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Three Questions for Bridget Brennan

The Chicago-based consultant to Fortune 500 companies and author of the new book Winning Her Business on what women want from retailers

Photo: Amy Postle

What’s one major way women shop differently?

From a young age, they’re taught a big-picture buying style. They’re evaluating multiple factors: Do I like being in this environment? What else goes with this particular item? They’re looking at not just a shirt but the whole outfit.

How should a retailer cater to that?

The most engaging companies deliver an experience. At Ulta, for example, you can buy makeup and also get a hair treatment and brow grooming. Demonstrate hospitality. Have seating available so she can accomplish her mission and have a companion sit comfortably.

Speaking of that, you make the point that retailers need to recognize that women often aren’t just shopping for themselves.

They’re weighing the wants and needs of others, and they’re often joined by companions who may not be excited to be there. That adds complexity even to a routine shopping trip. Expectations for ease, convenience, and proactive follow-up are high.

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