As I embarked on my first do-it-yourself project of the summer I came to a crossroads – which store do I buy my paint and sandpaper from, Lowe’s or Home Depot?
I went into both stores and came out surprised at how much Lowe’s understands women and what they want from a home improvement store. The store is brightly lit, well organized and clean. Their signs are complemented with pink backgrounds and the outdoor furniture section includes cute sun hats. Right in the front of the store is a huge display of cleaning products and laundry detergent. The paint department is covered in bright colors, floral prints and hearts (literally). All of this combined creates something much different from Home Depot’s warehouse set up.
This women centric attitude seems to be carried by each of the stores’ employees as well. At Home Depot, I was scoffed at in the paint section when I asked the difference between semi-gloss and satin finishes. At Lowe’s the woman employee complimented my shoes and asked me what project I was working on.
Lowe’s knows me and they know women.
According to Marketing to Women by Marti Barletta, women like to browse while shopping and Lowe’s provides aisles and organization perfect for that. They also put things together to create entire rooms so women can see the big picture. Finally, they take into account that women want bigger aisles for strollers and carts and keep things on lower shelves so women can reach products easily. On the other hand, Home Depot creates an environment that centers on a man’s way of thinking. Men like to walk into a store and pick up a tool quickly and efficiently. Home Depot’s aisles cater to this way of thinking.
Lowe’s doesn’t stop at creating a woman friendly environment in stores, the emphasis on women continues throughout their advertisements. Their commercials are bright, colorful and fun. They show women doing projects that real women aim to complete. Once again, in contrast, Home Depot’s ads show things that men find funny like construction projects gone awry.
There’s nothing wrong with Home Depot taking the rugged approach, but since women make 80% of home improvement decisions, I think Lowe’s is making a great decision in reaching out to a target that is less thought of in the home construction market.
What do you think? What other brands are excelling in reaching women in a male dominated industry?