Lessons in loyalty from Mothercare?

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Speak to any parents and they’ll express sadness at the news this week that Mothercare is to cease trading in the UK with the closure of its 79 stores.
But no one is wholly shocked. It seems while the brand had a strong fan base, that following was not resulting in sales and the business had already closed the majority of the 400 UK stores it had in 2007.
While retail analysts will continue to highlight the company’s failure to roll with the times, by not improving its online offering or producing ‘fast fashion’, I wanted to take a moment to see what we could learn from the brand.
Having had two babies in the last three years, I’ve made my fair share of Mothercare trips. In those early, sleep-deprived weeks, the store represented a safe haven, where staff were friendly and approachable, shops were welcoming and bright and baby changing facilities were spacious and clean; there were even baby weighing facilities.
It’s tough getting out and about with a new-born, never mind a toddler in tow. And that is where I hope other stores who wish to curate loyalty among parents will look and take note. For a hole will be left where Mothercare once reigned, since opening its first store in 1961.
Staff members were often parents themselves and well-versed in the needs and irrational worries of new mums and dads. Stores had well-trained experts on each product range and would usually be on hand to offer a pram demonstration or car seat fitting. It’s that personal, hands-on approach that I hope other brands will take ownership of now a gap has opened in the market.
While many will point to Mothercare’s UK demise as a reason not to invest in this time-heavy approach, I hope some will see the benefits of cultivating brand loyalty at this key moment of transition, as a consumer moves from ‘kid-free’ to the lucrative family target market.
To the 2,800 staff members who risk losing their jobs following this week’s announcement, I’d like to say thank you. For helping me and many new parents navigate a confusing time; and for the genuine interest and care shown to your customers.