As the trend toward online shopping continues at the peril of brick-and-mortar, certain categories, such as baby products, find consumers using both online and offline shopping to get the best deal and the right-for-them product.
In a recent global survey conducted by market-research firm Trybe of 22,582 parents or expectant parents, we learned a tremendous amount around how, where, and why parents choose specific products for their children.
Most American parents (71%) want to see and try the product in a way that’s too limiting to do so online. They want to test the products, to confirm or debunk the online reviews in order to decide if the product is the best choice for their child. Even with such a plethora of online information, 44% of parents report that they don’t feel comfortable making a purchase unless they personally test the quality of the product.
Some new parents, not surprisingly, use shopping at times as an excuse to get out of the house (56% reported they shop because they just enjoy shopping as an experience). So retailers that sell to new moms should focus on improving the shopping experience, especially by providing in-store demos, in order to keep them coming back.
But those same parents, as much as they enjoy shopping, often have too much on their plates (or sitting on their laps) to spend an afternoon at the mall; so, instead they turn to the convenience of the Internet. In fact, 59% of American parents say that convenience is the biggest reason they shop online, specifically because it’s easier to compare prices and to shop from multiple outlets.
New parents are smart shoppers who want the biggest bang for their buck (and their little ones), and online research has become the default first step in choosing baby products. Nearly all American parents surveyed (92%) say that they will either “sometimes” or “all the time” research a product online before making a new purchase. For many of these parents, this online research results in an offline purchase.
Some parents will test a product in a store before buying online, but this happens less so than the reverse process. About three-fourths of American parents (73%) “sometimes” or “all the time” test a product in a physical store before heading back home to buy online in the hopes of saving money.
The big takeaway here is that retailers need to fully integrate their ecommerce sites, filling them with reviews and videos to assist parents with their research. Additionally, physical stores that have a strong online presence, while making the shopping experience as valuable as possible (through hands-on demos and plenty of space for the kids to play) will be able to retain those consumers who visit to test offline but intend to buy online.
Trybe’s research on baby products is wide-ranging and includes data from 10 other countries outside the U.S. If you’re interested in learning more, please let me know