Before I share the 5 Questions You Should Ask yourself...if you really want women to shop at your website, let me share a story with you.
Over the last two years since my book was printed ( I won't say published because the original company did nothing more than print the book, and poorly at that - now that it's out in re-release, via my company, I can call it published)...I've been contacted by dozens of people looking for insight into serving the women's market online. They don't ask about marketing, per se...they ask about female-friendly, as a means to sell to women.
Most of the folks who contact me have uniquely female products - make-up, lingerie, other fashion accessories, jewelry and such. They're well aware of the need to connect with their women customers. What they don't seem to understand is that - women are emotional creatures. We don't buy make-up because we want to cover up our flaws. We buy make-up to look younger, or to compliment an outfit, or to feel polished in our appearance.
When it comes to lingerie - yes, we want to feel sexy, but even more than that - we want to like our bodies. Victoria's Secret is not aimed at women - it's aimed at men. Women who buy it, do so for the man in their lives. If you're selling lingerie, and you want to compete with the name brand companies out there - show the products on women who are more like us. Give us a reason to feel good about ourselves. Even if we're carrying a few extra pounds around. Don't be outrageous - just be sensitive.
As for jewelry - few women actually spend a lot of money on jewelry. We buy nice trinkets that don't cost a lot. For the good stuff, you need to sell the men in our lives. Yes, if you sell us, we'll turn around and let our men know it - but, if you sell to them FIRST - you'll make everyone happy. They'll look good to us, we'll look good to them, and you'll have $$ in the bank.
In all of the discussions I've had with companies, about women, few of them actually thought about how to sell their goods to this market. They all seemed to think: If I build it, she will come.
Now, in an effort to show you how to make that happen, here are 5 Questions You Should Ask yourself if you really want women to shop at your website:
1. Are there women - real women or cartoon women or abstract images of women...on your site? Product isn't good enough. You have to show women using the product, or draped in the product, or surrounded by the product.
2. Do you come across as a person - not just a catalog? Women don't buy from catalogs or stores or websites. We buy from people. Preferably, people we know. Once you get to know us, we are more likely to shop at your site. Show a little personality on the web - give us a picture to look at; one of you with your dog, or out hiking, or in the boardroom - and remember to smile. THEN we'll shop your catalog or your store or your website.
3. Can we contact a real person, if we have a question? A real, real person...not an avatar. Avatars are cute - but non-functional. The women I talk to say that an avatar is a waste of time. She is not real enough to be compelling. We want an 800 #, with a LIVE person at the other end. If you cannot provide that, apologize and provide an email to a REAL person (note to self: add personal email to WME Books...that info@ just doesn't work!)...and you'll make us happy.
4. Do you show testimonials of satisfied customers? How about actual pics? How about developing a loyalty club of satisfied customers that are willing to engage with new prospects - on your website? Show us you're being creative about meeting our needs, and we'll give you our business.
5. Do you openly, obviously, display your privacy statement...and does it say in big, bold letters that YOU WILL NEVER SHARE OR SELL our personal information? Women are keen on this whole privacy thing. We hate spam...so, assure us that you don't contribute to it by selling our personal information.
6. BONUS: Do you blog? If you don't blog, you're missing out on a vast market of women who are into the whole blogging thing. That means communicating with each other, with you, with new friends they've met via other bloggers, and more. A blog encompasses questions 1-5, if you do it right.
Need help? You know who to call...