The fashion industry is characterized by intense competition and buyers who are more concerned with quality and value for their money. This means that firms in the fashion industry need to fully understand the shopping behavior of their existing customers in order to retain them. The also need to understand the shopping behavior of various groups in order to turn potential customers into actual customers. Consumer behavior refers to the “process of selecting, securing (buying), using and disposing off a particular item” (Kinley & Josian, 2010).
A study of the consumers’ behavior helps the retailers to understand how their customers feel or think about the products and the factors that influence them to buy particular items. Consequently, the retailers will be in a position to stock the right items. Research indicates that men and women are associated with different shopping behaviors especially when shopping for fashion items or goods. This paper focuses on men’s shopping behavior. The analysis will include how men look for functionality in clothes, their shopping process, what attracts them to a store and how their shopping behavior differs or compares with that of women.
Men’s Shopping Behavior
Men usually consider shopping to be a “mission that has to be accomplished within the shortest time possible” (Belleaue, 2001).
This means that men always visit the stores with the intention of buying instead of just finding out what is new. Most men do not shop regularly especially for fashion items. Men tend to shop when there is a need to do so. However, they are likely to engage in impulse buying as they look for the specific item that they need (Belleaue, 2001). Men tend to do a lot of shopping when the season changes (Belleaue, 2001). For example, as winter begins men will always change their wardrobe in response to the changes in the weather. Research indicates that men view the shopping process as a competition (Belleaue, 2001). Thus they shop to win by looking for unique items that are not associated with majority in the population.
How Men Look for Functionality in Clothes
Men tend to consider a particular fashion item to be a good solution to their needs if it closely matches their expectations. The selection process that is used by men to identify the right item resembles a “linear purchase path” (Wyner, 2011). This means that they use a step-by-step criterion to identify what they need. Men are associated with a functional mindset in regard to making shopping decisions (Wyner, 2011).
This allows them to indentify the specific attributes that they prefer while shopping for fashion items. Thus men will always decide in advance on the particular fashion items that they need. This explains why they visit the stores with the intention of buying rather than looking for what is new. The functional mindset enables men to concentrate on the specific attributes that they consider to be important to them (Wyner, 2011). Such attributes include color, size, the quality of material and price. These attributes are used by men to choose their preferred fashion items through the elimination method. This shows that men tend to be keener in finding their preferred fashion items and are not likely to compromise on the attributes or the quality of the items that they are looking for. Since men consider the shopping process to be a mission, the elimination process allows them to pick the right item (Wyner, 2011).
Besides, it enables them to spend the least time possible in the stores.
Men Verses Women
First, both men and women are highly concerned with the quality of the items that they are looking for. Quality is the driving force in the fashion industry. This is because the customers value the items that they shop for in terms of the quality that is associated with them (Belleaue, 2001). Both men and women are more willing to spend more cash on a particular item if it is of high quality and has the attributes that they are looking for. Second, both men and women are interested in a variety of items. They like to compare various options in regard to the fashion items that are on offer. Besides, they are aware of the brands that are highly valued in the society.
This enables them to make the perfect choice (Wyner, 2011). Finally, both men and women are price conscious. They tend to look for the best quality at the lowest possible prices in the market.
First, men consider shopping to be a job that has to be done within the shortest time possible. Thus they spend as little time as possible in the stores as they shop. Women on the other hand prefer taking their time to detour the stores as they shop for the fashion items. Unlike men, women do not decide in advance on what they are looking for or the specific attributes that they prefer. Consequently, they take a lot of time as they try various options in the available stock. Second, men are likely to have a mild reaction to issues such as the availability of the items that they are looking for, parking space at the stores and the length of the check-off queue (Johnson, 2010). On the other hand, women are likely to have a very strong reaction to these issues.
Third, men are likely to experience little difficulty while shopping and often do without the assistance of the sales associates. Women on the other hand, are likely to experience difficulty and prefer to be assisted by sales associate. Finally, women value the ambiance of the store in terms of the response of the sales associates, the layout, accessibility and available stock (Johnson, 2010).
Men on the other hand are less concerned with the ambiance of the store. Unlike women who prefer big stores with several departments, men prefer smaller stores that stock the specific items that they are looking for.
The Purchasing Process
Men prefer a purchasing process that is very simple and takes the shortest time possible. Consequently, they decide on the items that they need in advance in order to save on time. Their purchasing process begins with the identification of the attributes of the fashion items that they prefer (Aslanbigy, 2011).
Men’s decision on what to buy is usually influenced by the views of their peers, personal preferences, quality of the items and the financial resources that are available (Sulton-Brady, Dary, & Jury, 2010). After making up their minds, they visit the stores that are likely to stock such items. The attributes act as a guide for selecting the items that meet the expectation of men. This explains why men hardly involve sales associates in the process of purchasing fashion items.
Men consider the purchasing process to be successful if they are able to find a good solution that closely matches their preferred attributes.
Men are more interested in departmental stores which stock a variety of fashion goods. The choice of stores among men is influenced by the following factors. First, men prefer stores in which they are able to find all the merchandise that they are looking (Belleaue, 2001). Second, accessibility of the store is also very important to men. They prefer stores that can easily be located or accessed from their residential areas.
Besides, they will always visit a store if they are likely to find parking space for their cars. Third, the attitude of the sales associates also influence men’s preferences for stores (Johnson, 2010). They will always prefer a store whose sales associates are willing to help them to locate items or look for additional stock. Finally, the amount of time that is spent at the check-off system also influences men’s preference for stores. They tend to shop in stores where they are likely to spend the least time possible.
Importance of Quality
The quality of the product is very important to men. Men usually look for specific attributes that determine their choice of products.
This means that men are not likely to compromise on quality especially if there are many sellers in the market who stock the items that they are looking for. In most cases, men are usually ready to spend more cash on an item if it is of high quality (Fiynn, 2011). They also value the quality of services in the stores. They tend to prefer stores whose sales associates are willing to offer assistance when necessary.
Besides, other services such as the check-off system, the packaging and incentives such as discounts are highly valued by men.
The above analysis indicates that men have a functional mindset and this enables them to determine the specific items that they need (Belleaue, 2001). They use the elimination method to identify what they need (Wyner, 2011).
Unlike women who consider shopping to be a routine, men consider shopping to be a specific task that has to be accomplished in the shortest time possible. The quality of products and the services that are offered in various stores determine the loyalty of men to such stores (Johnson, 2010).
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