‘His’ and ‘Her’ Grocery Aisles
With men doing more of the food shopping, male-only supermarket shopping aisles that focus on gender-specific products rather than merchandise by category could encourage men to browse longer, trial new items and spend more, according to research coming out of Australia.
Dr. Gary Mortimer, from Queensland University of Technology’s School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, focused on the healthy & beauty zone.
"Past research has shown that there is a group of male shoppers who have a ‘fear of the feminine’ or fear shopping among women’s health products such as tampons, waxing strips, pink razors and body scrubs," Dr. Mortimer told Queensland University of Technology’s News Web Service. "More recent research found that men made more purchases and had a positive association with health products that were not placed in high traffic areas or next to feminine-inspired products. This is based on the idea that men are apprehensive of women’s products and are therefore less likely to spend time perusing their own personal needs."
Men also shop differently, valuing efficiency and independence over customer service and tend not ask for help.
"A gender specific aisle would provide a relief to men, inspiring them to explore and discover new products. It also creates a sense of privacy, even sanctum," said Dr. Mortimer.
Dr. Mortimer also implied that more men’s-segmenting could support other categories as the gender has become increasing discerning in their shopping habits and even more impulse-driven.
"Retail liquor, for example, is typically a grid-style layout, so retailers could easily create an area specifically targeted at that market," he told Start Up Smart.
Speaking to The Herald Sun, Benedict Brook, a spokesman at Woolworths, Australia’s largest supermarket chain, expressed doubt that a "man cave" is necessary, noting the 65 percent of men’s toiletries are bought by women.
A few of the 32 comments that followed a Courier Mail article on the research were favorable of the idea if it led to a simpler shopper experience for men. Wrote Bill of Brisbane, "It’s not about sexual insecurity. It’s about making the sale."
But several — including many men — sarcastically lampooned the idea or were even angered, given feminine hygiene needs. Wrote Fed up Female of Brisbane, "Get over it fellas, now you know what women deal with everyday of their lives."
- Male-only aisles remove "fear of the feminine" – QUT (Queensland University of Technology) News Web Service
- Supermarket health aisle for men with fear of the feminine – The Herald Sun
- Male-only offerings represent growth area: Academic – Start Up Smart
- Australian research suggests gender-specific shopping aisles could boost sales of health and beauty products – The Courier Mail
Discussion Questions: Should supermarkets have men-only lanes? Does a ’fear of the feminine’ exist at all for men shopping in certain categories? What categories at supermarkets would particularly benefit from better men’s vs. women’s segmentation?