Unless you have small children, there’s a chance that you might not be familiar with Morrisons’ acquisition Kiddicare. But Retail Week has been tracking the company’s progress for years. Here I give the lowdown on the retailer’s technical expertise.
Multichannel retailer Kiddicare first came to my attention back in 2008, after it moved into a massive new showroom and warehouse facility in Peterborough.
At the time the company was about to go live with a new warehouse management system, and was already seeing impressive results from other technology used in-store, not least its kiosks. Scott-Weavers-Wright’s passion for the business and technology, joined with his wife Elaine’s mastery of the buying and merchandising side of the business made for a compelling story, and after meeting them both I was sure that they would go far.
Since then the retailer’s website particularly has come on leaps and bounds. Scott Weavers-Wright – who Retail Week ranked at number 7 in its Etail Power List in 2010 - is fearless when it comes to adopting web technology, and innovating to offer his customers something they can’t get elsewhere on the web.
Kiddicare publishes service reviews as well as product reviews, mindful that if it doesn’t, parents will only make their feelings known on other internet forums such as Mumsnet. You can also search reviews of products by the type of person who has left comments – for instance, narrowing down the reviews of products to other first-time mums, or parents of premature babies – giving the site the kind of community feel that others aspire to.
Kiddicare has also been a pioneer in home delivery – working with logistics provider Unipart to create a text message rearrange service for deliveries to improve the customer experience. Other enhancements include a one-hour delivery slot and Saturday delivery services.
Kiddicare wasn’t the first retailer to market with an iPhone app or mobile website, but Weavers-Wright made sure that the user experience for both developments was good before he launched, and after seeing the sharp uptick in consumers accessing his main site from their mobile phones he is confident of this becoming a substantial channel to market. Up to 20% of sales could be completed via a mobile phone this year, predicts Kiddicare. And with its app having a barcode scanner to allow customers to check Kiddicare’s prices while in other retailer’s stores, it’s not surprising.
Kiddicare has also been innovative in how it works with the big name nursery brands it stocks. After offering branded kiosks in its superstore, it has more recently introduced an online merchandising system to promote those willing to pay for the service on its site.
The business has won a whole raft of industry awards in the past three years, not least the BT Multichannel Integration Award, at the Retail Week Technology Awards 2009.
With Scott and Elaine now set to bring their expertise to Morrisons as it attempts to develop a non-food offer online, the grocer has a real chance to rattle the cages of the more established players.