Many retailers love having gay traffic. Numerous gay couples are DINKs (Dual Income No Kids), gay consumers tend to be socially and technologically savvy shoppers and this community can be extremely brand loyal. But what many stores may not know is that their website may not be gay friendly.
You don’t have to plaster your site with rainbow flags, disco balls and pop divas to be gay friendly. You don’t even have to show same sex couples, although it doesn’t hurt. What you do have to do is realize that gay customers need certain things that heterosexual shoppers don’t need. This also goes for people shopping for gay couples for the holidays, anniversaries and weddings.
By making some small tweaks to your website, you can not only begin to make it easier for gay people to shop, but you may be able to increase conversions, build backlinks and build a larger loyal customer base.
Here are some tweaks you may want to make to your website to help your gay visitors, and people shopping for gay friends, to provide a better user experience and make your website more gay friendly.
How to Convert Gay Website Visitors Into Customers
Remember, gay couples need both male or both female items if you have matching products. They don’t shop for a husband or wife if they are buying something for their partner and their friends need something for men or women, not mixed couple products. When you want to make your website gay friendly, you have to change a few things.
Below I have 6 examples of how to create options to shop, choose what type of copy to use and how to create product sets without even saying it’s for a gay couple. I also use multiple niches as examples to help you figure out how to do this with your own website. By not alienating this audience and making your website gay friendly, you may be able to drive more sales, convert more traffic and build a larger customer base.
1. Jewelry, Gifts & Household Items – Don’t Assume Everything is Male or Female
The trick with converting household products like pillow cases, matching towel sets or even jewelry like engagement rings is to make sure you have same sex options available. You don’t want to show a mens and a womens ring, and then only have mens and women’s sizes available.
Instead, show the first ring and then matching options with a mens or woman’s ring. Then make sure the sizes go from a small woman’s to a large men’s ring size. The other option with jewelry is to have two drop down menus that have both male and female so you can show the matching rings for same sex or heterosexual couples.
For towels like his and hers, offer options like how many of each so you can select two mens or two womens towels.
If it’s a couple’s gift and you don’t want to immediately display a GLBT product to all website visitors, try having options like “left” and “right” with “male” and “female” as drop down options. Now it’s up to the user to define if it’s gay or straight. If they are pillow cases you can say, claim your side of the bed with male and female options. This makes it gay friendly without having to say it directly and fun to shop for.
It’s not the most gay friendly wording, but it does provide the option to create a gay gift for a GLBT customer or someone shopping for a gift for a gay couple without having to write to customer support or call in to place an order.
2. Wording and Phrasing
This one can be tricky, especially for a business owner that doesn’t want to potentially upset anti-gay traffic while not offending or excluding gay traffic either. Saying husband or wife is fine since many sites do it, but using your partner, the love of your life, your soul mate are better alternatives to make everyone happy.
By remembering that not all gays can get married, but might be buying it for their commitment ceremony or civil union is a big thing. The other thing to remember is that by referring to something as a gift for a husband or wife, you are rubbing the fact that straight people can get married and gay couples cannot (depending on their location) so you are unintentionally excluding them. By using gay friendly terminology like your loved one or your true love, you don’t exclude gay shoppers and can make everyone happy.
Since we’re in the holiday season, think about matching couples pajamas, ugly Christmas sweaters or even buying matching accessories like matching hats or couple’s shirts. When you go to the website and you see images of the the matching products. Instead of just showing the male and female versions, why not show the male version or female version first, and then a small assortment of other options that match. Now the website visitor can choose male or female, depending on their own gender, and then the gender oriented product and size of their partner. The nice part with this option is that you don’t even have to say male or female.
You can try being creating like create the matching look. Select your style and then select the perfect match for your loved one or partner. You can try, choose yours and then find the perfect match for your other half or something else that is fun and non-gender specific. This way the end user can determine if they want the product for men or women and then select the matching items. Now if it’s a straight man or woman or a homosexual or a lesbian, everyone is able to start with their gender and end up with the perfect matching option for their significant other.
4. If You Have a Gay Section, Don’t Show Straight People or Straight Couples
This is one that a ton of stores (large and small) get wrong. Think about travel. If you’re heterosexual and going on a lovers or adults only vacation, do you want to see images of kids running around and screaming on a beach? Probably not.
You’re going on your vacation to be around other adults for a quiet, relaxing and romantic vacation. The same can be said for gay people looking for a gay vacation, but not gay people looking for a straight vacation or non gay vacation.
If you have a gay section and gay visitors looking for gay things, don’t show straight people using them or straight people in the images. It doesn’t relate to the visitor. Being relevant and helping the person shopping feel like they are part of the experience can help make the product or service more exciting, it can help the website visitor feel like they belong and help them want to shop with your site. This can also help them recommend it to other friends and potentially get you backlinks from the websites that list gay friendly stores.
Showing relevant images that the consumer can relate to is a big part about making sure that your website is gay friendly.
5. Show the Right Product Mix
The next tip for helping to make your website gay friendly is to make sure you show the right product mix. If you carry an assortment of products or products from different vendors/manufacturers and some of your vendors are not gay friendly, don’t show them first or at all. If you’re a travel site and have gay friendly or gay owned and operated hotels, show them before the general ones. The same goes with vacations and all inclusive resorts.
Remember, many gay shoppers would rather support gay owned and operated or gay friendly businesses. They don’t want to support ones that oppose gay rights. By showing gay friendly manufacturers, gay owned or operated businesses and eliminating the non gay friendly ones, you can help to show which vendors or services support the gay community and help to increase the likely hood of them using your site since you provide a resource that goes above and beyond other sites for the gay community. One other option if you have a mix of gay and not gay friendly vendors is to add a pink triangle or small rainbow flag next to products or items that are specifically gay friendly, owned or are rated by a leading gay organization.
6. Make Sure All Promotions Apply
Some websites may offer a deal for couples products. If you buy something for yourself and your partner, you save XYZ. That sku being added to the cart lowers the price for the preset options for heterosexual couples. If you’re a gay shopper, or shopping for a gay couple and the only option is a male and female one, then you don’t get the same savings and have alienated your gay customers. Instead of doing this, add a coupon code to the page that can be stacked on other offers for the products in the sku so that the matching products can get the same discount whether they are being purchased for gay or straight couples. The other option is to allow the end user to select the gender and size for both products instead of just sizes and have set prices for all combinations to get the discount.
By doing this you can help your gay visitors feel welcome, give them the same discount as a straight couple and make your website more gay friendly.
There are a ton of things that you can do to help make your website more gay friendly. You can get a certificate or badge from a well known organization, change the wording or even some of the images. The most important thing to do is to make sure you provide the options for gay people and their friends to be able to shop. If you make it hard to select two mens or two womens products, or don’t offer the couples discount because the person has to shop separately to make a same sex matching pair, you have alienated the customer and may lose the sale.