The free to download app lets users purchase items directly from their phones, find their nearest Mothercare outlet, scan items while in store and also use its companion features, such as composing ‘to do’ lists.
Users can personalise the app by fitting it with pictures of their children, enter their due date, so the brand can make timely product recommendations via its push messaging feature, and also use it to access the retailer’s library of content such as Mothercare TV as well as its blogging forum.
Simon Calver, Mothercare CEO, told Marketing Week the decision to launch the app was taken as 30 per cent of its total web traffic was generated by mobile devices and its own research demonstrated how mothers rely heavily on their smartphones.
“I saw digital as the opportunity when I joined [in April this year]. This was a priority and a way for us to use the faith and trust that people have in the Mothercare brand,” he says.
“Rather than have four or five different [parenting] sites and apps we thought we’d bring all this functionality together [and offer it to mums] to create a dialogue and relationship with the user.”
Calver also says that Mothercare will advance its digital strategy by including it as part of the in-store experience. He wants to become “experience led” by providing lessons on skills like carseat fitting and establishing services such as click and collect.
“People that think which channels to prioritise are thinking wrong, you have to think about customers and they’re increasingly multi-channel,” he says.
Mothercare claims over half (56 per cent) of mothers say they would struggle to parent without their smartphone, and that new mothers spend an average of one hour a day reading parenting websites and blogs on their device.
The study of over 1,000 mothers also indicates that mothers buy more clothes for their children through on their phones than they do for themselves and over a quarter (27 per cent) say they trust the advice they find on the internet more than that given by family.
The Apple app will be shortly followed by an Android version with the initial iOS version set to feature in the brand’s through the line marketing activity which will also include in-app ads, paid search and affiliate marketing activity to encourage downloads.
Competition in the baby market has increased in recent months as Kiddicare and the supermarkets ramp up activity.
Mothercare reported an improvement in sales performance in the three months to end of November but is closing a number of stores as it struggles in the downturn.