Most guys hate shopping, but they love buying stuff.
Although that might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually an important distinction for retailers.
Guys, in general, can’t stand the tedium and frustration of the traditional shopping experience — browsing through displays, dealing with commissioned sales staff, looking in mirrors, the whole schmozzle.
But men are now outspending women online by an estimated 20 to 30 percent. If the experience is painless — and can be done while keeping one eye on the TV — guys will happily become shopaholics.
Simplicity is everything. From robot helpers to automatic underpants shipments, lots of retailers are aiming to make you look good without forcing you to actually go shopping.
Here are nine of our favorites:
DITTO: designer sunglasses you try online before you buy
Want a great looking pair of sunglasses but don’t know what’ll look good on you? The gang at DITTO has an amazing virtual try-on tool that uses your webcam to capture your noggin from all angles so you can see how all kinds of different glasses would look on you. It’s super-convenient and pretty fun, too.
We here at Manolith like DITTO so much that we’ve partnered with them to give away $300 worth of designer sunglasses.
Entry in the contest is completely free and dead-simple — click here for the details.
BRANDiD: shop like a man
BRANDiD is based on a simple truism: buying clothes is easier when someone else — preferably a female — makes all the important decisions. The BRANDiD website is under the guise of a supercomputer called M.A.L.E., (Masculine Algorithmic Learning Engine). It hooks you up with a S.W.A.T. Operative (Specialist Wardrobe Augmentation Technician), who populates your shopping basket. The S.W.A.T. team happens to be women (good looking ones, too), so your shopping experience is in good hands. You get five days to try on the clothes for size. No cash changes hands until you decide what you want to keep.
Manpacks: like care packages from mom
An idea so simple and intuitive, it’s amazing nobody came up with it sooner. Manpacks is a subscription-based service that, on a regular schedule, sends you boxes full of stuff you need but hate to shop for — underwear, socks, razors, condoms, etc. You can customize your Manpacks and then forget about going to Walmart, because boxes of your must-haves will arrive in the mail on a regular basis, like a care package for mom without the embarrassment of your name stitched into the waistband.
Indochino: custom suits in the mail
In the past, the trouble with buying suits online has been the question of measurement. Most guys don’t know how to use a tape measure (whether measuring for a suit or something else). Indochino offers a short video online with step-by-step instructions. You don’t need a tailor — only a good friend, your mom, your sister or a selfless buddy. Once the order is placed, the Indochino people check every measurement to make sure it jives with your unique shape.
Shoes by the truckload
Entrepreneur Nathan Fleischmann has always enjoyed the convenience and fun of trendy food trucks, and it’s safe to assume he never really enjoyed shoe shopping. So he had a brainwave: a mobile shoe shop on wheels. Thus began Stadium Shoes, the footwear shop that comes to you. The business is still just a concept, but his Kickstarter campaign surpassed its $6,500 goal this week, so it will probably become a reality someday soon.
Robot finds your jeans
This one actually requires you to set foot in a brick-and-mortar store, but you’re rewarded by quick and efficient service from a friendly robot. At Hointer in Seattle, jeans hang from metal racks, and each pair is tagged with a QR code. You scan the code with your phone, and the robot delivers the jeans to the dressing room, where you can then request custom sizes, fits and colors via the Internet. If you like the pair you’re wearing, you scan your credit card though a machine, take your jeans and go home. The best part: no pesky sales clerks pressuring you into a purchase.
Custom Nikes you build online
Do you feel like you’re always settling for a pair of shoes that isn’t quite right because you just want to get the hell out of the store? NikeID lets you build your sneakers from the ground up, customizing details including material, color, and even a personalized ID that distinguishes the shoes as uniquely your own.
Once you’ve finished tinkering with your virtual shoes in a simple interface, Nike makes them for you and they arrive at your doorstep in about four weeks.
Frank & Oak: good clothes without hassle
These online clothiers have a creative way of getting around the problem of measurements. Instead of specifying your size in inches, you provide height, weight and body type (slim, athletic, “well fed,” and so on). You also specify the mainstream brand that best suits your style (Hugo Boss vs. Banana Republic).
Frank & Oak also offers a free, subscription-based service called the Hunt Club, which sends a box of clothes to your house once a month. Each box contains several garments, which you’re free to try. If you like it, you pay for it. If not, send it back.
The Trunk Club: a trunkload of good gear
As the name implies, these guys send you a trunk full of stuff, which is very cool in a retro kind of way. The trunk is filled with clothes specifically chosen for you by a style consultant, whom you chat with by phone or email. A nice bonus is that the site has no membership fees, minimum purchases or subscriptions, and the purchases include free shipping.