will undoubtedly see an increase in profits.

Read other articles and learn more about Judy Carter.

[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis. Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and requirements.]

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