There I was, standing in a sea of black suitcases at a local department store. My current wheelie bag was in dire need of replacement. As a long-time road warrior, I knew this bag would be my constant companion, so I approached the task with the same care and thought that other people might put into choosing a new SUV.
My husband stood by my side looking at the bags with me, when a salesperson approached. The salesperson ignored me and made a beeline for my husband, looked directly at him and asked if he needed help finding a new bag. My husband gestured to me, saying, “It’s for her.” The salesperson looked surprised and took a moment to recalibrate his pitch. I just smiled and sighed. It was a classic case of incorrect assumptions: in this case, the assumption that I was not the decision maker for this purchase. Based on my research with women consumers – as well as a lifetime of personal experience – incorrect assumptions happen with women all the time, even when they’re shopping alone. (i.e., “Tell your husband he needs to buy this necklace for you!”) Many women have the experience of being ignored, overlooked or underestimated when shopping, particularly with a male partner or friend. These experiences can and do happen with both male and female salespeople, and they can derail a sale.
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