Feminine gamification viewpoint: The female shopper
Understanding the female shopper and what drives her decisions, is something marketing people the world over have been trying to get to grasp with. What fascinates me in this, is that no matter how much research there is about women still today making 85% of the purchases and influencing 95% of goods and services bought globally that a lot of technology companies are consistently ignoring this market. I am not sure if it is out of ignorance and on purpose because of their comfort zone.
Research by AMP of 3000 women between 18 and 49 found that shopping habits didn’t actually change with age, ladies form their shopping early and then stick with it consistently over time. They also verified whether it change by moving to a different region, moving through life, having children and variations in income. The habits remained consistent. What they did find is that there are 4 distinct shopping mindsets:
The Cultural Artist (Creative, Impulsive, Adventurous)
The cultural artist is a trendsetter and super influencer especially in the categories of fashion, beauty, health and wellness and food. She is also the biggest spender on items in these categories on an individual basis ($7,672 p/a). They account for 11% of the consumers and they will often be out shopping to see what is new in the stores. 97% of them are willing to try out new and different things on the market and they want to be the first to try out new things or at least 85% of them. They rely heavily on friends for information for their buying intel.
The Natural Hybrids (Confident Balanced, Classic)
The Natural Hybrids constitute 34% of the consumers and they form a blend between social and trendsetting butterfly on one side and grounded domestic diva on the other side. They look for longer lasting choices over trendy and prefer a classic appeal. 80% of them still like to try out new products, but only half of them would be the actual first to own a new item in their circle of friends. The other half in fact prefers it if their friends try it first and report back.
The Social Catalyst (Social, Smart, Trendy)
35% of female shoppers fall into the social catalyst category and they are amongst the top influencers and the strongest brand advocates. In their social circles they are the planners, organisers, take pride in their friendship status and like to be seen as the expert amongst the group. 80% of them think a night out is a great investment, yet they seek out bargains to keep up with the latest trends. Only a 3rd of this group is willing to spend on fad like products. Overall they have the biggest spending power over time and outspend the other categories by about $20 billion.
The Content Responsibles (Practical, Loyal, Efficient)
The remaining 20% are neither trendsetter nor trend spreader and they are equally not the big spenders in town. They can however be a lifelong loyal customer. 80% agreed that social status was not an important part of their life. This group prefers a a hassle free shopping experience and they often see shopping as a chore rather than fun. They spend less than the other categories in the research.
As I was writing up the research findings, I kept asking myself how this transfers to corporate buying decisions. Again it has been researched that women influence a lot of corporate buying decisions. One word of advice never annoy the receptionist of personal assistant, they often have a direct influence over the purse strings. When you are meeting groups where women are in the minority, equally still find out what they think or regret it later.
When I thought some more the female corporate buyers I have dealt with looked for solutions that were the best fit for their purpose and they did want to be seen as forward thinking but not the very first to try out gamification. I would very likely class the majority in the Natural Hybrids group and one or two in Cultural Artists and Social Catalysts. For the companies where budget shopping for solutions is important the Social Catalyst is often in the decision making chain.
From a gamification design perspective having persona’s to work with that display distinctive behaviour patterns is important to understand and know. For marketing and sales related designs this is good input. The more you understand your buyer and customer the better you can tailor your design to suit them.
As with all categorisations, there will be exceptions to the rule. If I look at myself, I can recognise traits in me of three of the categories, one I can honestly dismiss. I like to explore new things and try new things, but I am super loyal to a few brands. For example the same skin care for probably 20 years, any side step from it always caused skin issues. My mobile phone provider down to the shop I go to negotiate new deals is the same for over 6 years, prior to that I hopped networks and phone types. I find shopping a chore in general, but do like to explore and wander, often best without cash or plastic to be honest.
What category do you think you fit into best or do you have a completely separate one? For the gents do you see yourself in any of these categories or do you have a distinct other pattern not described in these four?