With Mother’s Day coming, as well as the April hot weather wake-up call for summer here in the East coast of the USA, where we hit over 90 degree weather, I thought I’d address web sites that sell beauty products and/or target women.
Women are big gift givers. Case in point is myself and my recent attempts to surprise a generous friend with a gift for her birthday. She’s inspired me over the years with her energy, humor, ability to pull me out of my shell, and most recently, her dramatic weight loss. She deserved nothing less than something from my heart. And, something she’d use and perhaps never buy for herself. She works hard like me and women like us don’t know how to be nice to ourselves (although she’s more loyal to her fingernails than I am.)
What I would not settle for were gift certificates or gift cards. We live about 45 minutes from each other, but we’re so busy, casual get-togethers only happen if business related. I wanted something I could have delivered to her house, that wasn’t flowers. Or cake. I know of some amazing desert sites that deliver, but she’s not about to wreck her hard work on a big ‘ole triple-decker chocolate cake.
So, I went in search of some cool luxury beauty items for her. Massage oil for her muscles after a good workout was one idea. I needed to be inspired too. I was willing to let any beauty product web site persuade me. Entice me. Help me find something affordable, unusual, and luxurious.
Women typically have negative 5 minutes to spend browsing, so I was lucky to be working from home and sneaking some time in to shop around. No brands really jumped into my mind, but I accept that because I’m working all the time and rarely get to stores or read women’s magazines. I have no idea what’s really cool, unless my daughter fills me in.
User Experience Details
One of the odd things I ran into was the definition of the word “Gift”. It no longer means a way to pick out products and ship them to someone else. It also means “gift card” and “gift certificate”. This made browsing take longer because web sites used the generic word “gifts” in their link labels, when they really meant “gift cards”.
Another thing I noticed are gift products that do the right thing by showing before and after pricing for specials, but don’t help you understand how fast they can ship or that they will gift wrap. Before I click to buy, I need just a little more incentive to do so. Incentives come in the form of answering questions customers have.
One site said, “Free samples with each order”. Cool! But did that include gifts too? And, silly me, would it be possible for me to get a sample of the gift I’m sending to my friend? Women LOVE to share and talk about the products they. What is better than an “I have that too!” or “I tried it too and loved it”. Our lipstick is like a man’s beer.
Sephora had a nifty thing where you could sort by the type of mom. What if you’re a combination mom? They missed something small however, for the Natural Mom category. As one of them, ingredients are vital selling points. Even a brief hint that no whales died for a product, or the oils are all oil and no chemicals, and there’s no bear urine in natural products is a nice thing to know in advance of clicking for more information.
Bath and Body works keeps giving away things like free totes with products, which has lured me a few times. But, nowhere does it remind anyone to buy gifts for a friend and that friend will get that free tote or makeup bag. It’s the extra subtle “I splurged for you” message there that would attract a generous giving customer. Yes, you have to kinda read their minds.
Bath and Body Works is one of my favorite stores. But have they forgotten dial-up connections? Women are less inclined to be using high-speed Internet connections (I hope that statistic is changing.) They also may be in a pickle when sneaking a peek at the office if they have to wait for 10 gigantic boxes with products inside to load before The Boss comes stalking around. They may have to jump off very fast.
I thought it was funny as heck when I found their “Gifts” link in their navigation and arrived to see the words, “1001 Gifts for Mom”. Fortunately they break it down with some classification boxes for easy sorting by type and price, but still….
And finally, something to remember about marketing to women is that they trust each other before they’ll trust you. Allowing user feedback on products shows your company understands women. In addition to being generous gift givers, they love to talk about the products they buy.
So, what did I end up getting for my friend? Nothing yet. There’s so much to look at, I can’t decide.
For a woman shopper like me, a BUY NOW AND SAVE 50% AND WE’LL PLANT A TREE AND HIRE A HUNKY MASSAGE THERAPIST FOR YOU would just about do the trick.