A New Media Fit by Five from Jane
Jane Gets Smart

Jane Shops Online

What do women want online?

How hard is it to market to women who shop online?

Marketing to women...online...via the web...or blog...or sales page...how hard is it, really?

Dear readers, Jane has just finished shopping online for a new outfit to wear to the daughter's wedding, which looms...beckoning...on the horizon. We've put this off for some time -- always planning to do it, later...then later again, until it began to haunt us. You must have a new dress to wear to the wedding, our conscience whined at us. You must wear something respectful and suitable to the rehearsal dinner. You must not embarrass the daughter -- no red -- she has requested blue, or white, or anything but red. "But I like red!" we mumbled under our breath. No red! our conscience screamed, sounding just like the daughter.

So, tonight, we clicked into Lew Magram's (after perusing Lerner's earlier in the week, and even browsing Chadwick's some time ago), after -- this is important, dear readers -- AFTER flipping through the Lew Magram catalog that was delivered to our home some months ago. We've been looking through this catalog day after day, choosing one dress after another, one pantsuit after another, folding over page after page...scrunching up our forehead in concentration.

Blue, we kept telling ourselves, even as our eye drifted to the dazzling red beaded dresses. Blue, we whispered, even while our brain fixated on the sparkling beaded pantsuits in silver, black, green and gold. BLUE, we shouted, under our breath -- so as not to awaken Tom or startle the son, who was sleeping downstairs in his room. (the same son who calls his mother a 'dork' when she calls him on his cell phone -- she reclining in her bed upstairs, he perched before his computer downstairs -- we do this because it saves us from falling out of bed and stumbling down the stairs in the dark).

And so...dear readers, finally, after countless minutes of clicking opening at least a dozen different windows on Lew Magram's site, and insisting that Tom voice his opinion, we chose a new outfit. Nay, dear readers, not one new outfit...we chose 3 outfits. We planned on purchasing ONE but we could not, we HAD TO HAVE THREE.

How did this happen? In the Lerner's catalog -- the outfits were decidedly too young. As much as we hate to admit it -- we are no longer 25. <sigh> We leafed through Chadwick's one more time...flinging it away, at last, unsatisfied, thinking their clothes too 'matronly', forcing us to turn once again to Lew Magram's.

Once online, the dress (the blue dress) we'd picked out earlier, was a mere three clicks away. As were all the other outfits we found irresistable. Lew just made it so easy! There were outfits galore -- displayed in small windows, a dozen or more on one page, their bright colors and shiny satin edges welcoming us to click the Zoom button for a better look.

There were gold pantsuits, embroidered shawls, crocheted skirts, and shoes -- marvelous, exciting shoes that we could not help but drool over, even knowing our feet will never feel their delightfulness.

Lew Magram enticed us, dear readers. Lew sent us a catalog with outfits for all seasons, for all tastes, for all women. We carried this catalog back and forth to work for several months, because we knew we would need to be purchasing an outfit (or two) for the upcoming wedding. We were smug in the knowledge that a wedding is a very good excuse to shop.

Know this: before we actually bought the outfits that ended up in our shopping cart -- we discussed our choices with both our sister, Maryanne, and our fiance, Tom. Now, we ask you, whose advice do you think we took to heart?

Hint:  Tom thinks we look wonderful in anything.Shopping_on_the_internet

End of story. The daughter will be pleased, we hope. We bought the requisite blue dress, and a white pantsuit with a gold tank top. We bought the dress at one site and the other items at the Outlet store -- a separate site, yet...not so separate. When we went to checkout, lo! and behold! ALL of our items were in our shopping cart! We thought we were going to have to purchase the pantsuit and tank top separately, but...Lew thought of that. They made our shopping experience so easy!

This is the key to what women want online. The way to market to women online. Offer convenience, offer choices, be aware of what we want (this takes research and time, it cannot be discovered on the first day you launch), and be aware of what we're shopping for when we click to your site. DON'T sell us shoes if we're shopping for chocolates. DON'T sell us lingerie if we're shopping for skin care. DON'T sell us toys if we're shopping for pet food.

Sell us the right things, at the right prices, and don't overcharge on shipping.

What's not to like about that?


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Christine Taylor

Aargh! Did this hit a sore spot! O.K., it takes a lot of driving for me to get to a clothing store since I live up in the mountains. Finally I despaired of finding the time so I went online. (I buy books and other stuff online all the time, but not usually clothes. I prefer to try them on first.) Went to Chadwicks -- too boring. Went to Dress Barn -- no way to order online. (Why not!?) Ended up at Kohl's AND THE NIGHTMARE.

I loved some of the their things, particularly a pair of fur-lined clogs at half price. Adorable! I had to have them. So I added them and another pair to my shopping cart, added two shirts, and while the shopping cart loaded I checked my email.

I came back. Zero items in shopping cart -- IT HAD TIMED OUT IN 10 MINUTES.

I REALLY wanted those shoes. So I filled my shopping cart again, waited for the slow page to load again, checked my email -- AND TIMED OUT. AGAIN.

O.K. I was really motivated I did it a third time, just for those darned shoes, mumbling imprecations on Kohl's the whole time. Finally -- got the items back. Did NOT check my email. Started the checkout process. Input my credit card using Google's fill-in like I always do -- used the same credit card info like I had done just yesterday at another site, and the day before that, and the day before that...

AND THEY SAID THEY COULDN'T PROCESS THE CREDIT CARD! (Sorry for the upper-case yelling, by the way.) No reason. Just couldn't. But gee, I was free to put in another one! So I closed the site, vowed never to darken Kohl's online door again, and zipped over to eBay!



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