Men in the Zone at H-E-B

Discussion
Feb 03, 2010

By George Anderson

Okay, it would need beer, chips and steaks to qualify for
a man cave, but H-E-B’s new Men’s Zone department is looking to stake out some
space specifically for guys looking for answers to their grooming needs.

The
concept, which includes flat-screen TVs in the aisle along with blue floor
lighting stretching its length, was developed by Procter & Gamble and now
is in test at three H-E-B locations.

“Men are likely to purchase a product
if they see how it works and if it is prominent with messages such as here’s
stuff for your morning routine, your afternoon routine and your going-out routine,” Anne
Westbrook, a spokesperson for P&G, told
the Express-News of San Antonio. “Guys like a little bit of direction.” (Five
small-touch screens with grooming tips and product advice are positioned at
eye-level throughout the aisle.)

The Men’s Zone contains 534 personal care
items and seeks to capitalize on the male grooming market, which has grown
to $4 billion annually in the U.S. According to P&G, total sales of products
in the Men Zone have grown by 11 percent since the department was unveiled.
Body-wash product sales are up by 37 percent.

Discussion Questions: Will increased
emphasis on men’s grooming products in other stores lead to the types of increases
H-E-B has seen with its Men’s Zone test? Are there other factors you can see
with the Men’s Zone that would account for the increase in sales?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Men in the Zone at H-E-B"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

This is a truly differentiated strategy for H-E-B as other retailers, including Walmart and Target, focus singularly and unapologetically on “mom.” Not long ago, I attended an executive presentation in which once again, the mantra was “mom, mom, mom.” A guy in the audience jumped up during Q&A and asked “Hey, what about us?” to everyone’s delight. Well, here ya’ go!

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 3 months ago

Of course we like to buy stuff like that. But it’s difficult getting advice from someone who has never experienced a 5 o’clock shadow.

On a recent visit to The Bay, I noticed a male working at the Clinique counter. In a quick convo with the associate, he indicated to me that he was here for the men’s products only and that males felt more at ease talking to him about facial scrubbers and after shave balm than his female colleagues. He’s not whistling Dixie, I bought $150 off of him and there was a lineup to talk to Mr. Clinique.

Creating shelf spaces that are friendly to our gender will increase sales, especially in the higher-tier brands but plasma screens and model Ferraris will only go so far. Product knowledge is what closes the deal.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 3 months ago

Improving men’s grooming is a desirable, albeit challenging task. So kudos to the top-notch principles in this endeavor. If any two companies can hurdle the men’s grooming wall it’s the combination of two great forces: P&G and H-E-B. The scope of 534 personal grooming products offers appealing choices to the male who wants to look good, be clean and smell appropriately masculine.

But another force is at play today. Unshaven beards, whiskers, baseball caps, sloppy clothes and beer breath have erected male bastions–unfortunately–and Fusion razors, Scope, Crest and the 531 other personal care products in the Men’s Zone have their work cut out for them. May the better force win–and may it be the one women wish for.

Ron Margulis
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Man-scara and guy-liner deep in the heart of Texas? Seriously, I’m curious to see if there is a fall off in sales of men’s grooming products that were formerly purchased by wives and female significant others. This segment of buyer may be a little intimidated by the Men’s Zone. Or, since we’re talking Texas, maybe they’ll be encouraged.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The segmenting of customers is nothing new but bringing the “mancave” experience to retail is. Very smart. Now if men will actually shop for themselves, instead of their wives doing it, we’ll really get a good test of ROI.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
11 years 3 months ago

As someone who has spent a lot of time in the Men’s business, I can’t wait to see how this works out. Men have, in my experience at least, been overwhelmingly “target” shoppers–get in, find what I had already decided on, get out, get it done quickly. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you heard a guy say “Hey, let’s go shopping”? Perhaps HBC is different, but the notion of men lingering over different scrubs, creams, and fragrances seems somewhat out of character.

Like I said, can’t wait to see how this works out.

Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
11 years 3 months ago

This is tied to my comment on video games. They are doing this right as the results show. The key point is using store space as a Direct Selling Media.

Dave Wendland
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

This is indeed an under-developed category for H-E-B (and many other retailers). Whether the male is shopping the category or the woman is shopping the department, sales will increase and the attention to this large market segment is a great strategy. Others will follow.

Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

H-E-B is not the first to try this–no one who has, has rolled it out to all their stores. Perhaps the reason is that women, when shopping for men, don’t go to a separate section, so you lose some sales there.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Do men go to grocery stores?

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

A 37% increase in body-wash products? One can only wonder what the base was. Three a month to four a month?

It seems every few years some retailer tries to do something in a grocery store to attract men. “Gee, if we can get him to buy this or that, we can increase our business a bunch!!!”

I don’t know if Cathy’s tongue is in her cheek, but she asks the right question. “Do men go to grocery stores?” From the research I have seen over the years, they go, but not very frequently and their purchases are small. They don’t shop the store (unless they are lost). They go to the section they want, pick up what they want and get out.

This all sounds like a lot of work for little potential, and perhaps a huge misallocation of shelf space.

Ronald D. Mayes
Guest
Ronald D. Mayes
11 years 3 months ago

H-E-B has always been a leader and unafraid to try something new and different.

I remember when cars and trucks were marketed exclusively to men. Today women are making more and more car buying decisions and car companies appropriately target a portion of their products and marketing to women.

I believe men want to be more involved in decisions on their grooming products and the manufacturers and retailers that put the appropriate level of marketing directed towards men and make the deselection process easy will win. The trick will be finding the right balancing point to where it is not overdone, as female beauty will always be a much bigger business than male grooming.

Now if only H-E-B would build a store in my town….

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
11 years 3 months ago

This is a good step forward for H-E-B to make the store more accessible for target shoppers. Separating out the men’s products in a comfortable space is good, men know where to go and can find items easily, and get suggestions and prompts on what to purchase.

The major lesson here is shoppers go to departments, aisles, or “zones”–they really don’t look for retail categories. Merchandise for the shopper and good things develop!

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
11 years 3 months ago

CPG companies have been looking for ways to grow the male grooming products business for years. It is not working well. This is a great experiment, that will eventually be shut down. Getting men to walk into a grocery store, and buy grooming products, will be a stretch. And if they are there with their significant other, they will watch TV, and leave without a purchase.

P&G is willing to try various ways to reach men (see Art of Shaving). The fact is, men have a long way to go before their buying habits change enough to really make a difference in sales.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How big an upside opportunity is there for male grooming products in the U.S. from current levels?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...