Design & display

The female gaze: Understanding what women want from a retail experience

As any high street retailer will tell you, it’s getting harder and harder to coax shoppers away from the cornucopia of bargains and convenience that is the online world.

Yet, no matter how appealing all those eCommerce deals may be or how fast your online competitors can deliver their wares, you’ll always have a trump card that they can never replicate. As a physical retailer, you are able to create a satisfying and rewarding customer experience that beats anything available in the online world. And since almost 75% of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers of the household.

Women are on average more brand loyal than their male counterparts, retailers neglect their needs at their peril. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which retailers of all kinds can create a retail experience that draws more foot traffic from female shoppers and create the kind of experience that gets them coming back.

Aim for a welcoming space

It’s tempting, especially for fashion retailers to try and create a shopping environment that’s so chic it borders on intimidating. Chrome hued Amazonian store mannequins, thumping dance music and staff who look like supermodels might draw in a fashion-conscious elite… but they’ll alienate just about everyone else.

Think about softening your displays to make them more welcoming. Arrange your female mannequin display in a way that makes the clothes appealing to women of all shapes and sizes. Most of us have our hang ups about our appearance and relish the ability to try on clothes in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

The personal touch

Retail is a high turnover game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t recognise those special staff members who are absolute customer service diamonds. In fact you should polish them until they shine and get other team members to follow their example. Create a shopping experience that helps that tired doctor feel like a princess, or that stressed mum feel like a goddess. The personal touch goes a long, long way in retail (and it’s the one thing customers will never be able to get online). 

Reward loyalty

All consumers love a bargain, but female shoppers are even more exacting in their hunts for great deals than their male counterparts. As such, it’s essential to invest your efforts in a loyalty scheme that gives them more of what they want. Put some effort into doing some market research on what your customers want in a loyalty scheme. You might just find it a great driver of brand loyalty.

Show them you have a conscience

Finally, female consumers (especially young women) are extremely ethically focused in their shopping habit. In fact, three quarters of all millennial consumers will happily pay more to buy from brands with a strong focus on ethics and sustainability. Whether you’re using fairtrade cotton or locally sourced materials in your products, leading with your green credentials is a great way to make yourself more appealing to ethically conscious consumers.