Q: I own a boutique, and our products are mostly for women. I would like to attract more men shopping for holiday gifts, but our shop is very "frilly," and most men aren't comfortable coming into the store. How can I market to attract more male shoppers, especially during the December shopping season?
A: With the holiday shopping season nearly here, now is the perfect time to reach out to those men who will soon be searching for that perfect gift for the women on their lists.
Assuming you have a mailing list of your female clients, send out a mailing addressed to the "husband of" or "significant other to" each woman on the list. If your store is one that women love, chances are high that they'll happily leave the card where their husbands will see it as a gentle reminder of what they'd like to receive for the holidays. Make the process even easier for men by allowing them to go online to order a gift certificate: 1ShoppingCart.com is a Web site that allows for online orders and features an auto-responder that acknowledges the purchase and thanks the gift-giver.
You might even encourage your female clients to provide a "wish list" of gifts in a variety of price points. If you take the guesswork out of holiday shopping, men will join their wives and girlfriends in becoming loyal customers of your boutique.
is president of ImpressionImpact.com, a marketing consulting company.