For too long, fathers have been represented in the media as the bumbling guy who waits outside the fitting room. He holds mom’s purse while she gets down to the important business caring for the family, handling all of the back to school shopping for the kids and leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
It’s a metaphor that has seen dads portrayed as the butt of many jokes, but is it true?
When it comes to shopping, are fathers firmly planted in the passenger’s seat?
If you don’t think so, the latest research on the shopping habits of fathers from Young & Rubicam (Y&R) may surprise you.
While advertisers and retailers have been busy falling over themselves trying to entice moms, dads have been big spenders all along.
Dads Shopping Habits
Moms are viewed as the ones who lead the charge when shopping for the kids; but parenthood changes the spending dynamic drastically. Motherhood makes women more frugal and budget conscious, while fathers tend to adopt a “spare no expense for the best” mentality.
It’s why dads are twice as likely to splurge for the newer version of a product if they think there’s a chance it’s better than the old version. Innovation matters to dads, and they like to be among the first to try something new.
It’s some pretty simple math: dads can be better for business. 33% of dads focus on finding merchandise on sale, compared to 52% of moms. Fathers are also more likely to spend more to buy the brands they believe are the best; they’re just not as concerned about price.
Millennial dads are not only redefining fatherhood — they’re influencing parenthood. These enthusiastic parents are spending more time with their kids, doing a larger portion of the household shopping and spending lots of money. And, as it turns out, millennial dads are very good for business. – Kasi Bruno, AdAge.com
So, after we’ve spent the last few decades painting dads as the ones who carry the bags to the car after mom makes all the important shopping decisions, is there any coming back?
Maybe. But it’s going to take some wooing from retailers, and perhaps more specifically in the marketing tactics of retailers, to win back the dads.
Shining the Marketing Spotlight on Dad
How do we win back the trust of fathers in the retail space after we have spent so long telling them they’re only playing for second place?
Well, for starters we can acknowledge the importance of their role in the purchasing decisions for the household. It may have been true 30 or 40 years ago that dad had no clue what was going on at home, but it’s certainly not the case anymore! Fathers are spending more time with the kids in 33% of households now, and that number grows every year.
We’ve long held the belief that dads handle the purchase of cars and gadgets, and they do! We also have to accept that more dads are becoming the primary shopper in the household and, therefore, make more decisions about food and household products.
But surely mom is still the one almost exclusively in charge of apparel purchases for the whole family, right? Nope!
We certainly can’t blame the modern dad for being offended about being treated like an incompetent fool on the home front. We can’t turn back time, but now that we know dad isn’t sitting on the sidelines, we can make sure he feels comfortable in our stores.
How to Make Dads Comfortable in the Store
We hear so much about stereotypes and why it’s important to avoid painting all members of a particular group with the same brush. For a moment, just a few seconds really, we’re going to ask you to throw out everything you know about political correctness. Can you do that?
Good! That stereotype about dads loving gadgets and all the cool things they can do? It’s entirely true most of the time. Dads want the retail trifecta that only state of the art equipment can provide: speed, uniformity, and specificity. How does this work in practical terms? Set up your store as though you’re setting up a race course.
SPEED: Don’t make a dad wait forever for a fitting room, he loses the will to live along with his desire to shop.
UNIFORMITY: Have a floorplan that borrows from the fundamental principles of professional organization by keeping like with like, so socks go with underwear and ties go with dress shirts.
SPECIFICITY: Have clear indications for the checkouts and who goes next, because a modern, busy dad just doesn’t have time for that s#!t – he wants to pay for his stuff and go!
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The Last Word on Dads
There’s no reason to launch a big apology campaign to dads everywhere for neglecting their influence on the retail scene. That would just be awkward for everybody. To woo the influential and lucrative dad market, all that needs to be done is giving them with the respect they deserve. Treat fathers like the relevant decision-makers they are and watch the magic happen!
Want to know how to utilize the latest fitting room technology that will make a dad light up? Click our link below to download “Fit Happens”