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Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Ever since childhood, we’ve known that there are big differences between the sexes. They show up not only in play but also in shopping behavior. The latter is especially true when it comes to mobile.

To understand desktop and mobile shopping behaviors better, website managers and online marketers must learn to cater to their target gender, optimizing the digital experience for how they interact with brands. This article will provide a few key takeaways from our own internal research, which address important questions every enterprise must answer.

What Motivates Men and Women on Mobile Devices?

When it comes to shopping online, gender affects the way we purchase. Women still outpace men, with 57 percent of respondents indicating they made an online purchase in the last year, compared to 52 percent of men.

However, men slightly outpaced women when it came to purchasing on mobile devices. Results showed that 22.2 percent of men made purchases on their smartphones versus 18.2 percent of female respondents. When using tablets, 20.4 percent of men had made a purchase this year, compared to 16.9 percent of women.

While men are making more purchases via mobile devices, they are less tolerant of negative experiences in the mobile shopping process. Slow Internet connections, small screens and navigation issues cause men to give up far faster. By contrast, women are more patient and willing to persevere. Women are much more likely to abandon a potential purchase on a tablet, however, due to indecision rather than frustration with the device, speed or navigation. Women indicated they weren’t ready to buy two times more than male respondents, with 62.5 percent of females, versus 24.7 percent of males, revealing a desire to browse more before buying via their tablets. We can consider this classic shopping behavior, where the shopping process is considered by many women to be recreational, “retail therapy.”

In addition, the study indicated that women respond slightly more favorably than men do to marketing campaigns, like social media and email remarketing. And, while using a mobile device in a store, females looked for promotion codes and vouchers 43 percent more than male respondents. This suggests a recreational, but savvy approach to shopping using mobile devices.

Converting Mobile Shoppers into Mobile Buyers

With these gender-specific insights, how do you adapt your website and marketing strategies to drive conversions for these distinct segments? Here are a few recommendations:

- Boost buyer confidence for female shoppers. Women are two times more cautious to buy on mobile devices, but make more purchases on desktops than men. A business with a primarily female audience may want to increase email marketing campaigns, as well as add social proof and security seals to their mobile websites to reassure female customers during the purchase process and increase conversions.

- Businesses with male-dominated audiences should make their mobile commerce sites easy to use and optimized for small screens. While Internet speeds are largely out of a company’s control, brands can address men’s greater frustration with technological challenges and errors. Providing free and easy-to-access Wi-Fi in store and shelf-edge QR code links to online product reviews may drive in-store conversions. Optimize your mobile site by reducing resolutions and image sizes, leveraging existing account details at login and eliminating extra steps during checkout. Offering alternative forms of payments, such as Google Wallet and PayPal, can also have significant impact on conversion for mobile devices.

- Leverage social media, email and ad retargeting, all of which keep the brand top-of-mind and drive repeat site visits. One-to-one triggered marketing based on browsing behavior makes it easy for customer unwilling to convert on a mobile device to complete the purchase on a desktop later. Also, make it painless for shoppers to save their carts and retrieve their items across different devices.

Understanding what deters and motivates buyers is key to lowering abandonment online – and even more so via mobile. Adapting navigation and interactions for your target demographics will help drive conversions, improving both the user experience and sales. While men tend to research intensively then purchase fast, by contrast, women shop, increasingly in the evening, using a tablet in the living room, perhaps while sipping a chilled glass of Chardonnay. Oh, how the fairer sex is so much more refined!

Article originally appeared on Website Magazine on 2/2014.

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