Science has proved that there are many aspects that can influence a buyer’s decision-making behavior. And of the key factors, is gender. Men and women approach shopping and buying, with different motives, perspectives, rationales and considerations, which can have a huge affect on the biggest purchase they are ever likely to make – a new home.
There is a decade worth of scientific research on this subject, which shows that there are observable differences in how men and women behave as shoppers. It’s clear, men and women think differently about shopping and will approach the act of shopping online in different ways.
Gaining an understanding of how these differences influence purchase decisions and recognising gender-specific tendencies (not stereotypes) is important for any business that sells.
It’s all in the brain: Men are on a mission, women are on a journey.
Studies have shown that there are numerous physical differences between male and female brains. Women have a thicker corpus callosum, which is the bridge of nerve tissue that connects the left and right side of the brain. It allows women to use both sides of their brains to solve problems quicker, while men predominantly use the left side of their brains.
In general, the left hemisphere is in charge of performing logic computations and processing facts. The right hemisphere is dominant in processing visual imagery and interpreting context.
Women also use the more organized cerebral cortex to perform tasks, while men use the larger proportion of grey matter in the left side of their brains.
In the context of shopping, this different brain structure leads to men tending to be mission- and task-oriented shoppers while women are more likely to be discovery-oriented shoppers who readily adjust their initial goals if this would result in a more satisfying outcome.
Men’s motives for buying appear to be more utilitarian, whereas women’s shopping motives tend to be hedonic
There are essentially two types of shopping motives:
1. Utilitarian: The conscious pursuit of an intended consequence. Essentially, meaning you’re shopping “to get something done”.
2. Hedonic: Related to intrinsic and emotional responses. In other words, you’re shopping because you love it.
Men tend to follow a utilitarian, more logic-based approach.
You need to tell them why they should buy your products and why it makes sense for them to purchase it. Get to the point quickly, focus on the products, and use active statements that demonstrate value.
Women are mostly hedonic shoppers.
To reach and engage women, you will have to create emotive shopping experiences that resonate with them. A purely functional approach can fall flat pretty quickly. Women want to know more about you, your brand, the lifestyle you sell and how your products are going to make them feel. That applies equally when they are looking around a potential new home, they need to make a connection with the ‘lifestyle’ they aspire to.
Women prefer the hunt, men want a quick and effortless process
In their study on online shopping orientations, Seock and Bailey discovered that women visited more websites and contrasted different options more thoroughly than men.
They also found that while female respondents were more likely to find online sales and discounts, the shopping process of their male counterparts was more efficient and quicker.
Women enjoy browsing and looking through products. Offer them a user friendly interface that supports these activities and include social shopping functionalities, high quality visuals and customer reviews.
Women make decisions on a more emotional level, whereas men approach decision-making with facts and data
Once a consumer recognises the need for a certain product or service, information needs to be gathered and processed to evaluate alternatives. Research shows that men and women differ dramatically in their strategies for information processing and decision-making.
Women tend to be more comprehensive and take both subjective (customer reviews) and objective information into consideration, while men tend to favour objective information (make, model, speed etc.) over subjective information.
This doesn’t mean that men don’t value the opinions and experiences of others, but rather that their approach is different: While men use the experiences of others with a product they’re interested in to form their own opinion, women would want to know the reasons and motivations to understand why others purchased an item and whether their situation is comparable, before considering it in their decision
Men are loyal to brands, women are loyal to good service
A study by the Erasmus University showed that once men found a brand that worked for them, they were more likely to stick with it, which is especially true for apparel, automobiles, financial services and home electronics, while women showed a greater degree of loyalty if they received a good service.
The findings suggest that when advertising to women, it is important to use marketing to build a personal relationship with female customers while when marketing to men, you should highlight the advantages and benefits of your products.
Good customer service? Woman want to feel important, Men want to get out fast
Providing good service and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, regardless of gender, is one of the most important KPI’s in contemporary marketing, because satisfied customers tend to be more loyal and consume more.
For men, good service means helping them find the right item and helping them get through checkout quickly.
For women, customer satisfaction is strongly linked to a shop’s willingness to share expert advice (demonstrate familiarity with the product) and the shop’s ability to help them determine which products suit best. Guided Selling can help businesses cater to male and female shoppers’ service expectations, as it puts the shopper’s needs first, offers help and guidance as well as a faster way to suitable products.
Women focus more on trustworthiness and assurance issues and the ability to share opinions and ideas. Men focus more on the value gained through the purchase.
Of course, everyone is unique, but there are some keys here that apply in housebuying – women and men are looking for different things and their motivation to buy triggers are quite different, so it’s important to make sure your home hits all the potential buyers’ sweet spots.