But while a new survey from Omnicom's Dallas-based Integer Group may seem to bolster stereotypes, the results also hold some holiday-marketing clues. And with a record $22 billion in electronic purchases up for grabs this season, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, marketing can be a potent influencer when angling for that wallet share.
For instance, among all shoppers, almost one-third bought electronics based on an offer or promotion, the most popular being rebates and sale prices. Also, most of the buyers (75%) browsed on the web before purchasing. Shoppers went online an average of more than three times to do research before buying, and it was "not uncommon" for the shoppers to make 10 or more internet visits.
"When they actually get ready to buy, they do go to retail in part because they want that immediate gratification," said Kim Menier, Integer senior VP-director of account planning. They also want to skip shipping charges and get to see their big purchase up close before buying, she said.
When shoppers do get to the store, they prefer that the online merchandising and in-store marketing match. Circuit City's 24-minute in-store pick-up promotion, for example, where customers can order online with a guarantee the product will be ready in 24 minutes or they get a $24 gift card, is a good example of tying online to in-store, she said.
However, even more important are effective in-store displays. When the buyers in the survey rated the in-store displays as effective, their purchase satisfaction went up by almost 300%.
"About half of the people we talked to, people who had purchased in the past 90 days, still remembered seeing something in the store that was promotional," Ms. Menier said.
Getting others involved
While the majority -- about two-thirds -- of all the men and women made their purchases alone, the ones who did ask friends and family for advice were eight times as likely to be happy with their purchases as the loners. Ms. Menier said especially for women, it seemed as though getting others involved made for happier customers and resulted in far fewer returns.
Men and women also had opposite shopping styles. Women tended to go to a specific brand first and then look at products, while men decided what product they wanted before beginning to review the brand choices. Brand reputation was important to 58% of women, but only 42% of men.
That brand choice extended to retail stores. Men, for instance, were much less likely to have a favorite retailer and said they preferred specialty electronic stores for their purchases. Women more often listed specific ideal retail experiences for different reasons. For bargain shopping, they liked Tuesday Morning, Overstock.com, TJ Maxx, QVC, Costco and Wal-Mart. Electronics retailers looking to make shopping more interesting will have to copy the likes of Trader Joe's, Target, Ikea and Whole Foods. Outstanding customer-service retailers named were Publix, Nordstrom and Amazon.com.
Of those favorite retailer attributes, bargain hunting was the strongest, Ms. Menier said. If retailers want to attract more women, she suggested, they should try positioning themselves as "a place where people can find everyday values."
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