Over 154 Years of Service to the Furniture Industry
 Furniture World Logo

Marketing To Women - It's All About "Ethel".

Furniture World Magazine


"EVEvolve" your sales strategy so that the gender that BUYS is buying from you.

Here we are already in the final quarter of the first year of the new millennium. How are you and your company, "Me Inc." doing so far this decade? Are you working your strategy and putting your action plan for your enterprise to work? In the world of retail, your marketing strategy should consist of one word and one word only ~ "Ethel!"

The female force controls 80% of the buying decisions. That's eighty percent! Yep, in a male dominated furniture industry, "Ethel" is leading the revolution. "EVEolution" is what Faith Popcorn, the guru of predicting business and personal trends, has labeled it. She has helped set the stage of things to come for the past two decades. She has labeled "the female consumer" as one of the most important segments in marketing today. Yes, in the world of home furnishings we need "Fred & Ethel's" input. It's their home. However, "Ethel" will be the one who determines if they cross your threshold!

"I'll tell you exactly what a woman wants. Women want to be heard. They want to be heard in an exact way. Give her something real. Give her empathy." These are the words of J'Amy Owens, president of the Retail Group. Not only do women want to be heard, they should be heard. Their voices, their choices, are echoing through the land of retail. Are you listening? Listening to her? What are her concerns, and how can you help? It's now or never. Bond today so that they will buy tomorrow.

The 4 P's of marketing are in the Past. They used to be product, place, promotion, and price. Those days are gone. Retailers who want to "win" with the consumer must offer something more. We need to switch from supply-driven to customer-led marketing. We need to cultivate empathy as a business practice and to Identify with "her" as well. For this reason, today, the "I's" have it! High-tech is being replaced by high-touch. The "more" that today's consumers want are Integrity, Interaction, and Intimacy.

  • Integrity - what does your company STAND FOR?
  • Intimacy is about TRUST & RELATIONSHIPS. Ask her those questions she knows how to answer. We need to know her answers if we want to sell lots of home furnishings. That's because they tell us about HER and her WANTS. You know how to do this. These are our "People Questions!" (see the December 1998 FURNITURE WORLD article "Talk To Them About Everything But The Product" posted to the Sales Skill Index on www.furninfo.com).
  • Interaction? That's easy. Listen up! "Learn by listening rather than teach by promotion." Austen Mulinder, a customer relationship specialist, continues "if integrity and intimacy are in place, customers will engage often because the human cost of creating the same interaction with someone else is too high." Women are extremely loyal once they buy YOU. Women want a relationship to occur.

In the August 28th edition of Time magazine a study released by Young & Rubicam labeled single women as "the yuppies of the decade." "The report found that nearly 60% of single women own their own home, buying them faster than single men; that single women fuel the home renovation market. About a fifth of all home sales last year were to unmarried women, up from 10% in 1985.

Car manufacturers, Sears Homelife, and even Ace Hardware (now the "Home of the Helpful Hardware Folks"), have redesigned their showrooms to relate to this new female force!

As Faith states, the statistics leave no doubt that an EVEolution is taking place.
the statistics don't lie

  • "Women buy 50% of all cars & influence 80% of their sales."
  • "Women buy 50% of all PC's." (Sounds like a Home Office heaven to me!)
  • "48% of stock market investors are women. Half of all women own mutual funds."
  • "In families where both spouses work, wives out-earn their husbands in 22.7% of these households, and 40% of households with assets over $600,000 are headed by women."

"Women start businesses at twice the rate of men for a total of 9.1 million of them that generate $3.6 trillion annually and employ 27.5 million people--more than all the Fortune 500 companies combined in America."

This is a ton of purchasing power! I repeat. Bond today so that she will buy you tomorrow and every tomorrow after that! Plug into this power and promote you and your company, "Me Inc."

Just so I don't lose any of you of the male persuasion, let me quote Ms. Popcorn. "You don't have to be a woman to be EVEolved. You just have to be attuned to details, relationship-oriented, and process aware." Let her know the services that you offer and how you can help her, and make her life easier.

Let's look at some of the "Truths" of EVEolution:

"Walk, Run, Go To Her, Secure Her Loyalty Forever."

Women are returning home not as homemakers, but as home-workers. "Marketing that goes to the home is marketing that hits home." If you do housecalls, this fits right in. Let her know it is a service you offer to save her time, and to make this whole process of redecorating convenient for her in the privacy of her home. You're coming to visit on her turf, not as a solicitation but as a service. "Smart companies have begun to realize that a minute saved is a sale earned." Let them know, "I'm here to make this process easy, painless, and fun!" Many women think that furniture shopping is hard, painful and un-fun!

"If She Has To Ask, It's Too Late."

Now you can really showcase your professionalism and set yourself apart from all the other clerks. You will be following-up and following through. It's another service that you offer because this relationship is important to you. If she has to call you for an "update," you're done!

"It's easier to keep her than to win her back."

Remember this, if she's unhappy, "Ninety-six percent of female customers never complain. They just never go back!" If they're really angry they'll bond and "girlcott!" One of "Ethel's" biggest fears is that you will take her money, and she'll never hear from you again. Don't, please don't, prove her right! You build your client base through the follow-up techniques that you employ. Reach out and touch someone ~ "Ethel" ~ often!

"Connecting Your Female Consumers to Each Other Connects Them to Your Brand"

Today with the female population forget pink, "think link." Plug into the "urge to merge." "Seventy percent of women believe they learn more about a new product from someone who already owns it." "Women are three times as likely as men to learn about a product from other women." This is another reason that your follow-up techniques are so important. If you don't stay in touch after the sale you can't ask her to refer you. Asking for referrals is like asking for the sale. If you don't ask you don't get! However, if you didn't follow through you haven't earned the right to ask! Let your clients be your salesforce!

The last three letters in "believe" are EVE. It means...

  • Believing in EVEolution can change your business for the better.
  • Believing in EVEolution can help you to forge new and deeper connections with your clients.
  • Believing in EVEolution will create more value in your business and your life.
  • Believing in the Truths of EVEolution brings you to your own best future.

Take your company "Me, Inc." to the next level. Let it EVEolve and take off!

Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T." She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer, and management consultant. Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at finney@furninfo.com.