MOBILE HAS GIVEN Mothercare new ways to open up direct conversations with its customers. Harpinder Singh, the nursery retailer’s mobile commerce manager, says its customers, who are the parents of babies and young children, want more than a buggy or nursery furniture from the retailer. “They’re looking for a lot more than just a transaction,” he said. “They’re looking for service, advice and information.”
As part of its response to that demand, Mothercare has launched a range of ways for its smartphone and tablet-wielding customers to engage with it. It has mobile sites for Mothercare and sister brand the Early Learning Centre, as well as smartphone and iPad apps, some of which have won awards. Content includes information on baby development, a name finder, and music. “We put a whole bunch of engaging content in those so they do more than just sell,” said Singh, speaking at the Demandware customer conference in October. “Mobile has opened up that opportunity to create a great transaction and a great customer experience that gets people coming back to you,” he added.
Mobile and social media are closely linked because so many people monitor their social networks from their mobile devices. The IRUK 500, 2015 research shows that Mothercare is present on six social networks, while both its app and product page have social media sharing. Its links to social media put it second in the Breadth section of Subdimension of Brand and Engagement. This won it a place as a Leading company in the Brand and Engagement Dimension.
Mobile, says Singh, has created new opportunities to talk to customers, including via social networks accessed on the move. This has in turn inspired a wide range of UK brands, including Topshop, Asos and Net a Porter, to deliver engaging content. “I think mobile has opened up that opportunity,” he says. “It can create great transactions and a great customer experience so that you get people coming back to you.” Mothercare is set to extend the engagement that it has with customers via its mobile app to the store, via beacons.
Singh admits it can be hard to keep up with fast moving technology. But, he adds: “I think the brands that don’t take advantage of mobile going forward are really going to suffer. The technology’s moving so quickly now. I can’t keep up and sometimes you don’t know where to put your focus and energy, but if you remember that the customer’s at the heart of everything you do, I think that’s the important bit. I think mobile’s allowed us to connect on that level.”