Estimated at over 250 billion dollars, the office products market is enormous and the future growth potential remains promising. Fully aware of these impressive numbers and armed with the knowledge that women are the predominate buyers in this product category; marketers are desperately seeking effective methods for appealing to them. Let’s begin with some interesting statistics. Women are the heads of approximately 40% of households in America. They are responsible for making 85% of consumer buying decisions and they are running 40% of all companies in the U.S. In the office supply niche, they’re at almost 86%.
Obviously marketers and merchants are paying close attention to what inspires the female purchasing decision. All the studies reveal that there are so many factors such as generational history, culture, life stages, and daily realities that a true formula is almost impossible to attain. Would you expect anything different? However, in order to influence a woman’s buying mind, the manner in which women buy is more critical than what’s being sold. Listening to women earlier and more often leads to more powerful strategies.
Too often marketers adopt out dated approaches centered on flowers and pastels without acknowledging the true professional prowess of the female consumer. They do this to their own detriment. Having different priorities, values, communication styles and preferences than men consumers, women typically analyze their problems form a totally different angle.
My advice on how to attract today’s savvy, busy, informed, educated, female customer, is to focus on solving her issues and concerns. You must overcome outdated, stereotypical thinking about female consumers.
The office products industry, while often viewed as rather mundane, is hugely impacted by women buyers. This shift is even reflected in the product mix now available. For example, color coding is hugely popular as women appreciate the benefits of such a system and how it improves efficiency. On the other hand, men often select a drab product based solely on price. Basically, the old adage “time is money” is practiced more often in our women buyers than in our men. The women truly see the value of certain products beyond just price. This is not to say they are not cost conscious.
Because the overwhelming majority of our clients are women, we decided to tweak the traditional approach of just flat out price pounding with a more solution oriented system.
OfficeBundle.com was created with the female office supply buyer largely in mind. A simple solution to common price concerns was immediately addressed. Now our buyers are given immediate proof of savings rather than a promise. Women want to save money just as much as men, but they tend to focus on efficiencies more so. Thus, our system offered them a savings with no extra work on their part. This was crucial. Asking a busy professional to generate a list of products and then manually review the cost per item was quickly losing traction. With our site, our buyers could attain the discount automatically. Orders could be placed quickly and efficiently. So much so, that future orders on reoccurring products can be completed in about a minute.
The results have been great. Our customers are happy and responsive to our message. Lastly, because the professional woman has no qualms about pampering herself when deemed earned, we incorporated a rewards program centered on her rather than future product discounts.
We haven’t cracked the code because there is no such thing. However, we have altered our business to address the unique attitudes and perspectives of the woman buyer and we’re pleased with the outcome.