Kiddicare opened a new store in Hedge End, Southampton on 23rd April. Hubby, LP and I visited the day after and since then I have read at least 2 blog entries that have been re-tweeted by Kiddicare – both of which contained disclaimers to say that they were invited along by Kiddicare and received free food and goodie bags in exchange for their time and the blog entry. Both blogs weren’t, in my eyes, impartial and as a consumer I would much rather read a review written with honesty and containing both positive and negative comments – no company/product/brand is perfect and I feel that most members of the public appreciate this and gain more from reading an honest review. With this in mind I have decided to write my own impartial review of Kiddicare in general – the website and the three stores that I have been fortunate to visit so far.
I first heard of Kiddicare shortly after finding out I was pregnant with LP at the start of 2011. At this point they were mainly an online brand with one ‘Superstore’ in Peterborough. My initial thoughts of the brand were that it had an attractive, vibrant, easily accessible website where most items are on offer with frequent sales and promotions, they offered a competitive Price Match and had a good range of quality looking own brand items.
As first time parents Hubby and I decided that we should visit the Superstore in Peterborough – but living in Surrey it was quite a way for us to travel. We ended up arranging to spend the weekend with family in Nottingham, took a Friday off work and drove to Nottingham via Peterborough. We ended up spending most of the day there and I have never been so in awe of a shop before!
Kiddicare Peterborough was like the Toys R Us of expectant parents – 3 floors of anything you could possible need to cater for a new baby, toddler or small child. You could easily make one visit to Kiddicare Peterborough and buy everything for a new arrival in one visit with no need to go anywhere else. From memory, the ground floor was full of car seats along with a fitting service, baby gates set up so you could see how they fit and open/close, clothing and all the other smaller baby-related items. Another floor had every single pushchair/pram/travel system that you could dream of – from traditional style Silver Cross prams to trendy travel systems and even a stroller with indicators. The last floor was full of furniture, bedding and everything else relating to nursery interiors.
As well as the three floors there was also a cafe/restaurant with play area, amazing toilet/baby change facilities, breast feeding areas if you wanted discretion, a clearance corner, pushchair servicing, car seat fitting, a baby scanning service and plenty of staff to help you with anything you could possibly need.
We left Kiddicare that day having chosen the travel system that we wanted and having bought a splurge item that I didn’t ever think we’d be able to afford – a nursing chair and footstool from the clearance corner! A staff member dismantled it for us so that it would fit in the car and we were shown to a separate exit where we could load up the car easily.
After this visit to Kiddicare Peterborough I was a true advocate of the brand. Their own brand goods are well made – from car seats to travel cots to high chairs they offer a ‘budget’ version of anything you could need without compromising on quality.
The best news for me was when it was announced that firstly Morrisons had bought the Kiddicare company and secondly that they had also bought the old ‘Best Buy’ warehouses around the country and were making them into Kiddicare stores! Finally we would have a Kiddicare store closer to home!
Since this point I have followed the Kiddicare expansion with interest. I noticed that they’d opened a store in Nottingham – more accessible for us with family in that part of the country but I was more excited when Kiddicare Lakeside opened a few months ago. This coincided with us being pregnant again and Hubby, LP and I made a visit to the new store into a day trip.
Kiddicare Lakeside to me was Peterborough in miniature. It was slightly disappointing as it was nowhere near the scale of Peterborough, but it still had a huge range of items available to try out and purchase, the same great facilities and incredibly helpful staff.
We found the exact same thing when we visited Kiddicare Hedge End a couple of weeks ago – The Kiddicare service, facilities and branch were all there but having been to Peterborough first any smaller Kiddicare store will lead to some disappointment! However, anyone that visits a Kiddicare store for the first time, any Kiddicare store, will be amazed at the level of service, the facilities on offer and how everything has been thought about with children/families in mind.
The only true negative for me about the Lakeside and Hedge End stores was the car parking. As Kiddcare is a family brand and most people that visit have babies with them it would have been sensible for Kiddicare to make the car parking spaces ‘Parent and Baby’ size as standard. Unfortunately they are standard size parking spaces and so getting in and out of the car, especially with a baby car seat and bulky shopping can be difficult. This however, is my only criticism and one which may have been dictated by local councils and not necessarily something that Kiddicare could change easily.
I have been a frequent online shopper with Kiddicare and find that the majority of deliveries turn up the following day, with text messages to give you a delivery time slot that isn’t 7am-7pm! The deliveries arrive on time and the last item we ordered – a car seat, came with a pair of Kiddicare sunblinds as a little unexpected bonus. Delivery is also free over £29.99!
I have also found out recently that the Kiddicare Nutmeg clothing range is also available in some Morrisons stores now – I will be looking out for it in future – great quality, affordable clothing that can definitely compete with the other Supermarket’s clothing lines.
Kiddicare is definitely front running when it comes to the world of baby goods. I think there will always be competition from Mothercare – with frequent discount codes, free delivery to store and accessibility of their shops, and even the Supermarkets are in on the baby game with their regular Baby Events.
However, if you want somewhere where you can get everything you need in one place, with great service, consistently low prices and delivery standards Kiddicare is the place to go – online or instore!