Many of you know that I don’t really like shopping (my tendency to pick up bogofs makes food shopping expensive and clothes shopping for me has always been one of my worst nightmares) but baby shopping is something I’ve really started to enjoy.
I’d heard via Twitter that Kiddicare was opening a new store in my local area and I was really looking forward to seeing it. I was invited along to the brand new Merry Hill store on Friday afternoon to have a look around and I wasn’t disappointed.
The store is located at the top of the Merry Hill complex and is easily accessible from the A4036 with it’s own large car park with free parking. There’s absolutely no doubting where the store is as the bright blue and white branding is very clear and very inviting.
I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the store exploring all the areas and in my own unbiased mummy-to-be opinion, it’s absolutely amazing! The store is huge; there’s over 40,000 square foot packed full of baby and toddler related products with child friendly facilities to make the visit enjoyable for both parents and their children.
At the front of the store are signposts for those who wish to be directed to a particular area with a large customer services desk should you need to talk to a member of staff.
Products are grouped together (car seats, pushchairs and travel systems, feeding, clothing, nursery furniture etc) and within each area, there’s a wide selection of products including popular branded items a long with Kiddicare own brand products.
For a first time Mummy-to-be, I’ve been overwhelmed with the choice of products that are out there for newborns so what I really liked about the layout of the store is that all the products are available to pick up and look at and can be easily compared with each other.
The ‘Walk in the Park’ race track allows parents to pick a pushchair and take it for a spin. There’s no restrictions on the distance you can travel with it and you can really get a feel for the product and whether it’s right for you and your needs.
The Pit Stop features a huge choice of car seats and advice is to hand in a variety of ways. Firstly, there’s a huge display with a step by step guide on how to choose the correct car seat with a handy height chart which allows you to measure the height of your child. One of the best features about the Pit Stop is a cool little computer that allows customers to take a virtual ticket for the dedicated car seat fitting advice team. You input your name and phone number and when it’s your turn in the queue, you get sent a text message to let you know that a member of staff is waiting for you. I know my hubby will absolutely love this, no faffing and waiting in a line like the good ol’ British customers that we are, you can continue to browse the store at your leisure and the text will let you know when it’s your turn. Genius!
I was impressed with the display of safety gates available. They’re all lined up to test and you can have a look which suits your home the best. There’s also a selection of kitchen cupboards with a range of child-proof locks which shows you how the products work and gives you an idea of the level of safety that these products would provide.
One of the best features in store are the electronic price tags. They display the current price of the product along with the RRP and how many items are in stock. If the price of a product changed on the Kiddicare website, these little beauties would be automatically updated so that the most current price was always displayed. No guessing if the price is better online. How cool is that?
Dotted around the store are pregnant pauses (or small informal seating areas) for you to take the weight off your feet and features small play tables to keep the kids entertained whilst you browse and ponder the ‘should I buy this one or that one?’ questions.
Also around the store are handy kiosks which allow you to browse online for products and gives you the choice to buy in store for collection or home delivery. I got a little bit confused over using the kiosk so enlisted the help of a member of staff who explained how to use the kiosk and what my choices were. I had already decided to buy a mattress for BabyShilts’ cotbed from Kiddicare so took advantage of the on-hand advice and spoke to a well-trained member of staff who answered all of my questions and made me feel at ease with my purchase.
As a first time mummy-to-be, the most frequent question I get asked by family and friends is what can they get me to help us out. Kiddicare have taken this dilemma on board and have created the Baby Gift List and Registry. Similar to a Wedding gift list, parents-to-be can select products of their choice to an accessible list so that friends and family can see what products they would like. I’m told once a product has been purchased, the item is removed from the list so there’s no duplication. I think this is a great idea, but unfortunately for us, we’re quite organised and have purchased the majority of stuff for BabyShilts’ already and so we wouldn’t need to use this now (but there’s always the next time!)
The store features an area of mocked up nurseries and bedrooms with products dressed as it would at home giving you the feel and size of how big the furniture is.
Within the Merry Hill store are the V.i.B (Very Important Baby) room and the Event Room. The V.i.B room I’m told will be used for parents to use for selecting their products for their gift lists. The Event Room hosts a variety of classes for parents and their children. As part of the tour we were treated to the Music Bugs class which are sensory music and movement classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The children on our tour really enjoyed taking part and were actively encouraged to join in, sing and have fun. It was lovely to see them get so involved with the music and enjoy themselves. Oh, and parents can join in too, except when you’re six months pregnant you feel a little silly joining in!
The facilities that Kiddicare offer in store are brilliant. They appear well thought out and designed for busy parents and their children.
The KiddiCafe offers parents the chance to buy refreshments from Starbucks and I enjoyed a very yummy decaf Caramel Macchiato hot drink in the spacious seating area. There’s also a small play area for small children which the children seemed to be enjoying when I peeked in.
There’s also a Nursing Nest area for Mums who wish to feed their child with a bit more privacy.
Down Loo Lane, there’s a large baby changing area and the toilets are fantastic! There’s no debating now about who can take the child to the toilet asn there’s cubicles with two toilets in them; one for the Mum (or Dad) and one smaller version for the child. There’s smaller sinks as well encouraging the little ones to ensure they wash their hands after toileting.
Along Loo Lane are colourful wall displays and a Community Noticeboard which allows local groups to advertise their events. If you’re looking for Baby Yoga or Toddler Play and Stay sessions, for example, these are all advertised if available in the local area.
I personally felt that the facilities available were brilliant and I can’t wait to take my hubby and our Mums along to have a nose around. Although I cannot comment on how child friendly the store is, it appears very safe and secure with plenty of staff on hand for advice and support.
I thoroughly enjoyed my several hours in store and found the experience very therapeutic (if not expensive, but that’s my fault as I did load the trolley up!)
Kiddicare Merry Hill are officially launching their new store by holding a KiddiCarnival on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th of November. There’s going to be lots of fun things to do in store including face painting, balloonists and beauty therapy sessions for Mums and Dads. There’s also going to be competitions for you to enter to win a stack of brilliant prizes including a Butlins break and Kiddicare vouchers as well as giveaways. Oh and if you’re one of the first 2,500 customers you’ll also receive a free goody bag! I cannot recommend Kiddicare enough, their customer service was brilliant and I even had a very helpful member of staff carry and put my cotbed mattress into my car. If you’d like a change from Mothercare and Babies R Us, then this is the store for you!
They’ve got a couple of offers on at the moment including the Shop More, Save More promotion whereby you can save 10% off your order when you spend £75, 15% off a £150 spend and 20% off a £300 spend. What savings! This promotion is now live and is about to be extended through to Friday 16th November 2012 and you can shop with Kiddicare in store, online, via mobile site or app (I’ve got the Iphone app and it’s brilliant) to take advantage of these offers. Terms and conditions do apply and can be found here…
I’d like to thank Jenny, Sophie and Matt for hosting such a lovely afternoon and looking after us so well. I had a great afternoon browsing the store, meeting up with fellow bloggers; Jo and Hannah who accompanied me on the tour and embracing the fact that I’m actually going to be a parent of a little one in 3 months time, it’s all so exciting and very real!
Disclaimer: All photographs and views are my own and I was very kindly given a jam packed goody bag and a well received discount on products bought in store on the day.