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Retail Review - August 2016

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As customers and retailers look across all touchpoints rather than siloed channels, so IR retailer reviews look at the entire retailer’s eco-system of website, mobile, the use of digital in-store and their overall strategy.

This issue our reviewers examine Mothercare .

RETAIL STRATEGY 25/25

Emma Robertson,

Managing Director, Transform

Mothercare is emerging from a challenged period of trading and operating, and for a long time has been an example of a retailer that lost its way. Like many retailers, over the last decade Mothercare has faced the retail-trinity of problems: aggressive competition, unprofitable store estate and digital disruption. But if the figures released in May are anything to go by, it has also overcome them.

Stores designed to support a range of customer needs from social events to baby classes and coffee breaks have moved Mothercare out of commoditisation into a new value proposition. In addition, the digital first strategy has led to an omnichannel proposition that supports cross-channel customer journeys, as well as range extension in-store enabled by digital tools.

WEB EFFECTIVENESS 21/25

Nicola Dunlop,

User Experience Analyst, User Vision

Recent figures would suggest that UK retailer Mothercare is pioneering the delivery of a seamless service experience across digital platforms, yet from our recent online experience, it would appear there are some aspects yet to be refined. There are few navigational issues such as the distracting quick link panels placed within the drop down menu and use of carousel content on both mobile and desktop platforms. The nature of the site encourages a product-based search and so assumes that users know what they are looking for. However, a more personable approach based on user need could not only quickly signpost users to appropriate content but support users in providing them with exactly what they require.

MOBILE 14/25

Elle Hankinson, Burn The Sky

Mothercare’s core market is made up of millennials so it’s clear that digital needs to be a key focus for the company. The overarching impression on opening its app on an iPhone 6 is its ease of use – there are no glitches, which makes it an enjoyable and fast user experience – key for converting browsing into sales.

The UX design and user journey is clear and the ability to personalise the app’s home screen will be appealing to its market of enthusiastic mothers. Mothercare cites personalisation as a key focus in its business strategy and these first steps are a great way towards that goal. It is also on-trend offering native content through its app.

However, while the Mothercare app is well designed in many ways, the fact that I can’t register as a new user – and cannot complete my purchase without registering, is a fundamental flaw. Fortunately I can make a purchase as a guest.

INTERNET RETAILING IN STORE 18/25

Pete Brown, Consultant, Kurt Salmon

Mothercare’s vision and strategy statements refer to “the introduction of digital screens and video walls, iPads, customer Wi-Fi and click-and-collect to all our stores”. While there is evidence that some of this technology has been put in place, this does not yet extend to digital screens.

In store, customers can browse, order and pay for items via store assistants’ iPads – and if necessary return unwanted goods to any store. Mothercare also promotes the use of iPads within its personal shopping service, to support staff many of whom are skilled in specific product areas.

Since the company’s target audience comprises digital natives, Mothercare will need to future proof by delivering and fulfilling its digital ambitions.
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