Women are earning, spending and influencing spending at a greater rate than ever before. This includes spending on traditionally male product categories like consumer electronics. With women accounting for about $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States, tech companies are beginning to take note. Start-ups and tech giants are joining the fashion tech movement and creating gadgets designed specifically with women in mind.
Despite “let’s make it pink” and other common mishaps of marketing to women in the CE industry, several companies have implemented successful strategies for reaching the ever-important modern female consumer. Here are four top lessons from the brands getting it right.
- Partner with trendsetters
Joining forces with trendsetters can help you find new design inspiration while also broadening your consumer reach. Look for a partner who brings expertise to the table in a development area for your company. What are the companies that inspire you? Which companies and brands are your female customers talking about? Which companies seem to be on the uptrend in terms of their media share?
This year fashion audio company FRENDS and fast-growing online accessories shop BaubleBar teamed up to create a series of embellished headphones with interchangeable caps. FRENDS’ original metallic headphones had been well-received by media and millennial women, but the partnership with BaubleBar delivered a fun new style that took the look of the headphones from casual to bejeweled chic, borrowing from the trend of statement necklaces and earrings. With BaubleBar’s more than 350,000 unique monthly website visitors, the partnership allowed FRENDS to reach a broader audience while also allowing BaubleBar to enter a new product category, consumer electronics.
One of the other most notable fashion tech collaborations of the year was MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory), designed by style mecca Opening Ceremony and engineered by Intel. The combination of the companies’ complementary areas of expertise - engineering and fashion design - resulted in a truly beautiful bracelet that is the first to fuse luxury jewelry with wearable tech.
- Don’t underestimate the power of visuals
Always show your product in environments that resonate with your audience. Think about the type of woman you are targeting and what themes, influences and life events are most relevant to her now.
Stockholm-based The Case Factory does a magnificent job of creating compelling visuals that appeal to the luxury fashion enthusiast. The company crafts collections of exclusive leather cases and covers for smartphones and tablets that pair well with accessories from leading fashion houses. They even use the same tanneries that supply leather to Prada, Hermes and Bottega Veneta. Every one of The Case Factory’s images exudes quality and luxury, from the artistic snapshots of their Reptile Collection to the hip portraits of their Stockholm flagship store. The lust-worthy visuals immediately draw and retain the attention of their fashionable female audience and retail partners like Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and Net-a-Porter.
- Think about how your product can grow with women as they enter new life stages
If your product is targeted to females in a specific life stage (ex. new moms), think about how your product can transition and grow with women.
Bellabeat, a company that brings women innovative gadgets to track their health and make pregnancy less stressful, did just that with their new Balance scale. The smart scale helps women to safely track weight gain during pregnancy, and monitor results and baby's progress in their connected app. Although incredibly useful for pregnant women and new moms, the Balance scale and its accompanying app allow women to track health and weight in every stage of their lives.
Stellé Audio also wins in this category with the Go-Go, a portable and mountable speaker that has a chic white and gold design with universal appeal. For active women, the speaker can be mounted to the handlebars of a beach cruiser or thrown into a bag to bring to the park. If babies come into the picture, the speaker is also mountable to stroller handlebars. The company even offers cute patterned covers for the speaker to make it fun for baby. The Go-Go is a complete departure from traditional music players designed for mom and baby that are brightly colored, big and clunky, and end up in the donation bin once the school-age years arrive.
- Reach women where they shop
When selling gadgets to women, think beyond traditional CE retailers to reach women where they shop regularly. This may be top department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, HSN, Target and even hip shops and boutiques like Fred Segal. Do not lump all female consumers together. Take a segmented approach, and think about your customer’s household income, shopping habits and daily routine. Talk to your female consumers for qualitative information that can help inform retail placement decisions. Consider using consumer research tools like Simmons National Consumer Survey that can provide details and insight on the habits of the female consumers you are targeting with your product – from their favorite stores to their online shopping behavior to their preferred mobile technologies.