When it comes to choosing and buying a travel system, what are parents looking for? We asked this question – and more – to Debbie Homer-Davis, owner of  independent baby store, The Baby Lady, the largest in the UK’s south east:

“Here at BabyLady we encourage customers to consider their lifestyle:

  • Will it work for you?
  • Is the handle the right height?
  • Will it fit into your car boot?
  • Is it too heavy for your needs?
  • Do you need to walk for miles every day or do you just want to pop into town?
  • Will it work throughout your parenting journey?
  • Style and colour is also very important to today’s customers: will their friends admire their choice?”
We asked Debbie whether the cost-of-living crisis has affected parents’ buying choices and are whether she is concerned about the danger of the second hand market:
“There has always been a market for second hand and we don’t see that disappearing. However, we are still seeing a lot of parents choosing to buy new, some with help from parents and grandparents. They might not pay for it all but often chip in, helping out to spread the cost. It’s become quite a multi-generational purchase – and in many cases we have whole families come to visit the store!”
What trends are you seeing in the wheeled goods market and what are parents most interested in at the moment?
“We are also seeing colour and style trends really influencing customer choices.  If the product is amazing in terms of functionality, if it doesn’t also look great many customers just wont purchase it. We are also seeing customers liking the idea of ‘future proofing’ and choosing something that will double up if their family expands – investment pieces that might be a bit more expensive but will last for several children.”
How can brands better support retailers to sell wheeled goods more easily?
“For retail stores, bring back brochures! We don’t always want to push customers back to online websites. They don’t have to be super detailed but they need glossy pictures  to take home or show their friends and family. They shouldn’t  include things that are only available from supplier’s own websites in the brochures.
Suppliers should stop sending customers discount codes to buy from their own supplier websites. If they truly want stores to survive so they can showcase your products and provide a future for retail, send them into to stores, incentivise them to buy from us.
If they really want to help, add a carriage charge for any consumer buying direct as this would also encourage them to come to stores. We are better at quantifying the sale and we also handle aftersales for you, saving them time and money plus a whole load of hassle.”
What’s the next innovation in travel systems?
“Rather than innovation with travel systems I thing we will see the growth of accessories,  like carrycot stands and double adapters, things that will make travel systems last longer. I also see the development of car seats that will fit onto prams past 13kg as customers do seem to like the option of a car seat on wheels. 
I would like to see car seat manufacturers offer stores loyalty discount vouchers so that the customer will return to the store to purchase the second stage car seat from the same brand.”
What do parents look for when choosing a baby carrier – and how can brands better support retailers to sell carriers more easily?
“Parents visiting stores to see baby carriers want to try them on for style and comfort.  Suppliers need to offer free demo models and weighted babies. Some do this but many don’t. We shouldn’t have to use new stock so that customers can try them on, which is really important as a point of difference as a retail destination store.”

Contact The Baby Lady on (UK) 01227 787500

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