Retail TouchPoints: Attracting Male Consumers Into Stores
By Amanda Ferrante
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
retailers are focused on providing an optimal in-store experience, retail
strategist Bertrand Pellegrin says stores are typically designed to cater
to women, and that today’s male consumer is doing more of his shopping with
an eye to both fashion and value.
Mr. Pellegrin’s new book, Branding the Man,
explores how retailers can harvest men’s attraction of sports, electronics,
sex and fitness and channel it into creating an atmosphere where the male
shopper is comfortable and eager to spend.
In an interview with Retail TouchPoints,
the director of BP Consulting said he believes that men are an undervalued
demographic and have not been adequately addressed in terms of retail opportunities.
“By the late 1970s and early 1980s, gay culture, along with so-called ‘alternative’
culture — such as punk rock and fringe movements — began to filter into
the mainstream,” said Mr. Pellegrin. “Gym culture and fitness, formerly a largely
gay enclave, became the norm, while street fashion moved into high fashion.
By the 1990s, we began to see men becoming more self-aware than ever before.
Celebrities also influenced how men expressed themselves and made vanity and
style a more acceptable characteristic. Consider that masculine icons like
Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and even Barack Obama are certainly peacocks without
compromising their virility.”
Although fashion has become a bigger opportunity
in targeting men, personal grooming is the fastest growing business, he said.
As men delay marriage and fend for themselves in the home, consumer goods such
as food and cleaning products loom as bigger items for men.
“Men are learning how to shop and I definitely see men shopping in supermarkets
with more information and interest,” said Mr. Pellegrin.
He said smaller specialty
boutiques and neighborhood stores tend to have the best success with men because
they feel authentic and don’t require men to navigate complicated first floor
cosmetics departments like department stores. He points to concept stores like
Merci in Paris, Dover Street Market in London, or Odin in New York.
“These are still high street concepts and probably don’t always appeal to
the ‘ordinary’ guy, but they are very much on the right track,” said Mr.
are well-edited stores with a distinct point of view and their merchandise
is modern and confident.”
In working to foster a more men-centric vibe in their
stores, he said stores should avoid:
- overly-precious or ostentatious store
- merchandising displays based on designers versus looks/styles;
- pushy sales staff.
“The best environments feel organic and men can look for pants in one corner
and tops in another,” said Mr. Pellegrin. “I love it when stores have sporting
goods and toys mixed in. It allows discovery and the ‘cool stuff’ — tech
gadgets, sporting goods, and toys — act as lifestyle cues. Suddenly it’s
not just a store, but a great hangout to shop and learn.”
Do you agree that retailers are underestimating the potential to reach a more
fashionable and “self-aware” male consumer? What
are some of the key tactics for retailers to foster a more men-centric vibe
in their stores? What is the particular challenge for stores selling both
men’s and women’s merchandise?
- Author of “Branding the Man” Offers Insights
Into Attracting Male Consumers Into Stores – Retail TouchPoints