newborn human
If you think giving birth is hard, try shopping for a newborn online. PHOTO: irenegoeleven

So, I’m about to be a new mom again. As with my other children, I made big plans to get all my neonatal shopping done before the birth.

This time, I schemed; I would use my online shopping prowess to make sure that when I got home from the hospital, everything would be ready and waiting — even the stuff I special-ordered from overseas.

Then I actually sat down to start shopping.

E-Reality Check

Digital retailers targeting expecting women or new moms (we’ll call them ‘new moms’ just to keep it simple), please take special note here.

First off, you should know that the jokes about new moms being tough customers have a lot of merit (Q: What’s the difference between a new mom and a terrorist? A: You can negotiate with a terrorist).

Secondly, appreciate that new moms are a highly lucrative segment — they can’t wait, won’t compromise, and don’t mind spending a bit more to get exactly what they

And that’s why, writing not only as a new mom but also a digital customer experience professional, I can claim with some authority that online retailers are not making the most of the new mom opportunity.

5 Painful CX Experiences

To start, here are five particularly painful customer experience examples from the websites of a major UK clothing retailer and major international retailer:

1. News Flash: Not All Babies Are the Same Size

When shopping in any store online, I’m a heavy filter user. They help me find what I want faster and — from the retailer’s perspective — speed my progress toward checkout. This is why I couldn’t help but notice when this clothing retailer offered no size options in the filter menu. Not all babies are the same size, guys! Make it easier for me to find the right size and not just the right brand.

2. In Stock or Not In Stock?

New moms are not known for their patience. We’ve got a lot on our plates. With that in mind, if the newborn sizes of a onesie are out of stock, why should they appear in my search results? I don’t want to know what you can’t sell me. Ineffective coordination of stock and search results wastes my time as a shopper and lowers your credibility as a retailer.

3. Personalization Applies to Gender, Too

I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to gender roles, labels or external references. However, if I’ve spent half an hour on a site looking for boys’ clothing, is there really any reason to show me options designed specifically for girls on the search results page?

4. What’s Included? What’s Not?

I’m an experienced mom, yet new versions of familiar products and all-new devices can still be confusing. Breast pumps, such as, have a lot of add-ons — some critical, some less so. Digital retailers need to work harder to make sure that new moms can be 100 percent clear what is and is not included in each product or product bundle.

5. Bundle Brand Sensitivity

New moms are notoriously — some might say superstitiously — brand-sensitive. If I’ve just ordered a primary product from a trusted brand, chances are I’m going to want add-on products from the same brand. Thus, these should be the first upsell items I see.

On the flip side of this, if you see I'm building a package from one brand - offer me the price of a similar package from a competing brand, including shipping costs and times.

Delivery Time: Not Just for Babies Anymore

When you’re shopping online for a new baby, the term ‘delivery’ takes on a whole new significance. Giving birth, digital retailers should note, is a time-sensitive undertaking. You can’t just cross your legs and hope the baby items you ordered will arrive before you head to the hospital.

In other words, for new moms, what you buy is nearly as important as when you can get it.

As I leaned over my belly and shopped on a major international retail site, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lack of shipping clarity. Would I get the items I needed before the birth, or not?

It was hard to tell. The reason is that commodity items like diapers and wipes often have different shipping times associated with them — and these times aren’t specified until checkout.

For new moms, delivery times (of the goods, not the baby) need to be super clear right at the top of the funnel. For new moms, shipping time and cost are an integral part of the decision-making process — not an afterthought.

A Bundle Option for the Bundle of Joy

New mom bundles are one area where digital retailers fall sadly short, and where traditional brick and mortar stores are really doing it right. Where I live, the large baby chains offer a fully loaded new baby bundle — literally everything from a crib, linens, baby monitor, stroller, diapers, and everything in-between. And they offer it for one flat fee, including delivery. It’s not cheap, but it’s so simple.

As a veteran mom, I now know how much of the stuff they sold me was actually unnecessary — but I’ll file this under the category of caveat emptor.

The point is, digital retailers have access to a vastly greater choice of products than my local baby store. Why wait until I start building a list and then suggest more items? Offer me a full ‘Bundle of Joy’ bundle, and include shipping costs and timeframe early in the funnel.

Remember This

The takeaway for digital retailers is simple: being a new mom is hard enough.

Make it easier for me to get what I need quickly and simply, and you’re not only going to win my business, you’re going to win my brand loyalty.

And with more babies on the way every day, that can spell a lot of diaper sales.