Men vs Women: 6 Key Differences in E-Commerce Marketing

Are you trying to decide whether you should target men, women or both with your new product?  I have something shocking to point out.  The buying habits of men and women are DRASTICALLY different.  Your entire e-commerce marketing strategy has to change to attract one or the other. Here are six key differences to look out for depending on who your audience is.  Please remember this is based on my personal experience, and you are entitled to your own opinion in the matter.

Here are six key differences to look out for depending on who your audience is.  Please remember this is based on my personal experience, and you are entitled to your own opinion in the matter.

1. Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

When it comes to women, they love what’s new and exciting. With the right marketing position and branding, it isn’t that difficult to get them to try your product.

On the other hand, men are very set in their ways.  It is hard to convince a man to try something new. The result of this is a higher CPA.  It takes less marketing to get women to try a product than it does men (this is obviously a broad generalization, but assuming everything else is equal). This means it takes more upfront cash to get a male customer base growing.

2. Lifetime Value

This is where men make up some ground.  As easy as it is to market to a woman and get her to try your product, one wrong move and they will never forgive you.

I have had very different experiences marketing to men. At Swag of the Month, we could send someone the wrong size, a color they stated they hated, and make countless mistakes. The response would usually be something along the lines of “Can you just make sure this doesn’t happen again.” They wouldn’t even ask for a return or exchange most of the time!

At Ellie, we saw average lifetimes of about four months. At Swag of the Month, we were seeing around 14 months! Once men like something, they are a lot harder to lose. This allows you to invest more up front, but eventually, you will make higher returns (see my last blog post on key metrics).

3. Emotion vs. Logic

This all comes down to the way you position your product. To get the best response, women want to see the emotional appeal. They want to know the lifestyle behind the brand. How is this product going to make them feel?

Guys shopping habits are much more logic based. You need to appeal to why they need what you are selling. Why does it make sense to purchase this?

Lifestyle can come into play for both, but men are going to think about it as a “Why do I need this?” and women will usually think more as to “How is this going to make me feel?”

4. Social Media Strategy

This has been surprisingly tricky. Women love to look at products. You can push your actual brand all day and engage them on the lifestyle and product images (especially in fashion).

With men, you have to almost sneak the product in. Guys are not on social media to look at pictures of fashion, just as much as they don’t go to the mall to browse. So, with this in mind, you need to actually engage them on their interests. Post about things guys will want to read and see, and then connect it to your product (but not too much). Social media is a much more delicate thing when it comes to men.

5. Product Navigation

Basic rule here: Girls love to shop and guys want to get in and out. A men’s site needs to have a tight funnel and focus them on getting exactly what they want and getting out. Girls want to browse and look through products.  Girls are looking to spend much more time on the site. A small product line and focused navigation is better for guys, while a wide selection and user-friendly interface for browsing (like is much better for girls.

6. Customer Service

This is a big one. When Swag of the Month had 1,000 subscribers, we would get about 30 emails per month in customer service. When Ellie hit 1,000, we were getting about 1,000 emails per month. This goes back to the “men never stop and ask for directions” thing. If women have a problem, they let you know it. They want acknowledgment, validation, and help. Men are a lot more forgiving, want to handle it themselves, but they also don’t give you the opportunity to make a problem right as often.

So think very hard about who you want your customer to be and how you model your business based on that. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a free consultation with our marketing specialist. If you are in the fashion industry, check out how we have helped e-commerce apparel brand to scale!

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