Testosterone, the urge to shop, and omni-channel purchasing
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Testosterone, the Urge to Shop, and Omnichannel Purchasing

Sounds like a Sesame Street quiz doesn’t it? Which of these things is not like the other? But it’s not. October’s Harvard Business Review includes a short, curious article. It is about how testosterone fuels status purchases. Strangely the research showed some goods are prone to an urge to shop. Making the most of the findings might help drive omnichannel purchasing.

Testosterone ResearchMen with high testosterone levels were much more apt to choose high-status goods.

Briefly, the research took 243 men. It gave them either a testosterone (T) boosting topical gel, or a placebo. Researchers watched the men’s T-levels before and during the research. In the first check, the men rated their desire for high-status versus everyday brands. High-status being Calvin Klein jeans as opposed to with Levi jeans for everyday brands. Men with high testosterone levels were much more apt to choose high-status goods.

As a further step, the same two groups looked at items representing:

  • Quality: “extreme robustness, high precision, technology and comfort”
  • Power: “indestructibility, sport, power and confidence”
  • High-Status: “prestige artisanal spirit, luxury and attention to detail”

After seeing ads for each group, the men were asked to about hypothetical purchases. Again, the high testosterone group showed a much higher want for high-status goods. This compared to the placebo subjects.


You think this is weird? Check out some other retail trends we noticed.


Influencing the Urge to Shop

Oddly enough, football games might be the ideal place to advertise high-status goods to men.What does the research tell us? It seems that high testosterone (T) influences shopping preferences. Specifically, this research showed a correlation between high T and a desire for high-status goods.

Other research has shown that sporting events can increase T levels of participants and attendees. Herein lies the opportunity. Events that raise T levels might be the ideal for influencing the urge to shop, for specific goods. An odd fit, but football games might be the ideal place to show ads of high-status goods. Oddly, these venues can nudge men toward attention drawing goods. Attention drawing products include convertibles, Tag Heuer watches, flashy sneakers, jewelry, and high-end name brand clothes.

What of Omnichannel Purchasing?

A packed sports venue, with mass crowding is not ideal for full inventory displays or cash and carry. But, omnichannel purchasing doesn’t need to take much space. Showrooming and on-the-spot order taking might be the key parts. Remember that omnichannel retail and omnichannel shopping can be done on a smartphone or tablet.Get the Omni-1000 Research Study

So, what is a good experiment for retailers promoting omnichannel purchasing? Try showcasing high-status products at testosterone inducing sports events. You won’t want to have too many expensive goods on hand that can be pilfered. Here, showcasing makes sense, instead. To cover the omnichannel purchasing end, take orders digitally. Then get shoppers to make in-store pickups. Capture the omnichannel shopper’s intent, while they are in the heat of the moment at the venue.

As an added bonus, it informs consumers about omnichannel purchasing. Getting them to shop across multiple channels means they will spend more money.


Related: Are you even offering omnichannel?


Omnichannel Purchasing – Breaking Paradigms

This HBR research breaks paradigms. Generally, we think of high T events as a place to advertise and showcase burly-man goods. You expect to see ads about 4×4 powerful trucks crusted in mud. You expect to see beer ads. Perhaps fishing and hunting goods. You expect to see gritty, dirty, industrial ‘manly’ ads. Yet, this research shows us the opposite in terms of shopping behaviors. High-status, high flash items do well from the testosterone lead competitive drive.

Make it an Omnichannel Purchasing Experience

With heightened testosterone levels showcasing high-status goods can result in more online and in-store sales.Outside countries like the UK, omnichannel shopping and omnichannel purchasing are not yet ‘the norm’. Most of the retail world is playing catch-up. That is where the opportunity to draw curious attention, lies. That high-status goods retailer can make a major impact at a monster truck rally, stock car race, football, rugby, or basketball game. It would be a striking contrast to most ads on display. Yet, with the heightened T-levels, showcasing high status goods can result in more online and in-store purchases.

Not only would this be an unexpected class of goods advertised, and sold at a sporting event. It would also be a new omnichannel purchasing experience for consumers. As experience becomes a bigger part of the customer journey, will our definition of shopping change? Will testosterone-inducing event marketing switch to high-status rather than burly goods? Is it possible that going to a football game will become the ‘new age shopping trip’ for men looking for high-status items? Will the ‘he-man’ shopping experience become synonymous with sporting events?


Related: How to appeal to millennials in retail


Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 23 years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.