TNS Retail Forward's Shopper Perspectives program recently explored male shopping in grocery stores. And what they found is pretty interesting. You might not run a grocery store but the study will still give you an insight into the male mind while shopping alone:
From the article "Targeting Male Grocery Shoppers" by Tom Ryan:
"Among the findings: men in general place a higher priority on location and convenience, especially for fill-trips; they care more about in-stock positions than women; and don't particularly like loyalty cards. On the upside, men often vary from the list, creating impulse buy opportunities for grocers. On the downside, they'll skip items they can't find, and blame the store for being out of stock.
Indeed, perhaps the most revealing details came in the confusion many men endure comprehending shopping lists and getting lost in the layout of the supermarket. Among the behavior patterns seen in men shopping alone were:
Circling back: Typically happens when the shopping list isn't organized according to how the store is laid out. Some men do one final sweep of every aisle at the end of the shopping trip;
Confused in center-store aisles: Men particularly feel overwhelmed in areas such as cereal sections housing multiple categories;
Focused on narrow target: Akin to the hunter versus gatherer metaphor, men home in on their target very quickly, often paying little attention to overhead signs for direction;
Needing directions but not fessing up: Men will typically not buy an item they can't find, and often tell the wife the item was out of stock rather than admitting he couldn't find it;
Phone home: Men frequently phone their wives to make sure they don't make mistakes;
Checking out: When doing fill-in shopping, self-checkout is preferred. This often creates a problem for shopping with loyalty cards because most men generally don't want to lug them around." Source: RetailWire.com
Kizer & Bender say: So men will typically not buy an item they can't find because they don't like to ask for directions? This reminds us of an old joke; stop us if you've heard this one: You know why it takes a million sperm to fertilize one egg? Because men won't ask for directions. Ba-dump-bump.
Each of Retail Forward's findings has merit in all kinds of stores. It's the holiday selling season and your store is bound to be full of guy's who won't ask for help but desperately need it. Make sure your associates are ready to help them find those perfect gifts with dignity and respect. And food. Keeping them well-nourished while shopping is always a good idea!