Retail Holiday Sales: How to Sell to Men and Help Them Buy Like Heroes

Two men window shopping

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Updated December 15, 2023. As a retailer, I loved the day before Christmas Eve. All the planners had purchased, and the after-Christmas sales had begun.

The guys were now considering going shopping...

Historically, on Christmas Eve, the crowds gradually thin out, and you begin to notice more and more men - the malls were practically fueled by testosterone.

And while the pandemic changed many things, men will still be last-minute shoppers.

And that's great!

Why? Because when it absolutely, positively has to be there, you don't go shopping online; you go to your local retailer.

Use these retail sales training tips (no matter what gender salesperson you are) to help drive your retail holiday sales.

If you want to know how to sell to men, understand this about your male customers:

  • We are not that price-driven, sorry, discount retailers. We may “say” we are, but remember, you’re basically dealing with a boy discovering your merchandise for the first time.

  • We often show how much love we have for the men and women we are buying for by the price tag or size of the gift we choose, whether that's a toy, jewelry, or clothing.

  • It's almost like we are treating ourselves when we splurge on someone else during the holiday season, so don't try to limit us.

  • We want to win and be admired for the gift we give.

  • Above all, men hate shopping; it's not a thrill – it's a chore. This makes your part in the process more challenging.

Strategies for Success

Engage Male Shoppers with Humor. Help us by getting us to laugh or at least smile with you so we can acknowledge we want your help in selecting a product. Humor goes a long way in making male shoppers comfortable; in the long run, you'll convert them into customers.

Build Trust with Expert Advice. Establish your store as a go-to destination for expert advice. Host in-store workshops or product demos that cater to male interests, such as 'DIY home improvement sessions' or 'latest tech gadget showcases.' This not only builds trust but also positions your store as an authority in the field, aligning with the experiential retail trend.

Create a male-friendly store environment. If it were me, I'd put a sign over the most expensive bike or another toy that read, "Yes, you can buy their love." In a tech store, a sign could read, "Upgrade your gadgets, upgrade your life." If I owned a liquor shop, I might put up a sign, "Alcohol always makes the in-laws nicer." In a sports store, a sign could say, "Outfit her for victory." And, if I had a lingerie boutique, it might be, "Guys, Always guess smaller if you want to be a hero."

Engage Male Shoppers with Interactive Technology. In your store, incorporate interactive technology like virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) experiences. For instance, a VR setup where male shoppers can visualize products in a real-world setting or an AR app that helps them see how a piece of clothing would look on them can significantly enhance engagement. This use of 'retail technology innovations' not only entertains but also provides practical assistance in product selection.

Leverage Personalized Marketing. Utilize data-driven insights to offer personalized recommendations. Tools like AI-powered shopping assistants can suggest products based on past purchases or browsing behavior, making the shopping experience more relevant and efficient. This approach taps into the 'personalization in retail' trend, showing male shoppers that you understand their preferences and value their time.

Get the idea? Preparing for the holidays is not only for men but works for all shoppers. Using these strategies will help men feel understood and catered to, which is crucial for converting them into loyal customers.

How to sell to men in your retail store:

  • Don’t leave us alone – we’ll walk.
  • Get us to linger by giving us something to play with.
  • Don’t follow a potential male shopper around, or you’ll spook us; check in every few minutes by pointing out something about what we’re looking at.
  • If you wrap, let us know that upfront – it is a great option that makes a difference to our overall shopping experience.
  • Acknowledge your return policies immediately – make it safe for us to buy.
  • If we trust you and pick something out, ask us, “Who else is on your list?” We only want to do this chore once.
  • Figuratively take us by the hand if we’ve never been in this type of store before, whether it's lingerie, cameras, or jewelry. Give us options; don’t expect us to know what we want; we don't want to risk being wrong.
  • If we can’t decide between a couple of items (and it's not Christmas Eve,) suggest we purchase the best item and return it if we change our mind before giving; that way, we’ll at least have something. Remind us that otherwise, we’ll have to return to the chore of the mall again, and worse, you might lose out because the item could be gone.
  • If you’re an apparel store, don’t make a big deal if we don’t know the size of our wife, girlfriend, buddy, or child. Instead, ask us to point out someone in the store about their size. Remind us it can all be returned.

What to show to guys?

  • Big, bright, or cool.
  • The closer it gets to Christmas, the more likely we are to splurge - especially on luxury fashion, expensive jewelry, or niche hobbies and interests - even just for ourselves. So, even if you sell menswear or skincare, you can still treat us in a way that values us rather than dismisses us.
  • Instead of a gift card, suggest an outfit or item of equal value so the giftee has something to unwrap and it looks like the gift giver at least tried to get something just for them.

What not to do

  • Ask for our budget. If you allow us to limit ourselves, you’ll dumb down our choices and lose out.

In Sum

It's clear that men's shopping preferences vary widely - while some enjoy the experience, others may find it tedious. Preferences range from those who favor online shopping to those who are influenced by savvy marketing and even those who don't hesitate to indulge in high-value purchases.

By adapting your sales approach with the insights provided, you can cater to this diverse group effectively. These strategies ensure that regardless of their shopping style or the size of the gift they're seeking, every male customer can leave feeling like a hero, having found the perfect gift. This approach not only enhances their shopping experience but also cements your store as a versatile and understanding retail destination.

If you help men become heroes in their gift-giving endeavors, your December sales will soar, transforming the holiday shopping experience into a triumph for every male customer who walks through your doors.