Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?

Discussion
Source: MenHateShopping.com
Oct 05, 2020
Tom Ryan

A newly launched website, MenHateShopping.com, targets stylish men who “hate shopping in brick-and-mortar stores or searching the internet, trying to figure out what to buy.”

The site offers apparel, footwear, grooming products, bags, and bar and kitchen appliances.

Among the men-friendly features promised:

  • Curated offerings: Every product sold on the site is “MHS Certified,” meaning selected by in-house fashion experts based on style, comfort and price. MenHateShopping.com said in a statement, “Unlike most e-commerce sites, MenHateShopping doesn’t overwhelm users with thousands of mediocre brands and products.” 
  • Grouped matching assortments: “6-Packs” of products are grouped together for easy purchase, such as the Quarantine Essentials 6-Pack that contains six barware and grooming products useful for stay-at-home entertaining. Other 6-Packs include Night Out Essentials and Fall Essentials.
  • Shopping advice: Recommendations are offered on how to shop for your significant other, including advice on sizing, jewelry, flowers, lingerie and anniversary gifts.

Sites such as Bonobos and Trunk Club were also inspired by the notion that men are more mission-driven while women tend to favor browsing and the social aspects of shopping.

Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?
Source: MenHateShopping.com

A number of university studies over the years have concluded that the majority of men are utilitarian shoppers, taking a functional approach in looking to efficiently fill basic needs. More women are seen taking a hedonic approach that places a higher value on the emotional satisfaction (pleasure) of shopping.

Focused utilitarian purchases are found to be more susceptible to the effects of time pressure and options overload than hedonic ones.

MenHateShopping.com’s CEO Eric Carp said in a statement, “We know that time is the most valuable resource in today’s world and our team is ready to help users find what they need quickly, saving countless hours of frustration.”

Utilitarian purchasing tendencies may apply largely to apparel shopping as men have displayed hedonistic tendencies in seeking out tech gadgets. The site’s launch comes as men’s fashion purchases have recently been outpacing women’s purchases, driven by social media, a strong streetwear trend and more options.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should e-commerce sites, if possible, offer different selling approaches to men versus women? Does the notion of men being more utilitarian and women more hedonistic as shoppers translate to online shopping as much as in-store?

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"Am I the only one for whom this feels dated? Gendered marketing doesn’t resonate with next-gens in the same way that it did their predecessors."
"This is just a beefed up affiliate site that makes money by pushing traffic to the appropriate retailer. The front page is just multiple top 10 lists repackaged as curation..."

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25 Comments on "Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?"


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David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
CEO and President, Cogent Creative Consulting
1 month 19 days ago

Men are typically more utilitarian shoppers than women, especially for apparel. It isn’t that men hate shopping online, it is more about efficiency. Men want it to be easy to find what they are looking for and also ensure that they are getting a fair price. It is actually not much different than the shopping preferences of a lot of women, especially busy moms. It is all about convenience. To appeal to the need for convenience, savvy retailers organize their products in logical categories on their websites and offer filters to narrow down the choices and make shopping quick and easy.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

There is some truth in the fact that men and women shop differently, however those stereotypes are much less applicable to younger generations than they are to older demographics. That said, there is nothing wrong with focusing a proposition around men’s needs and more retailers probably need to make an effort with this. In the physical world, Target’s new male beauty and grooming areas – which have gone into some stores – have proved to be popular additions and are helping to increase penetration and revenue from male shoppers in this category.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

Well this was a great post to boost awareness. We’ve seen countless versions of this concept trying to stick. Guys know Levi’s, Wrangler, Pendleton. They aren’t trying to discover more names to remember. Any jeweler will tell you guys are as hedonic as women and many brands who charge a premium are supported by men.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Hmmm. So maybe I am not so odd. I have 10 pair of Levi’s jeans. Two pair of Levi shorts. Two Levi’s denim shirts.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

My take on the difference between men’s and women’s purchase patterns is that in general: men buy, women shop. Like Gene, when I find something I like I buy more of the brand or, like my Stan Smith tennis shoes, I just keep buying the same brand and style since picking up the game a long time ago.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

But to your point, discovering Stan Smith in the first place probably didn’t happen online.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

It is interesting that men are truly “time stress” shoppers. A male who goes to a mall for a purchase generally takes the first convenient parking space he can find, and a long walk is OK. For a high percentage, the objective is to get to the one store, get the item and get out. Wandering in the mall is rather rare. Shopping on the store’s website has to reflect these needs. Packaged offerings? I’m not so sure.

Xavier Lederer
BrainTrust

Every e-commerce site should offer a dual experience – and most already do: a no-frills fast track with pre-made bundles for utilitarian shoppers, and an expansive browsing experience for pleasure shoppers. Who belongs to each group depends on each category: many men can be utilitarian shoppers when it comes to apparel – but put these same men in a wine aisle, and many will start browsing labels and enjoy it.

Ryan Grogman
BrainTrust

To me, it’s less about having a strictly “male selling approach” and “female selling approach” and more about tailoring unique shopping experiences for your key customer personas. It may be that general differences exist between male and female shoppers at the macro-level, but as retailers define the customer expectations and attributes for the subgroups that really make up their target market, that is where a curated experience can drive the most value. Busy professionals who require assistance with pulling together outfit ensembles can span across gender lines, just as a target group of stylish urbanites wanting the latest and most exclusive merchandise. And online shopping and modern e-commerce technology offers a tremendous opportunity to deliver these different experiences to consumers once they are able to identify their expectations.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I think I am one of those guys who hates shopping. So I went to MenHateShopping.com. It made no sense to me. The “six-pack” struck me as completely bizarre. I kinda expected a six-pack of T-shirts, or socks — that makes sense.

I am sitting at my coffee place this morning as I do every morning. As I am actually writing this comment a fellow comes in with a cool long-sleeve, grey t-shirt, with three buttons. I go to Amazon and search “long-sleeve grey t-shirt.” A selection comes up and I find I am not looking for a t-shirt but a “Henley style.” I scroll a bit and bingo, there is the shirt I am looking for. I just ordered it. For me that is what shopping should be. Easy, quick, convenient and efficient.

But I am not everybody and not even “everyman.” So yes, there should be different selling approaches to not only men versus women, but for different types of shoppers.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

i don’t really like browsing online. I know what I need and want – just get me to the location of the product and I will buy it if it I think it is a good price. Check out and move on. I don’t need recommendations or to see what other people bought. It’s about simplicity and efficiency.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

In theory I guess this is a good idea, but in practice it’s just a curated collection of stuff curated by — their “Fashion Gurus?” Who are these self-proclaimed gurus, and why should I trust them with fashion advice or their “MHS Certified” quality assurances? A quick look at their site makes more mention of their affiliation with Amazon than it does of their qualifications as stylists or product quality experts. I am a utilitarian male shopper who would – according to their PR anyway – be in their target demographic, and I can tell you I’m just not buying it — and I suspect there are many others like me.

Rodger Buyvoets
BrainTrust

It’s clear that men and women shop in very different ways (with lots of similarities with offline shopping behavior). When it comes to online shopping there are a lot of opportunities to optimize the CX based on men vs. women. AI will play a big part in this, by optimizing user experiences and guided selling. So I see this is a big opportunity for brands to customize the UX to the user, and optimize their content based on hedonic vs. utilitarian shopping states.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

The better you understand your customer, the more relevant you’ll be to your customers. Gender aside, if you have identified a customer niche that you can reach with a specific type of message and assortment of products, you absolutely should take advantage of that opportunity.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Men are often rational, efficient shoppers both in-store and online. Yet I’m convinced a certain male relative memorizes products’ UPC numbers because each shopping trip is an endless odyssey. Different men, different habits.

In a risqué category, men shop differently than women. When I worked at a lingerie store in the ‘90s, most men resisted entering the store like they were deathly allergic to it. Yet the rise of certain direct-to-consumer lingerie brands inspired men to shop ‘til they dropped.

Regardless of retail channel or shopper gender, best practices include careful curation of popular items (like Amazon 4-Star) to decrease the risk of returns, and thoughtful bundles and gift-giving advice for ease and convenience.

Rob Gallo
BrainTrust

This is just a beefed up affiliate site that makes money by pushing traffic to the appropriate retailer. The front page is just multiple top 10 lists repackaged as curation efforts. These could just as easily be best robot vacuums, best cordless drills, etc. From a business standpoint it is likely very inexpensive to run and could yield some decent income if marketed well. I’m not sure it hits the mark on targeting stylish men as well as Huckberry or others do.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

First and foremost, the e-commerce site should be super easy and intuitive to use. And, the “utilitarian” shopper is usually on a mission. That means they want to get in and get out, as fast and as efficiently as possible. They also like recommendations that are personalized to them. That is why Amazon has appeal. They may be the most convenient company on the planet. So, it’s simple… Make it easy. Make it quick. Make it intuitive. That is what will drive the experience for the utilitarian shopper.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust
Why is MenHateShopping.com retail news? A great question to ask retailers and technologists. Another question, why do retailers provide female shoppers with so many, many more product choices than male shoppers, especially in apparel, shoes, and accessories? Do retailers investing in huge female-driven product inventories know something that has escaped the purview of social scientists and tech engineers who design the tech females must use to shop online? MenHateShopping.com uncovers the clear dichotomy of the obvious miss on the part of retail shopping tech. Males and females do shop differently. Heck, they even think differently [cognition]. For two decades engineers have considered a “one size fits all” approach to digital shopping technologies, assuming females shop the same way as males. In reality, this assumption is a technical blind spot; ignoring 49.6% of the world’s population is not a good business decision. Thus, the same old apparel online shopping stats continue year after year; 3% conversion, 35-50% return rates. Noteworthy evidence: Statista estimates “return deliveries will cost $550 billion by 2020, 75.2% more than four years… Read more »
Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

Am I the only one for whom this feels dated? Gendered marketing doesn’t resonate with next-gens in the same way that it did their predecessors. “Men hate shopping” is an irrelevant stereotype. All men don’t hate shopping.

I see what they’re trying to do, and it could work with certain (40+) demographics, but I’m instantly bored when I see old gender roles being peddled to future generations like this. There are more enlightened ways to home in on a niche market.

Rick Moss
Staff

I agree with you, Jasmine, and further, I’d suggest that a lot of men are really just trying to maintain the appearance of hating to shop because what they really hate is admitting their love for it. This site, IMO, allows them to maintain the pretense — while shopping.

I mean, if you hate shopping as much as I do, you don’t even waste time reading the helpful descriptions. You just order the same damn thing over and over. If you want to know what a real “I hate shopping” site would look like, I’m available for consultation ; )

Rick Moss
Staff

PS – Shoppers like me also do not spend $75 for a plain, gray t-shirt, even if the site says it’s “A Must-Have For Every Man’s Closet.”

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

Right! So our conclusion is that the men who do hate shopping –– or are operating under that pretense –– probably aren’t the ones shelling out $75 a pop for a basic tee.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

“Your mission Mr. Phelps…”

I’ll not go off on a tangent here. Even if all stereotypes are (in some way) harmful, some are much less so than others, and perhaps we can reach a compromise: men and women — as would be the case with any two large, disparate groups — on AVERAGE tend to have different perspectives on shopping; different experiences and goals cause different appraisals and features of interest.

If the site is to succeed, it will need to identify — I suspect on a product-by-product basis, and not something so crude as “men: utilitarian. women: hedonistic” — those perspectives and cater to them. Not exactly simple, indeed it seems to be the very essence of retailing (but hey, at least my post won’t self-destruct in five seconds!).

Rachelle King
BrainTrust
It’s true 7 days-a-week that men and women have different shopping styles. But this is a stretch. It’s either wildly older-age targeted or somewhat out of tune with younger male shoppers. Also, a browsing site for men who hate shopping that doesn’t actually have a shopping capability? Do men really hate shopping that much? More so, do men really need advice on how to sign a card that reads, “May your day be as wonderful as you are”? I really hope not. There is definite logic behind this site, but I wonder if it delves far enough. Certainly, there is some merit in doing all of the curation. But, do some men really hate shopping or, do they just hate shopping the way women do (and, thus, the many stores that cater primarily to women)? In this new age of social awareness, are we being inclusive or exclusive of gender boundaries? If you have a website targeted to people who “hate shopping” that redirects you to multiple websites to make a single purchase, is this… Read more »
Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Preselecting products and grouping them together is not a key to successful online shopping, where it is so easy to compare or find other products with just the click of a mouse. Instead, this approach seems to ignore the competitive appeal that price plays when shopping online, as well as the basis that broad selections offer men when shopping online.

No, one site cannot make men love shopping online. Instead, maximizing customer service, convenience, price, selection and delivery will encourage men to better enjoy their shopping experience … as all customers do.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The better you understand your customer, the more relevant you’ll be to your customers. "
"Am I the only one for whom this feels dated? Gendered marketing doesn’t resonate with next-gens in the same way that it did their predecessors."
"This is just a beefed up affiliate site that makes money by pushing traffic to the appropriate retailer. The front page is just multiple top 10 lists repackaged as curation..."

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