What Women (Shoppers) Want: Emotions, Engagement, Experience

By : SPHmagazines
February 15, 2011
Tags: , , , ,
Category: Research

"The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?" (Sigmund Freud)

One of the big mysteries in our world, arguably, is the women psyche.  With top Fashion and Beauty dollars at stake, most marketers wish they could effortlessly delve into every woman’s mind.  They are conventionally regarded as indecisive, finicky and emotionally-driven when it comes to shopping.  Yet it may surprise many to find out that only one-fourth of our women readers engage in impulsive purchases while shopping. [1] 

The truth of the matter, and one that is frequently misunderstood, is that women are a multifaceted shoppers.  They treat shopping as an exercise involving both their cognitive and affective domains.  According to Nielsen Media Index 2010, the majority of SPH Magazines women readers refuse to succumb to the knee-jerk reaction of sensory appeal (read: that big SALES sign) and take some time to weigh the abundance of options at hand. 

Yessiree, today's women shoppers are as instinctive as they are calculative. That means marketers are faced with the unenviable challenge of appealing to both the head and heart of their women consumers.


The A-B-Cs of Emotional Engagement 

Let me put aside logical appeals for now, and focus this article on emotional engagement—touted by many as the way to reach out to women shoppers in Asia today. 

At SPH Magazines, we find that on average, 9 in 10 of our women’s titles readers swear by familiar brands they grow up with. Brand visibility is one thing, but a deeper underlying factor, we believe, is emotional connection. There is a comforting sense of trust, intimacy and security—a connection—that attracts consumers to some brands more than others.

As such, one way for brands to engage their women consumers is by appealing to their values and beliefs. Consumers today are more value-driven than ever. They believe in morality, causes and ethics. They support fair trade, responsible consumption and eco-friendly movements. In fact, as many as 3 in 4 women readers of SPH Magazines women’s titles actually consult a product’s label prior to purchase.

This signals that our readers—your potential consumers—are interested beyond what meets the eyes, to understand what constitutes a brand, what it stands for, and what it believes in. Have a conversation with your consumers at this wavelength. Every woman and man has a story, as does every brand—so get to know your consumers and align your brand values with theirs.

Once you start a conversation that appeals to their goals, aspirations and insecurities, be sure to be there to address your consumers’ concerns when they turn to you. As a consumer, I’ll let you in on a secret: we are, more often than not, totally clueless. We may do our product research beforehand, but we also thirst for extra assurance!

Almost 1 in 2 of our Seventeen readers, for example, believe more in a product recommended by experts. Honestly, how many of us could claim not to feel the tiniest bit of vulnerability when we consume products that goes onto—or worse, into!—our body?

D for Distance: Going where they are

Emotional engagement is also determined by location. 59% of our Shape readers claim to be influenced by point-of-sale advertisement (e.g. on supermarket shelves). This indicates that consumer engagement at point-of-sale where purchase decision is made—a personalized touch-screen experience, or an interactive Ad on SPH Media Box strategically located near retail outlets—could go far to reassure and convert a potential consumer.

In the end, shopping is not just a cold transaction. When done right, it is ultimately an experience which allows consumers to feel engaged and connected to the brand via logical, sensory and emotional platforms.

With our extensive range of lifestyle titles and a dedicated research arm, SPH Magazines has amassed veritable knowledge on lifestyle consumer insights in Singapore. We take pride in our range of in-house studies and regularly engage external third-party research to obtain the latest information on our consumer market. To explore how to make the most of our range of titles to better engage to your consumers, drop an email at garlini@sph.com.sg and share your thoughts with us.

SPH Magazines Research seeks to provide comprehensive consumer insights and industry horizon scanning. An inquisitive bunch obsessed with problem solving, we constantly seek to push the boundaries of media research through comprehensive in-house and third party research.


[1] This includes readers of SPH Magazines' women titles, including Her World, Shape, Simply Her, Female and Seventeen.  All primary data in this study is based on Nielsen Media Index 2010, unless indicated otherwise. 

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