Too often women feel like shopping for consumer electronics is often like getting their oil changed. Women walk into a store and are immediately judged on their electronics prowess just because she may have on heels and make-up. I had an unfortunate experience today at a retailer I will not name (although they are in bankruptcy, shutting down hundreds of stores, and made the headlines again today for having to break additional leases) that reminded me how infuriating this is. I truly wish retailers would remember a few key points about women.
We are the biggest customer evangelicals you can find.
If a man has a good shopping experience, you have a happy customer. If a woman has a good shopping experience, she loves you forever. She will continue to shop there, tell all her friends to shop there, and is likely to pay a higher price just for that positive shopping experience. On the flip side, what is the saying about a woman scorned? If she has a bad experience, she will not only go out of her way never to step foot in your establishment again, but will tell everyone she knows, will write a letter to the president of the company, and may take to the world wide web or blogosphere to make sure everyone knows how horrible her experience was. Treat us well and we are the best advertising you can get; treat us poorly and we’ll let the world know. (Yes, we can hold a grudge.)
We are not stupid.
We aren’t. Your employees who treat us like we are stupid are the ones who are in fact actually stupid. In many households, some would argue most, we actually even hold the purse strings and make the buying decisions. We may not always know everything about technology, but we still want it. More than anything, we are savvy shoppers. When your employees put us in a category of either “Easy-up-sell-target-she-doesn’t-know-any-better,” or “Waste-of-my-time-she-can’t-make-a-decision,” those employees become infinitely stupider and are a reflection of your organization. And, oh yes, you lose the sale.
We ask questions.
A lot of them. And you are paid to answer them. We can also spot when you are lying. Ask any woman who has dealt with a lifetime of “How was your day?” to only get a response like, “Fine,” and you will find we know how to dig deeper. We just keep asking questions. We are incredibly persistent and when we want information, we will get it. So when we ask details about the product we are about to purchase, those questions are not silly. Rather, those questions help us formulate our buying decision so answer them. Honestly. Your paycheck is for the job of having to answer the questions; your commission is the result when you actually do.
“Tech-speak” does not make the sale.
I am not clear if sales people in consumer electronics stores think the more industry jargon they use the more we will be impressed, or the more confused we will be and make a purchase just to get them to shut up. Regardless of their motivation, it just doesn’t work with us. Talk to us … as real people … in real English. I am by no means suggesting you dumb it down for us (as remember, we are not stupid) but don’t try to impress us with technical jargon to try to make the sale. We want to know how it to set it up, how it works, the benefits, and the price—all of which can be conveyed without tech-speak. Unless we ask for it (because we do ask a lot of questions) we don’t need the terminology you picked up to in the attempt to impress the date you hope you’ll get.
Finally, just because it’s pink doesn’t mean we want it. I like pink as much as the next person, but don’t show me a GPS, camera, and iPod case exclusively in pink because you think magically because I wear lipstick I gravitate to all the pink garbage manufacturers have been spitting out. Pink is a generality and a stereotype, just like the way you generally treat us.
Imagine the impact on the bottom line of these struggling retailers if they could just get on board with what women want?