Not really kids play – taking retail lessons from Mothercare
retail lessons from Mothercare

The Ampersand blog has some great insights into the retail world. They recently published an insight into modern retail focusing on Mothercare, focusing on six lessons all other retailers can learn from fallen star of the High Street.

The thing is, not all these lessons are positive. Mothercare is quite a forward-thinking brand that has a good in-store look and feel as well as a developed online offering, but as the Ampersand article suggests, sometimes this is not enough. The customer experience can break down when the fabric between various channels is weak. In other words, if you have a problem with your data, systems, or processes, then it doesn’t matter how innovative your app or website it, there will probably be issues in the overall experience.

First let’s review the six lessons Ampersand suggests are essential: 

  1. Instore teams and the online website must have access to the same product information and stock data so the instore experience can be as rich as the online.
  2. Don’t offer an app if it requires extensive configuration
  3. If you are going to offer reminders of abandoned baskets then make sure all systems are linked up to make sure the customer did not complete the transaction in another way
  4. Offer real-time access to stock information
  5. Don’t offer online promotions that are not available in-store – the customer expects one single channel, not multiple rules about how they can shop
  6. Ensure that the customer service team is available easily at any time

These are all sensible tips, but I think the most important advice for any retailer was the initial comment that where the fabric between channels is weak breakdowns in service will occur.

The most important point to remember is that customers expect a great service regardless of how they shop. They want to be able to shop online or to visit a store and to find both experiences good. If the retailer offers a promotion then it applies to any type of shopping channel, if the customer service team is not available when the customer wants to ask a question then that’s a problem. All these issues appear to be fairly minor in isolation, but can create a very negative brand experience when compounded together.

After exploring this list of six recommendations, which would you pick out as the most important for retailers in 2016? Leave a comment here.

Photo by Simon D licensed under Creative Commons.

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