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Wednesday, May. 14, 2008 at 11:50 am

Another Reason She May Abandon You: Hormones

By Michele Miller
May 14th, 2008

SNL writer Tina Fey is overcome by yearly hormone rage from AnnualeI go into the garage for a hammer. On my way back into the house, I stop for a cold drink and remember that the kitchen trash needs to be taken out for tomorrow’s collection.

Dropping the can at the curb, I turn and notice that the landscaper forgot to turn on the drip irrigation system, so I trot over and flip the switch. I walk back into the house and realize that I forgot to put the cold bottle of water back into the fridge. I open the door and find my hammer, sitting on the top shelf, chilling next to a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

I’m glad I found the hammer. The only question is, “What did I need it for in the first place?”

Welcome to my world. Now in my late forties, I find myself staring down the barrel of menopause and I’m not thrilled about it. It’s not the age that bothers me (it’s only a number) but the havoc it wreaks on my thought process. With four times as many connections between the two sides of the brain, women already have a difficult time concentrating on one thing at a time. Throw in raging hormones and it’s virtually impossible to stay focused. Distraction rules the day.

All to say this: When shopping online, nothing drives a woman battier than putting items into a shopping cart and pushing the “continue shopping” button, only to be sent back to the homepage or a section she’s never visited. What if she wanted to buy the same item in another color? What if the original item page had listed complementary pieces that would go with the one she just ordered?

Imagine shopping in a home supply store. You pick up a light bulb, put it in your basket, and POOF! You suddenly find yourself back at the front entrance with the lighting department positioned all the way at the rear of the store. Do you feel like walking all the way back there just for your next item? Nah, I wouldn’t either. In fact, I can’t seem to remember why we came here in the first place, do you?

If you really want your customer to “continue shopping” on your site, make sure you guide her back to where she really wants to be. Otherwise, she might just might forget what she needed you for and abandon you altogether.

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About the author: Michele Miller is co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth — Today’s Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

[Editor's Note: The image is of Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey, wielding a pink axe in a fake commercial for a fake drug called "Annuale". Pharmaceutical marketers, and anyone with a sense of humor, should watch it.]

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Comments (13)

  1. What a funny picture, thanks I needed a good laugh. I promise to always have my ‘Continue Shopping’ button return you back to the Previous page.

  2. Having more than once been in the middle of unloading the dryer (or dishwasher) only to wander off to do something else…which led to something else…which led to something else outside…which meant my driving to the store…only to come back 4 hours later to see the dryer or dishwasher door standing open…I can RELATE!

    They also shouldn’t make me have to wade through a long info form before I get to order anything. I lose both focus and interest.

    Back to whatever I was doing before I started reading this ;-)

  3. When my aunt wanted me to design a website for her online store, this was actually one of the things she stressed – a shopping cart that would let you go back to where you were instead of just linking back to the main page of the store. :)

  4. Audio Bible – thanks for laughing at my pain (kidding!) and for taking the oath to always return to the previous page – gotta love it!

    Mary – your recent post on abandoned shopping carts actually inspired this post… nice to know we can commiserate about distraction.

    Nina – tell your aunt that I LOVE HER. :-)

  5. Michele,

    ah my friend, it could be worse. You could have attempted to hammer nails with the Sauvignon Blanc.

    I’m looking forward to joining you in senility. We’re going to have such fun!


  6. Nice and funny article!

    Unfortunately the video is on, which means all us non-americans can’t watch it :-(

  7. This is so right on — and I’m nowhere near menopause! I often leave a site, abandoning my cart, when it makes me work that hard all over again to spend my money. There are way too many other sites, and some with a lot less inventory to distract me, to keep me toggling between my loaded cart and the homepage.

  8. I love to see so many proud, extremely intelligent women admit that they’re, yaknow, just a little bit, how shall I say, disproportionately annoyed(?) sometimes.

    I can’t speak for all of the guys reading this, but I have to say that the most pointless argument you can ever make to a woman (in real time) is that she’s only being irrational about something because of her hormones. In fact, I highly recommend NOT doing that.

    Hmm… Maybe that’s why women make such great consultants; they’re geniuses at figuring out what’s wrong with things (e.g., men), especially when they’re frustrated. ;)

  9. Holly: You and I have already shared a lot of life stories… somehow they never stop, do they? :-)

    Soeren: Sorry you can’t watch the video — we’ll just have to get you over here to the U.S. sometime. :-)

    Juliette: Thanks for the comment… it’s amazing how many e-tailers can’t understand why their revenue isn’t as high as their competitor, when it can be something as simple as this.

    Robert: Good advice – do NOT suggest hormones if you’re a guy. You might be able to get away with it if you’re a woman, however… :-)

  10. Yes! Yes! Now what was I responding to . . .

    I’m only at the beginning of my 30s and the twittering in my head has forced me to realize what I do very, very well and what I’d better keep my hands away from – if I prefer sanity.

    The best benefit of our wiring is the ability to pull so many pieces together while running at top speed – we just have to let go of the proceed from step A to step B style. If it doesn’t suit you, dump it.

    As for the continue shopping phenomenon, I won’t touch that “continue shopping” button for fear of being directed to the home page if I NEED the item in the cart. Backspace is the saver in this case. However if I am browsing, I hit the “continue shopping” as a potential money saver. Yes, money saver.

    If the button takes me back to the front of the store, I will find something else of interest, look at the pretty pictures and eventually navigate away without a purchase. If it takes me to the item/department of my initial add to cart, then I rack one up for divine guidance and eventually make the purchase.

    Still counting on divine intervention in my shopping cart,

  11. Brilliant post that really highlights the need to get into the heads of our shoppers and make things as simple as possible.

    By the way, does anyone know of any research on the relative advantage of taking a shopper to the cart when they add something, versus leaving them where they were with a “X items in cart” message somewhere on the page?

  12. Excellent post! Reminds me of another pet peeve I have – shopping carts that dump you if you are idle for more than X amount of minutes.

  13. With a glass jewelry and art glass site, these are the kind of insights that make a difference!



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