Target group women: Five tips for online trading

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In recent years, the sports sector has learnt a lot about the female target group. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Do female customers need a different address? How does the strategy change? Our recommendations.

Participant in the panel discussion "Target group woman in online trade" in the ISPO Womens' Lounge 2018.
Participant in the panel discussion "Target group woman in online trade" in the ISPO Womens' Lounge 2018.

The sport business has learnt a lot about women. It has been crystallizing for several years now: Dealers and manufacturers cannot lump the female target group together with men. Experience has shown that both groups have specific needs in consulting and purchasing. The ISPO Munich 2018 takes this fact into account with the ISPO Womens' Lounge, in which it is shown again and again: There is still a lot to discuss about female customers.

This also applies to the panel discussion on the topic of "Target Group Women in Online Commerce". Moderator Christina Wolff of Serviceplan asked the questions at the beginning: Do online shops have to have their own way of addressing women? If so, why? And what are the consequences for online commerce from this, what is the strategy of the retailers? We have brought five recommendations for online trading from the discussion.

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1. You need a very good search filter

It sounds banal, but it's true. Even in 2018 there are still online shops that do not have a suitable search filter. "Good filter functions are inevitable," said Mira Raumann of the dealer Sport Conrad, which operates two large branches in Upper Bavaria: in Penzberg and in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. "Seven years ago, it was a rare thing: You had to browse through the entire range of products to find something for yourself." Today, however, it is impossible to imagine life without that.

Bettina Behringer of the online retailer Beeathletica said: "Only with the filter function is it possible to present a focused assortment, even partial assortments from the complete range." New filters could also be used to create new perspectives. "We can always think: How can we recreate the world without constantly having to invent new products," said Behringer.

2. Women want to be perceived as women

Women shop differently from men and want to be perceived as women when shopping. This is how Wolff summed up the experience of the stationary dealers. This was also confirmed by Konstantin Rentrop, head of marketing at Sport Schuster in Munich. Women moved differently through the rooms, were less targeted, and good counselling was much more important to them.

At the same time, it became clear that it is now difficult to maintain a clear distinction between stationary and online retailers. Dealers who have both a shop and an online shop must coordinate the strategy precisely. So it doesn't help if employees of a shop have been trained for the target group woman, but this attitude of the company is not reflected online. The same applies the other way round, of course.

3. Create value

Why do women have to visit an online shop? Of course, to get information and to buy, but with that alone it is very difficult to create a tribe of loyal customers. In a shop you can not only inform yourself, but also be inspired, by the shop itself or by a community of loyal customers who give each other recommendations, said Behringer, who also operates a video channel at Beeathletica. "This is my total package I'm trying to put together."

Here too, digital and analog strategies can complement each other. Raumann described projects of Sport Conrad in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The company organizes hiking tours under the guidance of its instructors, creating enthusiasm and passion for sport - and thus also potential new customers.

4. Use the social platforms

You can wait until customers visit the online shop. But why not go where they are anyway? Online means this: on Facebook, on Instagram or on other social platforms. Bettina Behringer of Beeathletica even reported that she was connected to many of her customers on Whatsapp. When one of them has unpacked a new outfit from the shop and tried it on, they often receive photos. Having a personal relationship with all or many customers is of course easier with a small company. But to create an emotional bond in general - this, too, is an added value that makes a visit to a particular online shop a special experience.

5. Don't run after every trend!

Keyword influencer: "There are terrible examples," said Konstantin Rentrop of Sport Schuster. Often this is no longer authentic at all. And if a company acts indiscriminately when selecting its influencers, the image is damaged. This is of course fatal for smaller dealers. "You can never control exactly what comes out and whether the influencer or the influencer in question is a perfect match for the company." It is questionable as to how long the influencer bubble will last and what would happen if the market were to consolidate. So: Be open for new things, but also find a common thread - and orientate yourself to it.

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