Grabbing the Guys as they Holiday Shop Online ©

In most Canadian shopping circles, women rule. They’re a huge target market as the person in the household who does most of the shopping, both for themselves and their families. Internet shopping is a bit different though, especially when it comes to holiday shopping online. For example, a recent Ipsos holiday shopping survey found Canadian men spend an average of $1080 online, by comparison to $725 spent online by Canadian women.

It would seem that there’s a lot of money hanging around under the mistletoe with the male population. It doesn’t help that when asked, most Canadians will say they don’t want or need anything. Ipsos reported recently that almost half (48%) of Canadians say they don’t want anything for Christmas and the majority (61%) insist they don’t need anything. Clearly, men could use some help and guidance with holiday shopping online.

Grabbing Wandering Male Shoppers Online

We did some “street interviewing” to find out what guys find most helpful when shopping online. If you were to combine a frightened rabbit and a lost puppy with a “deer in the headlights” look, you’d get the look in the eyes we saw in most men when they were asked about holiday shopping. Following are some of the suggestions they have for improving their online shopping experience.

  • Gift guides – One gentleman said he took his Sears Wish Book shopping method online. He relied heavily on the pages in the front that had gifts organized by cost, especially for stocking stuffers. Organizing online gift guides by price, recipient group (women, etc.), interests, and even purpose (such as stocking stuffers) are all helpful to male shoppers.
  • Sales on popular gift items – Flyers are another tool guys use for efficient shopping. Online sales are similarly organized and have featured products in numbers most guys find more manageable. Rather than having a simple link or menu button for “Specials”, consider featuring sales with a special graphic strategically placed on every page of your site. Also feature price-matching policies & coupons prominently.
  • One stop shopping – If a guy can go to a store website and finish all their shopping, they’re happy campers. Offer variety…but not so much that it’s overwhelming.
  • Organization – Most people are easily frustrated by a disorganized website and guys are no exception. They want a straight-forward menu of categories, which are broken down further once clicked upon.
  • Gift Cards – The answer to a shopping guy’s prayer are gift cards. They still need to make it look like a special gift though, so they do make an effort to stop by stores favoured by the recipient. They may buy a $25 gift card for a book store and another for a bath product site, etc. Rather than simply offering gift cards as an option, write sales copy that presents them as more than an easy solution. Emailed gift certificates are popular with last minute shoppers especially.
  • Bundle Products – An easy way to increase sales and serve the frantic man is to bundle products. You can combine products into a gift basket type of gift or gather up 10 stocking stuffers, and so on.
  • We are Canadian – Men and women alike are becoming more aware of the benefits of shopping within Canada or even more local.  Make it clear that you are located in Canada and clearly label products made in Canada. Encourage shoppers to shop Canadian and buy local.
  • Customize Affiliate Marketing & Advertising – Affiliate marketers and bloggers can feature gifts, sales and coupons from their favourite merchants. Most affiliate programs allow for direct linking to products, making them perfect for gift guides.
  • Alternate Sales & Marketing Channels – Consider selling products to bargain-hunting Canadian guys via online auctions like eBay or merchant marketplaces like Amazon. You can blow your market wide open with advertising access to thousands of websites, through an affiliate program on a network like Share-a-Sale.
  • Grabbing the Guys as they Holiday Shop OnlineGuarantees and Returns – Offer reassurance and flexibility with a guarantee or return policy. Offer in-store returns if possible.
  • Inside information – Holiday shopping guidance is something a lot of guys gobble up before they buy. Run feature articles and blog posts focusing on each person a guy may be shopping for, such as Mom, the wife, or children. Product reviews, customer testimonials, and feature comparison charts all beckon to the eShopping male.  Creating content to use as guest posts on websites popular with men brings all kinds of other benefits besides catching a guy’s eye.
  • Upgraded shipping options – Men are notorious for last minute shopping and they’d rather do it online than brave the crowds offline. Be sure to feature the fact that you offer fast shipping options so it’s clear at a glance that your website is where a guy needs to be.  Consider including an “order by _____ to receive before December 25th” notation.
  • Gift wrapping – A task cited as “most hated” by plenty of men, gift wrapping options like those offered by Amazon are very popular.
  • Make it easy to find you – The vast majority of men won’t go much further than the first page of search results if at all possible. Now is the time to consider search, social and mobile advertising. Don’t forget to target men in your ad’s, such as headlines featuring your gift guides or fast shipping.  Try your hand at male-targeted advertising humour.
  • Lurk around social media – I see many men desperately seeking help on social media, be it gift suggestions or the inability to find a specific item. Use social media tools to listen in on cries for help on social media. For example, guys often post specific items they’re looking for on Twitter or Facebook. You can ride in on your virtual white horse to save them, by replying that you carry the item or by offering a suitable alternative.

Getting into a guy’s head while he’s shopping online is well worth the effort, especially when you consider that it will also improve the eCommerce experience on your website for all visitors (male or female). It’s this type of creative thinking that gives you a competitive advantage and can result in 2017 being your most lucrative holiday season ever.

What are your plans to bring in the boys this holiday season? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Connected Canadians: eCommerce and Internet Use Statistics
Canadian Consumers Seeking Small Businesses Online (Statistics)
7 Ways to Reach More of the 19 Million Canadian Facebook Users

Data Source: Ipsos


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on,,, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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acekard 2i

Intriguing insights, you ought to consider undertaking a podcast on business and advertising and marketing.

Shelby Kingston

Love your insights. I have an infoproduct project that I need help with Ms. McKinnon. I’ll send an email. Hope you have time!


A bit of a stereotype but I think you’re right anyway LOL. Guys like me want to keep it as simple as possible. That doesn’t mean we don’t put a lot of thought into it but we usually don’t like to shop aimlessly.

Don Griffiths

Great piece, Melody. Sparks the marketing imagination!

Best regards,
Don Griffiths

Andrea Kelly

My husband has awesome taste but he worries and worries about getting just the right thing. I do a list for him but he likes to include surprises. He mentioned a gift guide last year so I think you’re onto something there!

Brett W.

Way to go guys! Now that you mention it the internet is the perfect place for male shoppers and I’m one of them. I don’t mind paying shipping as penance either lol.