I've just been reading today on Mobile Entertainment Magazine that Forty five per cent of BT's Broadband Anywhere ToGo smartphone customers have browsed the mobile web for goods or services from their devices. What's more, a third have checked a price, searched for a review or helped them make their buying decision. And one-fifth have actually made a purchase online (although it doesn't specify whether online via mobile or PC internet).
The results came out of an ICM poll among 1,000 BT Total Broadband Anywhere customers between June 17th-24th 2008. Unfortunately I can't find a link to the study as the thing I'm interested in is of the customers who responded, how many were men and what category of shopping are we talking about here? Grocery shopping is a very different animal to fashion shopping or gift buying.
As a woman myself, I know I have very different shopping habits to any of the men in my life. I do a lot of shopping online, but that's for stuff that's easier to get online and is not particularly enjoyable to shop for - typically business books, stationery, PC consumables, vitamins and food supplements and the like. There isn't a creative process involved in the purchase of (m)any of these things except making sure you get the best price and reliable delivery. Fashion shopping online is more than a bit hit or miss with me except for the basics and actually, it's just easier for me to get that kind of stuff from my local High Street.
I still enjoy shopping though - as in going out for a few hours and hanging round the shops to see what I can find. This is not goal driven shopping, this is about shopping as a creative process, finding some inspiration, seeing what's out there - a mix of finding the right top, shoes, bag or whatever, that just matches perfectly with something you already have and oh, you just managed to get it for a bargain price too. It's about feeding all the senses during the shopping experience - sight, sound, smell, touch and probably to a lesser degree the taste, although a good cup of tea and a scone and jam does help fuel the shopping session.
There are not many e-commerce sites, let alone m-commerce sites that appeal to the creative nature of a shopping expedition. EBay does it to some degree as it takes a bit of practice to work out what things to look for and also what to buy without making huge mistakes on your purchase. An in-depth knowledge of brands, fabric quality and the psychology of ad-listing will help you in this respect. Another example is my weekly organic grocery delivery from Farmaround. I order fruit and vegetables weekly and I'm never quite sure exactly what's going to be in them as it's dependent on season and what's on offer. The creative process kicks in as there's an element of surprise on arrival and then I can start planning what I'm going to cook that week.
So my question is, if men and women shop in different ways (transactional vs discovery), how is that accounted for with the online shopping experience be that via mobile or PC?