Why men hate shopping

MEN HATE SHOPPING: It’s simply not true. But, largely, this axiom persists.

No, what men hate is shopping like women. Before anyone runs off to call the equality police, this isn’t a sexist statement. Or at least, not in the derogatory sense. It’s merely a recognition of a different mindset and approach to how we men like to buy things. Manporium blogger Nathan explains just how men shop…

Men need to shop with purpose

In a study by Shoppercentric, they found that nearly half of men go shopping specifically for a particular item. I can relate. We men very rarely go shopping as a generic pastime. We go because we need/want something.

Further, the same proportion of men report going into a shop to get what they want, and then leaving. No browsing after, no distractions. In, out, done.

So for men, shopping is less about impulse than it is about pure desire or necessity. You’ve got to appeal to one of those if you want our money.

Shopping online has made this easier for brick and mortar stores, in some ways. Certainly for me, because getting stuff delivered to work is not really possible, I will often browse online, before then going into store to try that particular item. I suspect I’m not atypical in this way, and shops should be looking to their online stores for data on what products men are most interested in.

Ideally, because we live in an age where there is no end of data about consumers floating around, this would be data gathered by geographic location as well. That way, if a particular locale has one product getting a vast amount more clicks than the others, the closest stores can make that the easiest to find.

Make it easier for men, in other words. You can’t imagine the frustration that we feel when we have to sort through any number of non-related items, misplaced or otherwise, to find the piece we want. Invariably, we’ll give up after not too long. I don’t have any data whatsoever to back this up, but I’d wager that if a gentleman can’t find what he’s looking for in a minute or less, he’ll just walk away.

To have that happen, as a retailer, is pretty shocking. You have done the hard bit – you’ve convinced someone to come in and buy your products. The buying decision has been made. Literally, all you have to do is guide the customer to the product, and let them give you the money. That’s the easiest bit of all.

Not being able to find what you want, in a roundabout way, neatly brings me onto my next point: Order.

Make sure all is in order

I loathe TK MAXX. It’s hell for me.  I’m sure it has no end of bargains, but the sheer lack of organisation of it just turns my stomach. Yes, I’m a little more OCD about this than most, but almost every bloke I’ve ever spoke to shares my frustration.

Much like men hate to ask for directions, we won’t ask where something is. We’ll look, and if we can’t find it, we’ll walk away.

We’re funny like that. Put it down to machismo or otherwise, but we don’t like to put ourselves in a position where we look like we don’t know something. So to admit that we can’t find something is to admit to failure.

So for a man, TK MAXX is just a hotbed of these sort of crises. There’s no consistent line up of clothing, it’s not ordered by anything more than shape. If you want something long for your legs, you visit the trouser-shape section. Galoshes, you’ll find them there. Chinos. Leggings. Plus-fours. Suit trousers. Jogging bottoms.

And then, just as you’re coming to the end of your tether, oh look, a jumper.


I confess, Anna actually once caught me organising their kitchen section, so distressed was I that woks were on the same racking or hanger as casserole pans.way

Look, it’s simple. Don’t baffle us with every item under the sun. We can lose a block of butter in an otherwise bare fridge. Put the stuff we want front and centre. Make sure you have all the sizes to hand. Make sure they have price labels on them.

I’m going to need a stiff drink after just describing TK MAXX. Where’s the vodka?


Creatures of habit

Men are creatures of habit. Don’t ask me why, I’m sure there’s some good evolutionary reason.

If we find somewhere we like, with great products and service, you’ll have a customer for life. One bad experience and you’ll lose us. Fickle, but there it is.

Consistency is the name of the game. Keep your service good, your changing rooms tidy, and for gods sake, have some order (see above, before you set me off again). Don’t be changing the layout of your shop every five minutes. That way then, I don’t get frightened like a small bird when I go to the area that normally has shoes and find myself surround by underpants.

Do that, and we will keep coming back.

Pure laziness – make it easy

Laziness might be a bit unfair, but as I mentioned, we men like to be in and out of a shop pretty quickly. We know what we want, we get it, we go. But we’re not against taking advantage of a well-placed opportunity, too.

Since we buy based on desire and need, we’re often far more likely to go out of our comfort zone to buy something other than what we went in for if we can see why we want it. Which seems like a strange thing to say, but bear with me.

We’ll be far more likely to splurge if given the opportunity to buy a ‘look’. Take the effort out of our hands. Have a mannequin there, dressed to the nines, surrounded by the items it’s wearing. Suddenly, we’ll be enticed to take our blinkers off from that one piece we came in for (that hopefully the mannequin is sporting), and from out of our peripheral vision to the fore comes all these other items we suddenly want/need.

I think the key here is curation. Definitely still have the order and clothes grouped appropriately, but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t have these little areas that put all of the items in a look within easy reach. That way then, if I like it, I don’t have to go and traipse around the shop looking for its constituent parts. Someone has already done the hard work for me, matched the clothes together in an outfit that works, found all the different sizes of said items and stuck them right under my nose.



Nathan Stowe owns and writes for Manporium.com, The Luxury Blog for Men.

You can follow him on Twitter @manporiumblog, or get in touch directly at nathan@manporium.com.