Before Kiddicare was cleverly bought by Morrisons last week (yes, we all know it’s a great way to have bought online expertise) it had stated its intention to move into selling nappies.
While admittedly not as big an announcement as the acquisition, it is still interesting as it highlights how valuable nappies are becoming to driving repeat business.
Just as offering booze on the cheap has been used by the supermarkets to drive people into their stores – who then buy a whole load of other stuff – nappies have been recognised as a way for Kiddicare to keep customers shopping regularly at its online shop.
In the US, nappies were the sole item sold by Diapers.com that was set up with a whizzy state-of-the-art infrastructure that the owners intended to leverage into selling loads of other lines – once they had signed-up lots of regular nappy buyers.
Such was the potential of the business to successfully add an infinite array of products to its initial nappy selection that Amazon.com stepped in and bought its parent company Quidsi for $545 million late last year.
The idea is that people don’t want to carry these bulky things home when they go shopping so why not buy them online for home delivery.
But there is a potential problem in the UK – since the discounting of booze by the major grocers has become such a hot potato it is likely that the supermarkets have nappies in their sights.
I don’t know how many regular drinkers there are in the UK but what I can tell you is that as many as 17% of all supermarket shoppers have a baby or a toddler. That’s a lot of nappies so, for example, offering a hefty 20% discount is going to appeal to a lot of customers – who will quickly forget about the bulkiness of the product if the price is right.
If Kiddicare thought it was going to be easy achieving its aim of grabbing a 10% share of the UK nappy market then I reckon they were mistaken. But now that they’ve the deep-pocketed Morrisons onboard they can happily play the discounting-nappy game.
And the extra upside for Morrisons is that it will help it to overcome its problem of having the smallest percentage of young shoppers compared with the other big grocers.