Inclusivity. This major trend has been a hit in retail for the past year. Gender fluidity and gender neutrality are influencing product offerings and retail displays. However, a contradictory trend is also impacting retail space, especially in the consumer electronics sector. Gendered marketing is another trend.
There are new brands popping up all the time that focus on women-focused products. Tech-enabled wallets, and a host of feminine tech accessories – all exclusively for women are on the market today.
How can we reconcile these seemingly contradicting trends? Are these gendered electronics appropriate in a world where women fight for equality?
Pink is not the answer
Remember the days when advertising was so gendered. There were televisions for men and vacuums for women, and a pink phone that was advertised as “a princess telephone for the homemaker who is interested in the finer points of interior decor.” This was the age of provincial promotions. Marketing is no longer sexist or successful. Take a look at these illogical gendered marketing failures.
The tech and consumer electronics industries are more masculine than any other industry. This has been a topic of hot debate for many years. This problem cannot be solved by pink labeling.
Bloomberg explains that pink is not a strategy. If a product is only offered in one color, such as pink, it conveys that we don’t care about this.
This type of gendered marketing, especially in tech, must be more strategic. It starts by recognizing women’s unique shopping habits and needs.
Talk to women directly and they will listen
Smart, creative partnerships are one way to achieve this.
Neiman Marcus is a good example. Recently, the department store partnered with UK-based tech accessory retailer SodaSays to display tech products for women in its stores. Grace Gould, founder of Soda Says, “had the idea for Soda sayss after she worked in the technology industry and noticed that most products were made for men. There was a dearth of innovative items for women.”
These areas look and feel just like pop-ups in stores, but don’t shout “women”. They are colorful and playful, but not too pink. They are tech-driven but not too much. A strategic way to tell consumers is to create a section of the department store near women’s clothes.
It’s not chicken and eggs. Are women not shopping for tech products simply because they don’t want them? We could continue to talk about the fact that super heroes movies have been unable to include a female lead for many years, but Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman broke this rule – and made a lot of money! They become more attractive if tech products are easy to access and communicate with the consumer.
It’s not as easy as installing a section with a bold “Tech for Her” tagline. It takes a lot more thought and smart solutions-focused strategies.
This new range of tech products for women is not tech products in the traditional sense. These products are tech-based lifestyle solutions that address women’s specific challenges. When promoting these products in-store it is important that displays answer one question: What problems do these products solve?
The industry is changing in a way that tech enhances every sector. Women’s lifestyle products should not be defined by tech products. There are many products that target female genders, but they fail to meet a real need. Gendered marketing is just more clutter. Solutions are more important, and this is how products should be marketed and organized in-store.
Don’t make it a one-size-fits-all affair with the females. The standout at CES 2018 were state-of-the art breast pumps, which give moms flexibility and freedom. This is a solution for modern women. The U.S. Department. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, there are almost 47% of civilian workers in the country’s workforce made up of women. This pump could be displayed in a career clothing section. How about undergarments? Athletic wear? Athletic wear?
InvisaWear, a range of smart jewelry was introduced at CES this year. These accessories include buttons that can contact 911 in an emergency. This is something women often experience more than men. There are many safety-enhancing products. These products look great at first glance and would make a great gift or impulse purchase. These products can be worn with sports wear or cosmetics for those who run a lot. Evening bags are another option. What about a travel display that features clothes that pack well? Safety is a top concern for women who travel alone.
The trend towards gendered tech products is not a warning sign. It’s actually a move toward equality and elimination of barriers. The gender gap begins to shrink as brands strategize, create and implement products that empower and enhance women’s lives. Smart in-store displays can help retailers make an impact.
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