Why Won’t Men Shop At High-Fashion E-Tailers?

Much has been made recently of getting guys to buy expensive threads online. Why? WSJ‘s Ray Smith reported this week that while men don’t shop as often as women, they do tend to spend more when they open their wallets.

So, as a revenue booster, getting guys to point, click and shop has been a top priority for sites like Gilt Man and Net-a-Porter, which we’ve reported before is launching a men’s site called Mr. Porter.

But it’s not been the easiest task in the world. While these sites have amassed popularity and millions of members among women, they’re not even bookmarked in most men’s browsers. Smith’s story cites a BIGresearch study in which men said they most often shop at Amazon, Macy’s, Wal-Mart, eBay and Land’s End when they go online to buy clothes.

But it wouldn’t be that way if men’s online shops — or shops that offer men’s clothing — paid a little more respect to the fact that there are men who like to buy clothes just as much as society would have us believe all of womankind does. E-stores and brick-and-mortar shops are set up so that all the men’s stuff is impossible to get to. If sites want to really help men shell out more money, they’d be well-advised to follow a few tips.

Make it easier to find what we want.

I know I can’t speak for all male shoppers, but as much as love clothes, I don’t like to spend a lot of time shopping — and that goes for both in-store and online retail. Streamline the process by clearly delineating

Don’t make us wade through women’s clothing.

We don’t want to waste time on bolts of cloth that we can’t wear. And we don’t want to feel like our need for clothing is any less important than women’s, but every store makes us feel that way. Why do men only get one tab at the top of the page, while women get six or seven? Divide your landing page into men’s and women’s sections, and maybe we’ll feel a little more welcome in your online store.

Show us how to get to the sale. Now.

The clearance rack, the sale section, whatever you want to call it — that’s where we’re going to go first, and sites need to facilitate our getting there. It’s our little burst of optimism, our hope that we might find something great at half price. Once we’ve exhausted that area, we’ll gladly accept that we might have to pay MSRP.

Free shipping, please.

If it’s true that we spend more money than women do on clothes, can we get a little break when we’re checking out? It’s just a suggestion, but the new men’s-only sites might want to keep it in mind. If Zappos can do it, so can you!

Don’t treat us like we don’t know what we’re doing.

Chances are, if we’re spending over $100 on a tie, we don’t need instruction on how to tie that tie (we’re talking to you, Thomas Pink). Giving us guides, tips and tricks on how to wear certain items is helpful, to be sure. But it only reinforces the idea that men as a group don’t know how to deal with clothing, and for those of us crazy enough to spend $100 on a tie, that’s pretty insulting.

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