Written by Dr. Taapsi Ramchandani
How do people discover new brands? Who are the influencers and what are the networks and guides that shape buying behavior.
We spoke to mothers with children under the age of 3 years and asked them about these questions. As a mother myself, this study was close to my heart. I know what I do when I’m searching for kid-friendly products. Was this similar to how other mothers were doing it?
The babycare product industry, pegged at 18 billion USD as of 2020 and projected to grow at almost 5% CAGR, is a rapidly expanding industry that has seen massive influx of high-quality premium products as consumers get better informed and savvier with their buying habits.
Understanding what happens before a purchase is made holds the key to understanding the context behind that coveted sale. So let’s get into it!
Personal networking fuels the buyer’s journey
When it comes to discovering new products and kids-related services, young mothers are taking their cues from family and friends. Mothers, sisters, sister-in-laws, friends (who are also mothers) all figure significantly in this stage of the buyer’s journey.
Here are what some mothers said on the topic of influencers in their lives:
All my family said they are hearing bad things about Johnson & Johnson, so not to use that.
I bought Mee Mee liquid bottle cleanser, because it was recommended over the brand I was using...this was about a month ago...it was recommended by the moms on the (WhatsApp) group…
I have a dadi ma at home, so I ask her.
It's called Right Brain Education which I found out about from a friend and then even a customer of mine who sort of told me about it.
The research must go on
But this is just one node of the discovery process. Once a brand/idea has been introduced to a mother, we’ve found that our young moms will promptly verify/research that brand or product online before purchase. In short, the consideration/research milestone in the buyer’s journey tilts more heavily towards online search.
Here’s what we collected on the topic of brand/product research:
I used apps and all of that stuff. First two months, I spoke to my mother on and off. She was also at the hospital a lot. I just went for the doctor’s appointment. That's all I did. And followed the doctor's WhatsApp group. I keep checking it. I don't participate as much
I also use Mommy A-Z. It’s an online forum and a friend of mine added me after I had my baby.
I use Pinterest a lot and there are some blogs that helped me. Like Stress-Free Mommies for night-time potty training. Monarch Mommy. And Simple Modest Chic.
I type in and search for everything.
The habit of browsing
In fact, when we tallied up how many times mothers mentioned browsing online alongside other everyday habits like taking care of the baby and taking care of self, online mentions were up there on the list!
They were posting on forums, researching and chatting as they built their social and knowledge networks online:
Sometimes, I would be browsing through Facebook so I would post there.
At night when I have time, I will open the WhatsApp group (keeps it on mute) and I go through the conversation and see if I can help out.
My baby had an ear infection one day and I sent out an SOS on the (WhatsApp) group and I got a response.
Retail companies use the term “phygital” to describe the phenomenon of blending consumer experiences between online and offline worlds. A consumer might browse online and buy offline (we see this in the jewelry category, for example) or browse offline but buy online (think, home appliances).
This phenomenon holds true for the babycare/mothercare category as well. Product (and service) discovery is happening through a combination of social networking and online research.
For brands in this space catering to the needs of Zoomer and Millennial mothers, the big takeaway is to build an authentic and relatable brand. One mother will get you 5 more if you strike the right cord. Make your product images relatable 📷, be present on WhatsApp and FB 🗨️, and pay attention to your Google reviews 📈.