It is no surprise that research shows that females are more critical than males of the retail experience. What is surprising is how many wine and liquor stores lack in their approach to attract their largest customer base —women. In the last decade, beverage sales among women have exponentially increased year over year, yet the shopping experience in many stores hasn’t changed to meet the needs of this audience. Given the uptick in global annual sales, it is safe to assume optimizing your store to attract women will increase your overall sales. The question is, are you doing everything you can to make your store more female friendly?
#1: Lessen the “Guy Vibe”.
Lessening the guy vibe is easy, and with a few minor changes you can instantly transform the shopping experience. While men care about safety, cleanliness, and service, women have much higher expectations in these areas and they believe that stores they frequent should exceed their minimum standards. Make sure the inside and outside of your store is well lit. Clean up clutter, create open spaces, and make aisles easy to navigate. When possible, employ female staff to reduce gender barriers and to add an extra layer of comfort for the women that prefer to engage with other women (especially during the holidays when customers are shopping for gifts).
#2: Add Interest to Every Touchpoint
In today’s world of instant gratification, customers love to walk away with nuggets of knowledge. Regardless of the purpose of the purchase, everyone enjoys feeling like they gained something– especially when it is unexpected. When customers feel the value, they’ll keep coming back for more (and they’ll likely tell others about their experience—which is exactly what you want). Consider the following as ways you can wow your customers:
#3: Host Events Tailored to Women
- Instead of posting only the wine rating on the shelf tag, customize the tags within your POS system to showcase ratings of staff members, customers, etc. Adding a personal touch on products you chose to highlight will likely lead to increased sales. This also gives you a solid platform for soliciting reviews via Yelp and other social media platforms. Everyone loves to be heard, and considering women dominate men in social media usage, targeting them specifically in this area will be to your advantage.
- Post “Did You Know” facts on your receipts. Fun facts give your customers something to talk about with their friends and family (and offer word-of-mouth promotion). The receipt becomes more than just a receipt when customers learn that Winston Churchill’s mother invented the “Manhattan”.
- Cross promote items throughout the store. Pairing suggestions placed strategically will not only increase average cart sales, but will add authenticity to your level of expertise. For example, an Extra Dark (70%) chocolate bar perfectly pairs with a Cabernet Sauvignon, so have staff members make the recommendation while helping customers. Don’t sell it? Don’t worry. The mere suggestion is enough to showcase why a customer should continue to frequent your store.
- Trigger automated email marketing messages through your POS system based on items customers purchased. When you collect customer data and build profiles, your POS system can email thank you notes to customers for their purchase and provide them cool tips, such as a recipe for the perfect Negroni (since you know they just bought a fifth of Barr Hill Tom Cat).
There is no better way to garner the attention of your female customers than to organize events just for them. Instead of the typical wine tasting, host spirit tastings that educate guests on terminology, production and crafting classic cocktails. Encourage guests to bring spouses, partners, BFFs, etc. Consider partnering with a local female master sommelier or brewer to heighten the experience. An add-on to create the perfect party is to invite pairing experts (cheese, meat, chocolate, etc.) to showcase their goods and services. The cross promotion will be great and it will likely bring new customers into your store.
Overall, if you create an environment that is female-friendly you’ll inadvertently create an environment that is more friendly and desirable for every customer. You’ll find that not only will the women shoppers keep coming back, but the men will too.