Parents looking for the right crib, the safest car seat, or the best stroller are in serious research mode. They need details, specs, safety data, and much more product knowledge than a shopper looking for a new toaster. Trust in a product or a brand is crucial for this segment. A recent survey revealed how much shoppers trust online reviews for products they need. When baby supply giants Toys R Us and Babies R Us were folding, the disruption in the retail space for baby items was a real struggle for brands. Some upped their e-commerce game, but once COVID-19 shut down brick and mortar stores, products on the store shelves languished.
Brands are still learning hard lessons from the pandemic, but consumers have learned a thing or two as well. A full 73% of shoppers, according to a report by McKinsey, plan on continuing some of the shopping habits they acquired when stores were shut down. Buy online and pick-up in store (BOPIS) as well as curbside pick-up and contactless checkout are all practices that some consumers have said they will still use, even now that stores are open. This shift is something that brands in the baby and juvenile space especially will need to address.
There are unique challenges to each channel, for sure, but much like siblings who argue over who likes who best, it’s a circular concept that doesn’t really get your brand where it needs to be. Many products are sold in both channels, so how can brands organize themselves so that no matter where a shopper is in the path to purchase, the right information, innovation, and intel is available?
By covering both channels with expert representation. Some products don’t need an online rep to talk it up, or a store associate to educate shoppers on the benefits, but no parent is pulling the trigger on a crib mattress without seeing and touching it in person. So, they go “showrooming” and head off to a store to look at their options and figure out which one they’re interested in, and then come home and research reviews and prices online. Showrooming has always been a pain point for brands and retailers, but with a combination approach that keeps your in store presence as organized and seamless as your e-commerce site, your brand can be the favorite.
During the pandemic, everyone was reacting. From keeping stores clean and employees safe, to addressing staffing shortages and supply chain issues, it was one thing after another. A reactive mode is never successful long-term. Now that the immediate challenges of COVID are fading, brands that are proactive will see the best results but they need a comprehensive plan.
For in store, a field team of brand reps can be your eyes and ears in physical stores. Reps dedicated to your brand can make sure that your products are in stock, displays are clean, signage is clear and retail associates know enough about the products. Customers who come across picked-over store displays or poor signage, aren’t heading to that brand’s website. An e-commerce chat platform that has awkward chatbots and no human interaction will send parents clicking away. Brands can benefit from improvements in both areas; e-commerce sites staffed with brand advocates who already know and love your products, along with dedicated brand reps across multiple doors gives key account managers the information they need.
ThirdChannel and our solution partner Needle have worked with baby and kids brands before, during, and after the pandemic. Click below to read a case study of one of our customers.
Interested in learning how ThirdChannel supports baby and kids brands? Click to learn how we support ThirdChannel customer 4moms.