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2 Ways millennial mums are complicating online shopping

by Dazzle Ng Sy, Regional Head of Advertising Content, Tickled Media

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Do today’s new parents, a.k.a millennial mums and dads, have it easy?

It would seem so, as while there is still no manual on parenting, there’s now the infinitely more comprehensive Google. But millennial mums will tell you that having worldwide parenting knowledge at your disposal is both a blessing and a curse (especially when “Dr. Google” escalates a simple symptom to an incurable disease in the span of a few clicks).

Another tool available to today’s parents that’s both boon and bane is e-commerce. Prior to becoming a mum, I could count on my fingers the number of times I’d bought something online. After entering the twilight zone of newborn care, I’ve come to frequent – if not rely on – this modern convenience.

From breastfeeding accessories to diapers to onesies to booster seats to photobooks, e-shops have just made it so easy AND addictive to get my retail fix online. (Who doesn’t feel like a winner when scoring an amazing bulk deal on wet wipes?!)

But with e-tailers getting better and better at their targeting and marketing efforts, am I buying more than I need? Do I feel super savvy, when really I’m just burning a hole through my virtual wallet?

E-commerce today is incredibly complicated business (and also happens to be really good business). Being the chief household decision-maker makes things even more convoluted for mum – as with all things she does in managing the home, she’s got to get the e-shopping just right.

Armed with this intent, she (unintentionally) complicates the e-tail scene, and it keeps retailers – both on and offline – on their toes.


Surely you’ve heard of showrooming by now.


It’s when people visit the brick-and-mortar store but buy online for better prices. As shared here by TimeInc, a survey by People StyleWatch showed that 52% of the millennial women they asked, do just that.

However a whopping 75% admit to flipping the process by looking up reviews online to narrow their choices, then going to the store to make the purchase. This is called “webrooming”.

Amazingly there’s something called “webounding” which 48% of the women regularly did as well. This involves beginning the hunt online, trying the item out in-store, and circling back to the web to find best price and purchase.

Granted, this finding was for both millennial mums and those without children, baby apparel and accessories giant, Carter’s, observed the same in their shoppers. As shared in this TotalRetail article, millennial mums “frequently have a baby in one hand and their phone in the other, scrolling to find more product info, a better deal, customer reviews, among other things.”


Now let’s talk about the other things.


If I were to take a stab at what “other things” the Carter’s shopper does, it would probably involve social media and instant messaging.

While she’s discussing the merits of bandanna bibs with her mummy group on chat, friends far and near, involved and just checking in, are weighing in on the adorable little fur boots she just posted on Facebook with the hashtag #BuyOrBye.

Without realizing it, this mum has overcomplicated the purchase by involving more than a handful of people in a conversation she would have otherwise just had in her head or with one other person such as her spouse, sister, mum, or best friend.

Another thing she doesn’t realize is how early the influence of social media came into her purchase process. In the age of selfies and flaunting the best #ootd’s, one’s virtual persona is part of the shopping squad as well.

The desire to project a certain image coupled with the ability to ‘filter’ what you post, gives rise to a host of “Millennial Marthas” as this publication puts it, referring to neophyte (probably self-YouTube-taught) DIY-ers. But if you think about it, the term kind of applies to any mum who wants the world to see her as a ‘perfect’ mum.

This means that an e-tailer must now involve itself in the before (eg. Pinterest), during (mum communities), and after (social media sharing) legs of the purchase process. It’s no longer just about providing competitive prices and a smooth e-commerce experience to the millennial mum. The rules of engagement have changed to well, engaging the mum and everyone involved in her shopping journey – even her online persona.  

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