In a world where you can order your favorite items online and have them delivered in as little as 60 minutes to your door, consumers aren’t as readily making the trip to brick-and-mortar stores as they have in the past. Research shows that in the third quarter of 2015, consumers made 7.4 percent of their purchases online, which is up 4.2 percent from the previous quarter. It’s proof that consumers are spending less time in store, and more time online—and in turn that means retailers need to ensure they are maximizing customers’ in-store experiences.
Shopping with my kids is a matter close to my heart. I love spending the time with them, but I’ll be honest—as a full-time mum, as well as a full-time entrepreneur in the CPG industry, I’m constantly juggling family and work. I often opt out of in-store shopping in favor of ordering groceries through Instacart. Instacart allows you to order groceries from Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, and other grocery retailers via app, and then delivers the groceries right to your door. It’s a convenient, pleasant experience—I’ve been known to get a text during the work day from my Whole Foods shopper telling me they are out of my kids favorite Stonyfield smoothies and asking if I would like a substitute. The attention to service and detail is exactly part of what makes it a great shopping experience, though I never set foot in a store during the process.
And while it’s oh-so-convenient, at the same time, I’m missing out on an opportunity to share one of my loves (CPG) with my other loves (my kids). On weekends, when I take both my three and five year old shopping, that’s an experience, too. The three year old sits at the front basket seat and the five year old—who insists he needs to sit in the cart—rides up the front and practically fills up my shopping cart before I can even start shopping! In truth it’s not a great customer experience, but the kids really like it. Some retailers are in tune with their customers’ needs, and recognize that kids often tag along with their mum to do the shopping. These retailers provide a solution and cater to these moments with shopping carts like in the pictures below that make it a safe and enjoyable ride for the kids. And that means mums and dads can focus on getting everything they need in a painless stress-free way.
One of the common things you’ll hear mums and dads complain about when taking their kids shopping is that the kids are hungry and want to put one of everything in their cart. Some savvy retailers in Australia have eliminated this issue by providing buckets of fresh fruit specifically for kids to munch while shopping with their parents. It is, I think, another great way to get mums coming back in store with kids. It’s ingenious, really—kids are happy, mum spends more time in the store, kids’ “pester power” results in mums buying more, and everyone is happy!
And it’s not just grocery stores where this “pester power” can ruin a shopping experience for all. Ikea has a playground/minding area for kids, which is a brilliant in-store offering—everyone knows how incredibly time consuming and stressful Ikea can be in general, let alone with two kids hanging off your arms. And in airports across the U.S. some restaurants are now equipped with charging stations for your phones or laptops and built-in iPads to surf the web, keep kids entertained, or catch up on the latest news.
The trick here is to know your audience, know their behaviors and needs and cater to them. It’s the simple pleasures of shopping carts, play centers, and charged iPads that keep customers coming back to stores in person, rather than opting for the less stressful online solution. Create an in-store experience that resonates with your shoppers, and you’re not only empowering a loyal customer, you’re also helping them create happy memories for the whole family.