Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

by : 
Kim Perkins
June 1, 2014

Question: My husband and I want to try a new marketing approach to bring more customers into our store. Most of our customers are women, so my husband thinks we should target men by advertising in a local sports magazine. I think it will be a waste of time and money. What do you say?

Answer: Because I haven’t seen the publication (Is it newsprint or glossy? Is it professionally done?) and don’t know the cost or frequency (Is it a one-time insertion or monthly/quarterly?), it’s difficult to give you an opinion about the particular publication. Nothing is wrong with investing a small amount of money to draw in new customers, but I would be cautious and test the waters until you know the publication will bring the results you desire. If you offer coupons, consider putting one in the publication in order to judge the response accurately. Be sure you also stock merchandise men are interested in so they will be inclined to make a purchase once they stop by.

The majority of our customers also are women, which makes sense in light of a recent survey showing 75 percent of all retail purchases are made by women. I guess we ladies have the shopping gene! At our store, men are wonderful shoppers, but the majority of men tend to be holiday (Christmas, Valentine’s Day) and special occasion (birthday, graduation) shoppers. A few men are regulars (shopping 2-4 times a month), but they are the exception.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to