The title of this post is a bit of a tease – we’re not going to be talking about going on the lookout for men, but, instead, we’re discussing one of the latest things in shopping: men taking over some of the household shopping, And, stores are starting to cater to this phenomenon.
For example, Lowes Foods, based in North and South Carolina, have initiated gourmet sausage stations and “beer dens” where customers can drink while they shop or get a half-gallon jug filled with craft beer. (Hey, I’m not sure why they didn’t think of this before – there are women shoppers who would love to peruse the sausage offerings and maybe enjoy a beer while shopping.) The Lowes chain has said that after launch of these amenities, there was an immediate, noticeable increase of men shopping in their stores. The HyVee chain in the Midwest has included magazines featuring sports stars and weightlifting among its check-out line array and offers Mega Meat arrangements that include gas discounts – very popular with men, they report. Different store design is also coming into play – the Alfalfa’s Market chain, based in Boulder, CO, has seen an increase in male shoppers to 40% this year. As a result, in the new stores that they are building, they are incorporating features that men favor, such as always being able to see the exit, no matter the positioning in the store; minimizing visual clutter, creating straight corridors and lowering shelves by 2.5 feet so shoppers can see around them. Signs also point to man-centric aisles such as men’s heart health, men’s facial care. And, from a psychological perspective, this is all for the good, as new research points out that men who share the shopping have better relationships. Stores are also incorporating “male humor” into their aisles such as the sign that reads, “We thought it was weird at first, too.” And, they’ve been surprised by these ideas appealing not only to men but also to millennial women. One of the new efforts is Lucky’s in Boulder where a male shopper describes the experience as “like a hardware store with groceries – other stores are too pastelly and merry-merry, happy-happy – this is much better.”