Companies Aren't Giving Women What They Want

A new book says retailers should focus on saving women time, not giving them shopping sprees.

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Here's what we already knew: Women are busy, stressed out, and have no time for themselves. Almost three in four mothers work, and they're also usually in charge of grocery shopping, laundry, and other household tasks.

Here's what the new book from Boston Consulting Group, Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World's Largest, Fastest-Growing Market, tells us: Most companies are doing a terrible job of appealing to those over-worked women. In a survey of 12,000 women conducted for the book, almost half of the respondents said the investing industry needed to do a better job of meeting their needs. Similar levels of dissatisfaction were found with the auto industry, banking sector, life insurance companies, and physicians. What are all these companies doing wrong? The authors, Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre, say the primary problem is that they fail to address women's chief concerns, such as time management. Women cited love, health, and emotional well-being as among the top things that make them happy; only 5 percent mentioned shopping. So focusing advertisements on "shopping til you drop" concepts are likely to fall on uninterested ears.

Instead, the authors urge companies to think about how to make it easier for women to save time, be healthier, and spend more time with their families. They offer several examples of companies that do this well. Whole Foods emphasizes healthy eating; Tesco sells food alongside books, CDs, and banking services for added convenience. Amy's Kitchen sells healthy, organic frozen meals, and P&G's Swiffer makes it easier for women to delegate cleaning tasks to kids since it's so easy to use.

Do you think the authors' advice to companies is sound? If so, do you have favorite products or retailers that help you save time or improve your life in some way? My list includes my organizational Planner Pad, Comcast On Demand (when it works), customer service lines that don't keep me waiting, grocery delivery service, and online shopping with easy returns.

What's on your list?

  • For more, read The Age of the Alpha Mom.