Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grocery Stores (and churches?) overwhelming to men

Help! Grocery store still overwhelming to men

By Brad Dorfman Sun May 27, 10:04 AM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - So, this guy walked into a grocery store ... and got completely overwhelmed.

U.S. men are doing more and more grocery shopping, both for themselves and their families, but retailers are still not doing much to make the trip any more enticing, retail consultants and industry experts said....

"Men do represent a large part of grocery shopping dollars and they aren't being very well accommodated ... sales are being lost," Mandy Putnam, vice president at consulting firm TNS Retail Forward said...

In a recent report titled "Men in Grocery Stores," Putnam said that men shop inefficiently, which leads to missed sales for retailers....

Many men have difficulty finding items, forego buying rather than risk purchasing a substitute for an item on the grocery list and hesitate to ask for help if they can't find an item, Putnam said in her report....

"They never ask for help, except maybe from the butcher, but they always say they never had problems finding anything when the cashier at the register asks," she said.

Unlike women, male shoppers typically focus more on convenience than price, and retailers will need to cater to that need in order to attract them to their stores, consultants said.

Unlike women, men tend to hone in on the specific thing they want to buy instead of surveying the entire aisle, consultants said…. "They were great at picking out the stuff that they bought before. It's the new stuff, or something new and different that a manufacturer is trying to promote, that they have trouble with," said Putnam, who walked along with men as they shopped as part of her study.

Men also tend to bristle at the overwhelming number of choices in grocery aisles, with the cereal aisle being one prime example, Putnam said.

"One guy I thought was going to have a nervous breakdown in the cereal aisle," Putnam said, adding that this man, in his early 30s, worked the night shift as a police officer in a dicey part of town and was otherwise used to stressful situations.

Retailers still refer to their main customer as "she," with women still doing the majority of the family shopping, so a major overhaul of stores to make them more attractive to men is not likely.

Sounds like men are the problem because we weren't wired to shop the way the store intends for us. Yes, these retailers could change the store to better serve men...but they're not likely too.

I came across this article just as I’m diving into David Murrow’s book “Why Men Hate Going to Church. (Thomas Nelson, 2005) You know the statistics: 90% of men believe in God, 83% of men call themselves Christians, 30% of men attend church regularly.

But do you read those stats, then yawn and move on…Or have you wrestled with what it would take for your church to be reaching twice as many men as presently attend?

I’m not just talking about changing the lilac paint on the sanctuary walls of one church I recently visited. An extreme makeover may be one option, but it will take more than hanging a record deer mount in the men’s room to reach the typical American male (yes, we tried that at New Hope – Williston).

Murrow has some definite ideas (see www.churchformen.com) about changing the trend. Mark Driscoll built Mars Hill Church by doing whatever it would take to reach “young, creative and urban secular men.” (Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Zondervan, 2006 p. 108)

Will your church be like the grocery stores in the article (“a major overhaul of stores to make them more attractive to men is not likely”) or will you lead closer to the edge?