By Sue Benson, Managing Director, The Market Family
The shopping habits of women completely change when they become pregnant and the influencers that affect what they think, the brands that they interact with (or don’t) and what they ultimately buy, all evolve over time as their family grows.
At The Market Family, we have a particular penchant for mums. Despite all the changes that have taken place to the family structure over the past 50 years - more involvement from Dad, lone parenting and the beanpole effect - one of the things that remain consistent, for most families, is the central role that mum plays. But, one of the biggest mistakes a retailer can make is to generalise, and to stay in touch with this group, they must reflect some of the changes in their marketing.
A major development in the way Mums shop is the growing use of mobile devices. Whether comparing products and prices, accessing promotions or making a purchase, there is a strong chance that at some point along her journey she will use mobile technology. The trend is evident in recent research by BabyCentre, which shows that new mothers are more likely than the rest of the population to look for deals and advice on mobile websites.
So why is mobile shopping particularly prevalent among mums? Most work, they are time poor, information hungry and constantly multitasking. Quite simply, mobile devices provide the convenience and access to knowledge they need.
Also, the extent of the recession, and the dramatic rise in the cost of living, means that families have really suffered financially. It is reported that, due to government cuts, the average UK family is now £160 a year worse off, but this is just the tip of the iceberg so it is no surprise the Mums are one of the greatest users of mobile technology, in order to find the best discounts and competitive prices.
One of the main impacts mobile shopping is having on retail marketing is that the lines between sales channels are becoming distorted. High street retailers can no longer charge a premium as people can touch products, speak to staff - get all the benefits of the high street - yet buy from a competitor online while still standing in store. To combat this, retailers must create synergy and offer a true multichannel offering. Pricing should be as competitive online or offer a price match pledge. Also, take advantage of the technology – facilitate the ability to link online on POS material, offering additional information, ‘how-to’ videos or independent reviews.
The changing shape of families alone can have a greater effect on shopper behaviour and anything retailers can do to reflect the changes and make a parent’s life just that little bit easier will help them connect with this elusive market.