Male Versus Female Shopping Styles

Last week my family and I went on vacation.  Like most vacationers, we wanted to pick up some gifts for our friends and relatives.  The first night was spent walking downtown, doing some window shopping, and checking out the sights.  I knew I needed to get a gift for my brother (his birthday is coming up), so I kept my eyes open, saw what I wanted to get for him, saw that it was 20% off, and bang!  I’ve purchased the gift and don’t need to worry about it for the rest of my vacation!

My daughter and wife however, do not purchase any gifts the first day.  In fact, my wife waits until the last hour of our last day to purchase some gifts!  My daughter, searching for some inexpensive gifts, was looking at a display that had 5 items for $20.  I asked why she didn’t just purchase them right now?  She said that, somewhere in the 100 or so booths and shops we had looked at, she saw similar items priced at 7 for $20.  I suggested that she could see if the shop owner would negotiate, but she did not want to do that. Instead, she wanted to continue to look!

Apparently, my family was falling into the gender roles described in ‘Men Buy, Women Shop’: The Sexes Have Different Priorities When Walking Down the Aisles. The article quotes that “Women are gatherers. Men are hunters. Women walk into a store and scan. Men look for a specific aisle.”  Yup, that’s me when I shop!

I should be praising my wife and daughter for scanning to determine the best deal before purchasing (and I do admire it), but for me, I sometimes want to just get the buying over with so I can get on with other things.  If the price looks fair and it is on sale, then for a $35 item, I’m sold.  There have been times that I’ve waited until the last minute to purchase a gift.  But when I do wait until the last minute, it is not because I’ve been window shopping for days; it’s because I’ve usually forgotten about it and only have time to make the purchase at the last minute!

Despite our different methods, the one common element in all of our vacation shopping was that we were looking for a deal.  In my case, 20% off was enough to sell me.  So, the one important take away that I see is for merchants to always offer a sale price, discount, or coupon on at least some of their products.  It is relatively easy to comparison shop on the web.  If your products are displayed at a discount price, that may be enough to clinch the sale right then.  If it doesn’t close the deal right away, you can be sure that all those “gatherers” that are scanning your site will remember it and be back!

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