Why mums are moving to mobile shopping

You only need to look at the popular message board Mumsnet to see that UK mums love buying fashion online (and discussing it at great length).

Why? It’s not because having children makes all women merge into one big demographic target. It’s because they all lack something – time.

They no longer have hours to spend trawling round the shops. They want to research and buy clothes for themselves (and their kids) as quickly as possible.

We had a hunch that this might make mums high adopters of mobile shopping, and it turns out we were right.

Check out these statistics from babycentre.com:

  • 72% of UK mums own a smartphone, a higher percentage than anywhere else in the world.
  • 46% of mums have purchased something on their phones in the past month
  • 40% of UK mums have used a shopping app.
  • Three-quarters of mums use search engines on their smartphones as often as on their computer
  • 70% of UK mums say that the internet is important to them when choosing clothes & accessories.

Mobile web use is rising

Michelle Lee is the founder and director of Keungzai –  a clothing site for ‘bump and beyond’ – and she’s seen this trend in her own web stats.

Last year, mobile traffic accounted for 25% of Keungzai’s total visits. This year, it’s at 40% and they’re continuing to see this steadily increase (which is why they’ve signed up to be one of our newest clients here at Poq).

Keungzei

As she says:

From my own personal experience, I know how essential smartphones and tablets have become both as a new business owner but also quite imperatively as a mum-on-the-go. iPhones become your go-to resource for all things pregnancy, newborns, babies, toddlers….

That’s just one of the reasons why I decided to sell online – the ease and ever-improving speed of buying online is clearly appealing to the masses and even more so for mums and mums-to-be. Working mums/mums-to-be (and SAHMs) appear to have less and less time to visit the shops and quite frankly, why would you want to when you’re exhausted juggling multiple jobs or challenged with a feisty toddler who isn’t (yet) into shopping?

What does this mean for your business?

A number of big brands have already updated their multichannel offering to fit with this new way of shopping. Mothercare launched a mobile site in 2011 and an app in December 2012, after seeing 30% of their web traffic come from mobile. Family fashion brands like Next and Boden have launched apps too.

But don’t have to be selling maternity clothes or kidswear to have mums in your target market. Are your customers women in the 25-45 age bracket? You can guarantee that mums are browsing and buying your products. And increasingly, they’re doing it on their smartphones and tablets.

In fact, if you’re selling to women at all, mobile should be on your agenda. Women are adopting mobile technology much faster than men. According to a very recent consumer retail survey:

  • 61% of all UK women have purchased a product using their mobile device (up from just 37% in 2012).
  • The amount of women who ‘never’ use a mobile device to review products before making a purchase has fallen incredibly fast – 14% in 2013 vs 45% in 2012. (that’s a much bigger fall than for men, incidentally)

Three things you can do to improve your ecommerce experience for mums

Most fashion brands are selling products to women, which means that most fashion brands are selling products to mums.

As we emphasised earlier, mums aren’t one homogenous group. However, there are a few things you can do to make your ecommerce strategy friendlier to women who just need a bit more time in the day:

  • Make your returns policies very clear. You could offer free shipping and returns to make buying online less of a gamble.
  • Mums do most of the product research within the family. Make it easy for them to save and compare different products on your site, with a wishlist or comparison function.
  • Take a moment to check your mobile statistics and see how they’ve changed over the last few years. If your site isn’t easy to browse or shop from on phones and tablets, you could be missing out on sales.