Written by Holly Pavlika
Women, in their role as the Chief Financial Officer for their household, take the job very seriously and are often managing tight budgets. They want to make sure every purchase is smart. They do their homework. Brands have a lot of work to do to keep her happy and get their fair share of the $2.5 trillion worth of spending power she holds.
From pushy sales people, too many choices, lies, deceit and exaggerated claims, it’s a wonder anyone ever buys a product. According to the latest Women, Power & Money report by Ipsos, women have a plethora of issues when it comes to shopping.
Pushy salespeople have been around for eons. With today’s “social” shopping, it’s critical brands teach their sales teams the art of selling so every contact with a customer can turn into a positive experience with the potential for social sharing. And the “hello” at the door won’t be enough. My teenage daughter has had a job in retail this summer and told a customer she “didn’t like” the look of a particular outfit. The customer thanked her for her honesty and then whispered in her ear that she had thousands of dollars of store credits due to a “pushy” salesperson that had convinced her to buy things she didn’t want after she got home. If that woman chose to not shop at that store, the store had the potential to lose thousands of dollars over the lifetime of that customer. Women talk to other women whether it’s a good or bad experience. It’s never just the one sale they make today.
Car insurance is a category full of competition and claims. Women make or influence the majority of car purchases so reason says she’s also purchasing the auto insurance. Every auto insurance shouts they will “save you money.” Well, if auto insurance companies really understood their female audience, they would know we are not sold on price alone. We want the right coverage at the right time from the right company. We need to know you’ll be there when we need you and that you’ll cover what you say you will. I went shopping for insurance and an Allstate representative went through my current policy line-for-line and then told me they couldn’t do better than my current policy. She said I was just missing umbrella insurance and advised me that to add it should cost about $30 more a month. I was blown away by the honesty and the time the sales rep took with me. I’ve told at least 50 people about the woman from Allstate.
Overwhelmed by too many choices? It is not surprising women reported the overload. I spent at least five hours researching ceiling fans before purchasing one. I checked reviews, styles, prices and more till I was bleary-eyed. I must have reviewed a thousand fans across 20 different sites. I would have loved a feature that let me drag and drop selections from multiple sites into an interface that I could go back and review when I was done with my research. Even Amazon was overwhelming with its recommendation engine added to the confusion by popping up even more selections to look at. Kayak has figured it out in the travel industry by serving up pricing from multiple carriers in a layered interface saving the potential customer loads of research hours.
Often the price online is different from the one in store. And the price for same product, sold at different retailers, can vary by many dollars. And everything comes with more than its fair share of legal copy.
Is there any wonder why women have an inherent distrust?