4 April 2013

A Revolution in Shopping

We all know that many of the best shopping bargains are found online, but it's so hard to evaluate products from just a few pictures. You end up torn between buying a bargain product you may be disappointed in or paying over the odds for something you've seen in person. But the face of shopping is changing with the opening of ten new Kiddicare stores across the country. I was invited along to a special blogger event for the opening of the new Kiddicare Aintree store. Though it was a bit a trek for me on public transport, it was well worth the journey!
The new Kiddicare stores are combining competitive internet pricing with the benefits of traditional brick & mortar stores. Every product is marked with a digital price tag, which updates automatically to match their online prices - so you know you're always getting the best Kiddicare price.
But they are also offering the huge range of products you find online, in a store where you can get your hands on them. You have no idea how excited I was when the first thing I spotted as I walked through the doors was the Uppababy G-Luxe Pushchair. I've been desperate to try one out, but no where else seems to stock them! (Plus it was about £10 cheaper than the best price I've seen.)
And check out their huge selection of car seats. This wide range of products is perfect for parents with special needs or health concerns, as you can try out all the buckles, handles and controls to find what works best for you.
The Aintree store is quite spacious and has large sections devoted to car seats, toys, high chairs, clothes, bedroom furniture and push chairs. One of my favourite sections was the safety gate zone. I've run into enough baby gates in my life to know they're not all created equal, but when confronted with just a stack of boxes there's no way to know which ones will drive you 'round the twist.
Kiddicare have a neat corridor where you can try opening them. I nearly had a panic attack when Mr Goldfish managed ping the handle of one across the room (and we still couldn't get it open). Luckily after a short struggle we managed to clip it back on and scuttle away in embarrassment, but that's a model we won't be buying when our time comes! We did find a few gates we liked though, and we've added them to our mental list for the future.
After the struggle I've had finding maternity clothes the last few weeks, it wasn't long before the clothing section was drawing me in. I'm afraid the Kiddicare maternity wear section is a bit small at the moment with just the two racks, but I'm told it's something they are looking to expand in the near future.
When it came to the toys I was thrilled to find they even stock a whole aisle of eco-friendly Hape Toys. We were so pleased with the Mighty Mixer, e-Offroader and Stormy Seas game we bought as Christmas presents, I'm sure I'll be back for more Hape toys soon!
What makes Kiddicare special though isn't just the shopping, the whole store is family friendly experience. I appreciated the water coolers that were dotted around the store, as I'm still in that wibbly phase of pregnancy. There's also a nursing nest for mother's looking for a bit of privacy and I found the Mummy & Child toilets really cute!
We ended our trip with a visit to the Kiddicafe. The other Mum's in our group were really impressed with the Kiddicare children's meals, which allowed you to select a sandwich, drink, and snacks all for just £3, making it affordable for a day out.
And for the Mum's they offer Starbucks' coffee and cakes! (Fine, if you want to be all healthy and sensible there were sandwiches too!)
Overall I was really impressed with the store. They have a brilliant selection of products to choose from at really competitive prices, plus they offer some fab customer service and family friendly atmosphere. They also offer handy services like free car seat fitting and winter buggy MOTs. The store plans to become a part of the community too, by hosting play groups, antenatal classes and baby yoga just to name a few.
If you've a little one on the way it's well worth the trip out to your nearest Kiddicare, to suss out your must have items. I'm sure we'll be going back soon, but I'm surprised by how highly I now regard the Kiddicare website too. It's definitely going to be one of my go-to shops, both on online and on the high street, from now on!

Disclosure: I was invited along to the free blogging event and received a goody bag of baby items. However all opinions are my own.