Women Have Different Expectations Using Retail Social Media

According to a new Empathica study, reported by Richard H. Levey, men and women use social media differently, with more men citing looking for information as a primary goal (36%) than women (28%) when interacting with a retail brand through social channels. But the gender split among those looking to stretch their budgets was far greater: 47% of women say searching for coupons and promotions is their primary use, compared with 33% of men.

One third of female respondents have increased the amount of time they dedicate to searching for coupons through social media, compared with just under 20% of men. The survey found both genders have increased their use of social media for comparison shopping purposes. Among men, 37% have done so, compared with 36% of women.

Gary Edwards, Epathica's executive vice president of client services, says that "People are looking for... an opportunity to find something that intrigues them through the convenience of a social media site... the consumer mindset (is) that ‘I'm going to find a deal'."

Edwards continues "... women are more intentional and thoughtful shoppers... (and) still hold heavier responsibility for household organization, kids, dinner and homework... (but don't) find social media much more entertaining or interesting than men... (not a) greater draw based on entertainment."

Women are more likely to recommend a brand, product or service through a social network, with 35% doing so, compared with 28% of men. And women were twice as likely to appear among the highest level of recommenders, having offered their opinions 10 or more times within the past three months.

Just over 2% of women indicated they were most likely to use social media to register a complaint or seek resolution to a problem, compared with 4% of men.

Brands have had reservations about jumping into the social arena, notes Edwards.  "It becomes a management issue," he says. "... the reality for many businesses is that it is one more thing for them to manage."

Edwards concedes that the culture of social media is one of promotion. That said, "[a marketer doesn't] need to heavily discount. Promotions aren't just about reducing the cost of a good or service. Keeping a customer base informed about what is new, trendy or novel is an enticement. That remains an important element of social media, not just how much you can discount. That is a rat hole to avoid."

The report say that, for brands, the goal of using social media marketing should be driving behavior changes over time, using consumer behavior and motivation cues that influence its messaging.

That said, Edwards concludes that "... it's (not about) pink versus blue, (but) about relevance to the buyer... "

For more information about the study, please visit here.



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