Supermarket sweep – mum insight

The battle of the supermarkets is a constant rumble in our lives, two years ago Tesco were shining bright but this week announced their first profit fall in years and a £1billion recovery plan. Part of that plan is to respond to the increasing amount of shoppers spending their grocery money online. And who are the shoppers they want to target? Mums.

Earlier this year we carried out an extensive MumPanel research project looking at mums views and attitudes towards using the web*, for grocery shopping and other tasks such as using social networking sites and finding information on products. Well over a third of mums frequently shopped for groceries online and only around 15% had never used the internet for food shopping. You can see the results in the graph above.

The insight we gather from that is that supermarkets need to keep a careful eye on what’s happening online and how to appeal to mums but they can’t forget about what’s happening in store.

Last year we worked with Morrisons on a project exploring how their baby products and services appealed to mums. They’ve made changes based on some of our recommendations and as part of a wider store refit have improved the shopping experience for mums.

Both Lynne and I live in areas where Morrisons have carried out store overhauls (Warrington and Preston). The biggest changes in the Warrington store have been to the entrance and ease of getting around the store – vital things for time pushed mums who want to get to the products as quickly as possible. Foods and sections are now positioned in a way that makes more sense when you are trying to fill your trolley quickly (or meal plan as you go around – something mums do a lot!). There is also a ‘basket section’ at Warrington, meaning lunchtimers and mums can quickly grab a few essentials like lunchbox items for their kids. A good layout and access to products encourages mums to buy more, making store makeovers a win-win for everyone. Morrisons have taken the step of integrating online shopping for kids products in store by introducing Kiddicare pods, a clever move that increases brand awareness and gives in store mums the opportunity to shop online even if they wouldn’t normally.

Asda have their sights set firmly on the mum market. In February this year they launched the Asda Mumdex, a quarterly report containing the opinions and views of nearly 4000 mums on how they feel about their finances, their community and their family. Asda are working hard to re-engage mums with more in store marketing and introducing an app for Android users to make online grocery shopping easier.

We took to twitter and asked some of our mums whether improved in store marketing would appeal to them. Some of the responses were revealing – one mum said this would be ok as long as it didn’t stop her getting on with the shopping. Supermarkets need to remember that mums are busy and shopping is generally something that has to get done, not a relaxing experience (especially not if you have a toddler in tow!). Another mum said it wouldn’t make any difference to her because she’d been let down by Asda service in the past. And that marries with what we heard from the research we did last year on shopping – if mums don’t get decent service then they will go elsewhere. So for example my local Sainsbury’s has recently had a revamp. I love shopping there because I know I can always get everything I need. But on the way back to the mother and baby parking spaces there is a steep sideways slope that is very hard to navigate with a full trolley, toddler and 5 year old. Will it stop me shopping there? No. Would it if something else went wrong? Probably.

It’s worth considering a mum’s day-to-day journey when thinking about what they need and what’s going to keep them in your store. A local supermarket where I used to live kept the baby changing room locked (and you had to pay a deposit for a key). I know why they did this but as a mum who encountered it for the first time with a poo-covered baby and toddler it was enough to ensure I never went back to that supermarket.

With several supermarkets revamping their own brand ranges (including Morrisons M Range and Sainsbury’s giving Little Ones a makeover) we asked our twitter mums whether new packaging makes a difference – we heard the same message back several times. Packaging is part of the appeal but mums are more interested in the actual product – if that works for them then they will go back and try it again.

Waitrose have recently collaborated with Mumsnet to develop their online offering and they do an excellent job of creating a seamless in store and online experience (with some outstanding customer service to back it up). I’ve noticed a change in their email campaigns; making me consider them as a place I might do my regular family shop instead of a supermarket for a ‘special occasion’.

So as the fight for mums continues who will come out on top? If you’d like to know more about how our research and campaigns can help you connect with mums then contact us.

*MumPanel study April 2012. 690 respondents.

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