It’s no secret that women have a huge influence on the UK consumer economy – driving 70-80% of all purchasing decisions. According to Catalyst.org, women make the decisions for over 90% of holidays, 65% of cars and 93% of food. So improving the female experience will in turn help to improve the experience for everyone – improving the "human experience" is the ultimate aim.
Brands and advertisers have largely become smarter at selling to women, but retail experiences for women in some sectors still aren’t reflecting their needs and wants, as Green Room’s Catherine Lucas pointed out during Campaign’s "What Women Want" webinar.
"A pink wall featuring a small selection of products is hugely behind the times and yet remains a prevalent problem," she said.
She joined some of the leading minds in their field to understand why human experiences – particularly around female customers – are integral to brand success. They included business and consumer psychologist, Zana Busby from Retail Reflections, Catherine Lucas, Green Room’s managing partner, Fiona Davis managing director at The Brand Inspiration Co and 'The Change Agent,' Alan O'Neill.
Kicking off the discussion, Lucas said that one of the biggest challenges brands face is connecting women with their products and services in a meaningful way. In the age of #MeToo and ‘Times up’ it’s still very common to see women’s brand experience needs either ignored or second guessed.
"Women are not one dimensional figures such as "The Mother" or The Fitness Girl"… not all women are or want the same things," she said. "Women know when they are considered an afterthought and can spot this a mile off."
Instead, brands must place women at the heart of their strategy, managing and exceeding their expectations. Lululemon, for example, don’t just sell products but have created a brand lifestyle, hosting customer events and ensuring that exceptional service experiences are expected as the norm.
Women make decisions and build relationships based more on intuition and emotion than men. A level of reassurance is key – brands will benefit from having their "signature rituals" that they repeat, said Lucas. The surprise element of an experience also goes a long way, so finding a balance between reassurance and surprise is a good focus point for brands.
Crucially, women want to feel they have been considered throughout product and content development, and not as an afterthought. Tune in to the webinar below to find our more about how brands can do this.