Gender optimisation: Targeting female shoppers

If your target market is mainly made up of female shoppers, optimising your ecommerce site for them should be a no-brainer. If you’ve already read our overview of the differences between male and female shoppers, you’ll know that (broadly speaking) women take a more leisurely approach to shopping than men do.

How a female flip can boost conversions

An example from Germany involves an ecommerce site selling vacuum cleaners. At first, the products were promoted in a highly technical, male-focussed way. Product names were cryptic number-letter combinations, referring to the product’s code (e.g. VT270 and VK150) with no clear description of why the product was different or why the buyer might want it. Conversions from women increased once the site owners optimised the page by creating descriptive product names and using photographs showing the cleaners in action.

example of Argos’ vacuum cleaner

Argos are displaying most of their images in a rather male-focused way. For this vacuum cleaner, they have taken a step into the female direction through adding a video demonstrating the product. More images showing the vacuum cleaner in use could be even better.

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The typical female shopper

Although everyone’s different, there are four things to remember about the average female shopper:

  1. She focuses on subjects (people) rather than objects (products)
  2. She will spend time comparing multiple products to find the perfect purchase
  3. She’s more likely to buy products recommended by friends and family
  4. She values multi-channel and still shops on the high street.

With that in mind,

What do women want?

Great Service

Women are more demanding than men when it comes to customer service. The pay-off is extra loyalty to stores that make them feel valued. Features such as customer reviews, shipping information, personalised customer service, and the look of your website are all more important to them than their male counterparts, and each one contributes towards their overall perception of your website’s service.


Women don’t shop based on their immediate need, as men tend to do. Instead, women plan ahead and will also look at and research products that they might need in the future. They shop when they feel inspired, so it’s worth fostering this feeling through curated collections and by using images of realistic women using or wearing your products. Emotive appeal is important too, so make sure your product descriptions include information on how it’s used, what it’s good for, and why it’s the best choice. Technical details should be included, of course, but shouldn't be the only content on your page.

example of Etsy’s ‘Editor’s Picks’

Good example: Etsy is promoting products with special ‘Editor’s Picks’ collections.

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Look and feel

Women rely on their senses more than men do. As they can’t physically touch your products, make sure there are close-ups and descriptions of how it feels. This way they can imagine it, and decide whether it’s the perfect product for them. Lots of large images can help with this too. Use images showing the product in action rather than on sterile white backgrounds so your female customer can imagine using it in real life. Stories, like Mooncup’s Period Drama campaign, can also help to paint a picture.

Reviews and opinions

Women take advice into account during their buying journey, and trustworthy user reviews can help them to make up their mind. You can encourage people to leave reviews by sending them a follow-up email, asking them if they enjoyed their product. A good way to avoid negative reviews is to ask customers if they’re happy: if yes, send them to the review page. If not, direct them to a private customer feedback form. You can also offer incentives for reviews, like Tesco Direct, where reviewers are entered into a prize draw after leaving feedback.


An enjoyable customer journey is essential for women, and personalisation can also improve their perception of your customer service. Set up an online chat function so that they can get instant advice on products they’re thinking of purchasing, or send out emails with pieces that you think they’ll like based on previous buying behaviour. Quick quizzes enhance their on-site experience and allow you to suggest products to them based on their needs.

example of The Body Shop’s Skincare Diagnostics quiz

Good example: The Body Shop provides this online quiz to help customers find suitable products quickly.

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Long-lasting baskets

Women use their shopping baskets as wish-lists, so try to store the data for as long as possible. Women like to look at different options over several ecommerce stores, so if they come back to find an empty basket they may feel frustrated (and you will have lost a customer). Extra options, such as prompts to save the basket as a wish list by signing in, or printing it as a PDF for bricks and mortar shopping, can also help. Our blog post on saving it for later has more information on how these functions can boost conversion rates.

Promote sales

Women are bargain hunters, and will often go out of their way to find reduced products. Sending them an email when a product on their wish-list is reduced can entice them to complete a purchase. You should also make sure sale items are easy to find, and well promoted.

Think outside the box

Women are more likely than men to shop for other people, and around 25% of visitors to menswear webshops are women shopping for their partners. Even if the majority of your target audience is male, it’s worth adding a few female optimisation touches to boost conversions. Another note is that women tend to think holistically, so will be drawn in by related products.


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At Mercurytide we believe in making e-commerce work for everyone, the customer and the business. That’s why we have developed an ecommerce approach to rapidly deliver everything you’d expect from an e-commerce website, but fully bespoke to match all your needs.

If you want to know a bit more about how we can help you optimise your ecommerce site for your target audience, or just chat about how we can help you to increase conversations overall,

please get in touch

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