By now, most advertisers have caught on—media spending choices and messaging are often tailored to women. It’s time for user experience design to follow suit. Brands can meet women’s expectations—and drive sales—by delivering personalized, tech-enabled online shopping experiences.
Put customers’ opinions ahead of your own
Most brands recommend products to customers based on what the brand (or more accurately, the brand’s algorithm) thinks they’ll like. But that approach puts too much weight on the brand’s opinion, and not enough weight on what actual customers think.
Women greatly value the opinions and feedback of other women—that’s why influencer marketing is so effective. Savvy retailers (such as Girlfriend Collective) take this insight one step further and allow shoppers to sort reviews by the size of the product purchased and provide filters so shoppers can easily find reviews that include pictures and videos. This approach elevates the opinions of customers, ahead of what the brand thinks and says.
Show products as they’ll actually be used
Women want to know how something will look and feel in real life, so showing a product in a static environment or on a model with an unattainable body type isn’t exactly helpful. Instead, give women the tools they need to visualize how a product will really perform.
Some brands, such as Rugs.com, Target and Home Depot, do this through AR with “see it in your space” features that allow customers to virtually try out a new rug, couch or paint color in their own home. Rent the Runway was an early leader in this category with image galleries populated by photos of real women wearing the clothes, rather than perfectly styled product photos that were produced for e-commerce.
Use tech to upgrade the shopping experience
Technology can be a means to making the shopping experience better for women. Not for the sake of being novel – in fact, most often when the user experience is seamless, the role of tech is nearly invisible. Features such as interactive sizing, virtual try-ons, dynamic reviews and real-time chats should quickly lead women to products that work for them. Consider how smarter tech solutions can facilitate discovery and consideration, helping her purchase with confidence. Keep it simple and intuitive.
The bottom line
When it comes to designing an experience that exceeds the expectations of female customers, brands can’t afford to get it wrong. U.S. women wield $6.4 trillion in annual buying power. Factor in women across the globe, and that number hits $31.8 trillion. Companies that don’t address shifts in online shopping expectations will leave money on the table—and even worse, risk permanently damaging their relationship with female customers.
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