How to attract more women to your retail store

Here are some tips for the trade to help your business attract female customers

One of the most integral parts of any retail business is attracting female customers. Here are a few tips from mystery shoppers for making women feel at ease in your store.

Don't fill the store with fragrance

In an effort to entice women, some stores kick it into overdrive by employing a frilly feminine fragrance. Strong floral scents, which are often perceived as girly, may actually have the adverse affect and act as female repellant.

The act of scenting stores has been successful in some venues, including noted lifestyle brand Anthropologie. The clothing and home furnishing company is famous for its store's light, heavenly scent - a signature candle known as Capri Blue Volcano that is burnt at the entrance of each of the company's brick and mortar stores. Anthropologie also sells a line of exclusive scented candles and fragrances, including (you guessed it) Capri Blue Volcano. The scent is among the brand's best sellers, proving so popular that there are about 15 blog posts on DIY websites devoted to mimicking the signature aroma at home for a fraction of the cost.

Having a signature scent can be a draw, but unless you're planning on carrying an exclusive line of candles and perfumes, it's best to leave the overpowering scents to the florists and opt for something subtle and soothing.

"Pastel is not a marketing tool for women. It is fuel for ridicule."

Avoid pink

If the goal is to attract more women to your store, be warned: pink is not a marketing strategy. Consider the now-famous Bic-for her controversy; in 2012 the French pen company released a line of pens marketed to women where the only perceived difference was that they had pastel covers and cost more. The pens garnered outrage and a great deal of sarcasm from comedians and amazon users. In fact, the ridicule sparked more interest than the actual marketing itself, meaning the pens are still on the market despite not ever seeming to sell.

This is just one example, as dozens of companies have attempted to target women simply by changing the color of their products to make them seem more effete, and few have reported significant gains with this tactic. Retailers take note; pastel is not a marketing tool for women. It is fuel for ridicule.

Lower the Volume

Music in stores can be a huge attraction for customers; many people will actually stay to listen if a song they like comes on, increasing the chances that they will purchase something on impulse. The key to getting women to stay in the store is keeping the volume lower.

Changing up the song selection in a store can have a grand effect, but avoid cranking it. According to a 2008 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, women hear higher decibels than men, and according to about a hundred online search results, women are more likely to be bothered by loud music in stores than men. So if you're trying to attract more female consumers you'll want to turn down the volume. Play something fun to hear, but keep it at a reasonable decibel.

Provide excellent service

According to a study conducted by Erasmus University, women base their shopping on customer service more than brand loyalty. So step up your game; have employees be present without hovering, ask customers their names and remember them if they come back. It may sound obvious, but it's surprising how often these things don't happen, and it has a profound effect on the female customer base.

These are just a few suggestions, but the best way to improve your female client base is to ask women what they would like from your store. Pay attention to female customers, ask them for feedback; they will notice if the store suddenly takes an interest, and respond by taking an interest in you. The greatest asset to any company is good word of mouth; if a woman likes shopping at a retail location, she's more likely to let everyone know.