Becoming a Retailer Women Can Trust

The smart retailer won't miss the opportunity to make women customers for life.

Becoming a Retailer Women Can Trust

Photo: iStock

It’s the holiday sales season, and as a retailer, are you not anticipating finishing the calendar year with a bang? Now’s the time to reap what you have sown as a small business owner, leveraging customer relationships nurtured over time into end-of-year sales as folks shop for their loved ones. Hopefully, at least some of those relationships have been built with women, who not only shoot and hunt themselves but are now shopping for those special men and women on their gift list.

Don’t think, in many cases, that women control the purse strings? A 2015 report released by BMO Wealth Institute titled “Financial Concerns of Women” analyzed the personal and professional progress of American women within the last 50 years. It showed that women were in control of 51 percent ($14 trillion) of personal wealth in the U.S. — and that was in 2015. It is predicted that American women will be in control of roughly $22 trillion by 2020. The report showed that an increasing number are also pursuing entrepreneurship, and women now own 30 percent of all private businesses. Women are also the primary earners in more than 40 percent of U.S. households — a quadruple increase over 1960.

How do you become a retailer that women trust and come back to? Simply remember these axioms, which have been proven to be true:

1) The BS Meter: If you’re a man and you’re married, you know that women are intuitive creatures. Unless she is immediately greeted with eye contact and a smile when she walks through the door, she’ll more than likely be turned off. If she takes a quick look around and doesn’t see products for women displayed or signage featuring ladies, or if she gets even the first sign of condescension, it’s adios, amigo. When she seeks information to make her own decisions, provide it with patience and respect without the hard sell.

2) Men Are From Mars: And women are from Venus. Unlike a “just give me the facts” man, women are all about the relationship. It may take a little more time to build that trusting relationship than with the typical male customer, but it will be worth it in the long term.

3) Empower Her: Unlike men, who often come into hunting and gun shops because they are already hunters and shooters, women often initially come into a gun store because they want to be able to protect themselves. By providing them with the information they need to comfortably take on this role for themselves, you just might create a customer for life and assist them in becoming not just a protector of themselves and their family, but also a provider by becoming a hunter.

4) Tell the Story: When marketing to women, the use of testimonials or reviews by other women can be very effective. These personal stories help reinforce the “why I need this product” part of the sales equation by explaining via a soft sell why a product or service is important specifically to her.

5) Never Underestimate Her: Smart sales staff assume that when a woman walks through the door, she already has an idea of what she wants, and that she has not only spent a fair amount of time researching the products and services she’s looking for — but also your shop. Your website and social media pages should have reviews, testimonials and promotions that make your store’s reputation women-friendly. You want to be known for offering not just hard goods for sale, but educational and training opportunities as well.

6) Know How She Spends: Modern women are willing to spend their discretionary income on the products and services they want, but they also seek the biggest bang for their buck. She’ll pay good money for the best products and services, and it’s up to you to show her why you have what she needs.

7) Provide Opportunities: After-sale opportunities can often be the final reason for the customer to make a purchase. Why buy a gun if there’s no place to shoot, hunting clothes and gear if there’s no place to hunt? By providing information on where and how to use what you sell, you’re going one step beyond just taking her money and moving on. It’s all part of the relationship-building process that tells her, “I really care about you as a person, and want you to not only enjoy your new stuff, but be part of our family.” Part of that can also be letting her know you support your community. Do you sponsor a Little League team, volunteer to help charitable organizations, participate in fun runs or raise money for conservation organizations?

Display team pictures, posters and notices of upcoming events on a bulletin board where all your customers can see it as soon as they enter the store.

Remember, too, that if the woman of the house hunts and shoots, the odds are good that her spouse and kids do, too. You want all their business, and the way to get it is by making her feel comfortable by treating her as an equal to your male customers.

Young folks might not remember Andy Rooney, a radio and television writer who was best known for his weekly broadcast “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, from 1978 to 2011. He was amazing, and once sagely said, “Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.”

The smart retailer won’t miss the opportunity to make women customers for life.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.