Shopping online continues to grow, with women outpacing men, if you would believe the reports at places like Shop.org. In the last few weeks, I've been surprised to have discussions with a number of women on why they do or don't shop online and...the "not me, I'm too touchy-feely" won over the, "you bet, online shopping rocks!"
That said, the reality is that even the touchy-feely women go online to research products and services, before they step foot in the physical store. AND, I'm willing to go on record saying they BUY more often than they want to admit. Granted, WHAT they buy varies widely - these are women who do gift-shopping online and probably buy books or electronics online. Seldom do they buy clothing. This year, anyway.
So, I decided to do some surfing this weekend, just to see what's out there, beyond the usual...Wal-Mart (I refuse to be a Wal-Martian), Target (I find the physical stores more appealing than the web-store) or any of the usual local department stores. Here's what happened:
I did a quick Google search on "women's business outfits." I'm always in the market for a new suit, or a dress that can be worn both for business and personal use. Out of 57,000,000 hits, I chose #5, Fashion for Real Women.
My click took me to a page listing a number of women's clothing sites; Avenue.com (a Plus-size shop that was too girlish for my tastes), Blair.com (interesting, it gave me pause, but the home-page was too crowded for me), and finally, HSN.com - where my click took me to exactly what I was looking for: an uncluttered homepage that had items I might consider purchasing.
What was it about this site, compared to the others, than convinced me to click? And, did I buy anything?
I admit it...it was the description that pulled me in. One name in particular: Susan Lucci, one of my favorite actresses of all time. I wanted to see what she had at HSN, that I might buy. Here's the actual description:
"Why spend hours trying to catch your favorite HSN designer on TV when you can find your favorite HSN brands online? Randolph Duke, Suzanne Somers, Susan Lucci and more, available at your fingertips. $$" (I'm guessing the $$ is an indication of pricing.)
Turns out Susan Lucci only has jewelry and I wasn't shopping for jewelry, so I didn't buy anything, of hers. I did go back to the homepage - a clean, well-designed page that gave me quick and easy naviation along the left-hand side, and presented just enough images to spark my interest, in the prime real estate section (above the fold...at least on my monitor, which is 21", flat-panel).
I clicked into "Fashion and Accessories" and...got totally distracted. In a good way. I forgot about my business suit, and ended up lusting after this "TravelSmith Ultra-Organized Rolling Carry-On and Tote - Item: 321-499." I really liked the description beneath the image of the ultra-organizer, AND the customer reviews! PLUS...when I scrolled back to the top, I was offered something HSN calls, Flexpay - an option to pay all at once, or in two installments. Just for fun, I opened a larger view of the image and played around with color selections.
Then, I found the leather organizer pouch and I was sold! If I'd had these two items with me during all my traveling this past year, wow, things would have been so much simpler - from day one - instead trying to decide which piece of luggage to take, I'd have had the ultra-organizer to carry the necessities, including that requisite change of clothes in case the real luggage goes to France when I'm going to Florida.
The organizer pouch would have saved me from worrying about breezing through the airports - always clutching my boarding pass and ID and wallet and whatnot, in sweaty fingers because I can never be sure when someone in a uniform is going to ask to see them.
All in all, I think I've found a site I can visit again and again. A site that understands my need for quality products at decent prices, and even offers me more than one way to pay.
Did I buy? No, not this time. I put my items in a wish-list, and...I plan on returning soon - certainly well before my next trip. I may just hint to the children that Mom knows what she wants for Mother's Day, and her birthday, and just because they love me! Why pay for gifts when you can get them for free??
Is your website as female-friendly? Are you marketing to women online or are you baffled by marketing to women in general? Visit HSN.com and learn how to do it right. Don't tell me you're too small...or too poor...or that I'm being too picky. Make me happy, and I'll make you rich. Ignore my needs and...you'll continue to be too small and too poor. It's as easy as giving me payment options, not cluttering up your sales pages with too much information (especially images that take too long to download) and allowing me to maintain a 'wish list' so I'm more likely to come back when my budget allows.
Write to me if you get to HSN and have questions on how to get your website to be as good, without spending mega-bucks. I'll do my best to give you some ideas.