In this two-part series, we are focusing on women online shoppers. In Part 1, we presented some data to show the growth of women shoppers and their influence in both offline and online shopping. In this part, we will focus on why their influence is increasing, and how we can attract them to our store.

As we saw in the last article, women shoppers have been increasing in number and influence, and it is very important to target them specifically. Let’s see why the influence of women shoppers is increasing so much.

Increasing Influence of Women Shoppers

Primarily, this increase in influence is because of rapid urbanization, increase in the number of nuclear families, and increase in disposable income.

Change in lifestyle

In urban India consumerism is catching up really fast. Not so long ago, social interactions (visiting neighbors, hosting lunches, family get-togethers) kept women busy and engaged. Such social activities have now all but disappeared in urban dwellings. Visiting malls and shopping is increasingly becoming important social engagement.

Disposable income

Income level of urban Indian women has doubled in the last decade according to market research firm IMRB. ‘Double income no kids’ couples have also fuelled online shopping because they have extra time and money at their disposal. With this extra income, a modern Indian woman is not hesitating to spend money instead of depositing it in the bank.

Women participating in actual buying process

In 2010 43% women participated in actual buying process compared with just 34% in 2003. “There remain very few areas of consumption in which the female does not increasingly participate today. Most household purchase decisions are either joint or exclusively female. Like in the West, marketing approaches and brand experiences in India will increasingly need to be designed around these insights,” said Tanya Dubash, executive director & president marketing, Godrej Industries.

 

This increasing influence of women impacts both offline and online shopping. Question is: are there reasons online shopping might be more attractive to women than offline shopping?

Online Shopping is attractive to women

This might come as a surprise to some, not ALL shopping by women is for relaxation, fun and for therapeutic needs; a large portion of it is utilitarian and need based. Online shopping scores very well on such shopping through the convenience, pricing, and sharing options.

Convenience and Efficiency

Being the primary caregiver of the family (and extended family), a large portion of shopping done by women is to fulfill the needs of her family. In these cases, convenience and time saving is more important than visiting a mall to seek pleasure. Online shopping is a great way to save time and energy so that she can spend some quality time with family. For metros and large cities, these conveniences are especially useful. Online shopping avoids traffic jams, parking woes, long queue at cash counters, and rigid shopping hours of most malls. They get to shop 24×7, making the most efficient use of their time.

Bargain Hunting

Women (and men!) are bargain hunter by nature. They are always looking for coupons and bargains online and this trend is very common in women of all the income groups. Online shopping really fulfills this urge of bargain shopping in women, with sites like coupondunia.com helping to collect all the coupons available for online stores in one place. In general, it is much easier to look for bargains online than visiting many malls.

Shopping Research

“Online shopping gives women a nice opportunity to compare hundreds of items, which is nearly impossible with retail shipping.” says Manu Jain, an ex-McKinsey executive who is one of the three co-founders of Jabong. One can compare the price of the product being sold on different web portals and then go forward with the best deal. Most sites now offer easy product comparisons; and sites like junglee.com offer price comparisons across sites too.

Social Sharing

Women generally like to share their shopping with family and friends. Social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Fancy provide an easy and compelling channel through which they can share their purchases and interests, and satisfy their sharing urge. Online retailers invest significantly in making their site social, which makes this very easy for women buyers.

Given these compelling reasons for women to shop online, let’s look at how these can be leveraged to create a compelling strategy for targeting women shoppers and attract them to your store.

Strategies to attract women shoppers to your store

Keep following points in mind when drafting strategy for attracting women shoppers to your online store:

  • Segment women buyers – ‘Women’ is a big category, it needs be split further. Think of working women, home makers, price sensitive women, etc. Advertising and Marketing strategy should be targeted to women in general and these segments in particular, rather than take a generic plan and apply to women. Needs and affordability for working women is likely to be very different than those of home makers.
  • Engaging Experience – Personalize the site (“As much as 40% of FASHOS.com transactions come from ‘My Stores’ or personalized ‘user showcases’ online”), provide high resolution pictures, videos and testimonials
  • Offer help during purchase – Online chat feature, Phone support, Discussion forums, FAQs
  • Promotions and discounts – Promotions and sales attract women so ensure that you are keeping up with competitors with your marketing offers. Offer more discounts to repeat customers.
  • Build Trust – Offer quality products, delivery without issues and on time, use attractive packaging, offer liberal return policy (women want to be able to rethink their shopping decisions)
  • Ask for feedback – Women like to share feedback, encourage them to do so and make it easy
  • Enable social – Make sure social sharing is available on the site and easily accessible

 

Women are a very important target segment online and it is critical for every online business to target them with specific tactics and strategies. It is an investment that will pay great dividends. Apply the insights mentioned above and you will see a marked increase in this demographic visiting your store and converting into buyers.

Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net