Mark Haviland is managing director of digital consultancy Rakuten Marketing Europe.
Men used to be underserviced by retailers, which traditionally targeted their online efforts at the female shopper. However, we are in the midst of a revolution -the industry now caters for a male population with a growing interest in fashion. The British Fashion Council introduced London Collections: Men in 2012, and this week it celebrated its third birthday with the biggest show to date.
With research from Mintel showing the men’s fashion industry now contributes £10.4bn to the UK economy, there are huge opportunities for retailers to benefit from this rapidly growing market. However, men cannot be targeted in the same way as women; a different approach is needed to effectively reach today’s fashion-conscious and tech-savvy male shoppers.
Ecommerce use has grown significantly among the male demographic, with our research showing 85% of men prefer to shop online rather than on the high street. One of the most appealing aspects of online shopping for men is the ability to analyse and compare items, reviewing purchases across a number of sites.
Women are more focused on value and new trends, whereas men prefer to read up on product descriptions and invest in classic styles. Access to the right depth of information and ease of experience are key for male consumers, so planning marketing spend to deliver the right formats and environments is critical to success.
Men have also been quick adopters of tablets, and our findings show more than half have dedicated shopping apps installed on these devices. Therefore retailers must ensure their site is mobile responsive and apps are transactional in order to best appeal to male shoppers.
By selling through content-rich and mobile-optimised websites, retailers can offer a smooth multichannel experience that caters to men’s on-the-go attitude to shopping.