Why you need to engage ‘shopping mums’


Pharmacists and pharmacy assistants need to engage with mothers – because they’re the ones who hold the purse strings and wield enormous purchasing power.

This is the message from CEO of Marketing to Mums Katrina McCarter.

She also warns that mothers have very exacting standards when it comes to the customer experience – and you disappoint them at your peril.

“Mums have a very high expectation of customer experience and they understand their value as a shopper,” Ms McCarter said. “Often, they’re shopping for multiple generations, so they understand their power too.

“To meet that customer-experience expectation, there needs to be a lot more work done at all levels – by the business owner, by the pharmacist, and by the pharmacy assistants. They all need to be singing that same song.”


A cautionary tale

Ms McCarter tells a cautionary real-life tale of how not to treat a shopping mother. At least, not if you want her to return to your store and recommend it to others.

“I had someone contact me about a terrible experience they had in a particular fashion retailer,” she said. “This lady walked in and looked at some clothing and, when she was approached by a young girl who was the assistant, she asked if a particular item was available in a size 14. The retail assistant turned to her and said, ‘No, we don’t carry extreme sizes’.

“At that point, the customer obviously put the item down and took her business elsewhere, particularly as 14 is the average size in Australia.

“It’s just one tiny example that shows the importance of understanding customers – and particularly educating about mums.”

Education and training

The importance of education is a point that Ms McCarter drives home. She argues that pharmacists and their assistants must learn to see things from the shopping mother’s point of view.

“If a pharmacy assistant understands what (the mother’s) problems are, what’s on her mind, how she how she prefers to be communicated with, it will make a real difference,” she said.

“What I’m talking about is training – around topics like understanding mothers. It can be some very basic education done at a store level where that empathy really counts at the coalface.

“So if your pharmacy assistant or your team members can understand where mum is coming from, and what might be happening in her day, they’re going to be able to empathise and build that relationship far more effectively.”

In fact, even knowing the basic shape of a mother’s day could help give pharmacy staff an advantage when engaging with her in-store.

“For example,” Ms McCarter said, “knowing that at two-thirty in the afternoon, what she’s got on her mind is getting back to pick the kids up from school.

“Or, if she’s got a young baby, what are the kind of common ailments that she might be dealing with? How is she coping? Is she sleep deprived? How can I best assist this mum in this space?”