Revamp Gives Birth to More Traffic

Multichannel retailer Mothers Work Inc. has seen the number of visitors to its Web site,, increase by more than 30 percent nearly two months after relaunching the site.

“We want to be the resource for pregnant women,” said Rebecca Matthias, founder and president of Mothers Work, Philadelphia. “We don't want them to go anyplace else and figured if we can give the expectant mother all the information she needs and provide her with all the clothes she needs, the more likely she is to stay with us.”

Before the revamp in April, the 2-year-old e-commerce site logged 800,000 visitors per month. Now it is seeing more than 1 million visitors monthly. In May, the company saw its online sales increase by 35 percent over the prior year.

“Before, it was just a basic site where you come online to order,” Matthias said. “But what we've done was add more editorial content and editorial features. We have a date finder, which is our most popular section because it helps you determine when you ovulated last, when you're due and tracks the different stages of your pregnancy.”

The most popular section is Celebrity Moms, which showcases pregnant actresses who have shopped at the company's high-end fashion store, A Pea in the Pod. Matthias admits that the fascination with pregnant celebrities showing off their bellies has helped to boost awareness of the high-end line.

The site also includes a store locator for the company's 756 retail outlets nationwide, which include A Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity and Mimi Maternity stores. Users can search for items using keywords. There also are links to related topics such as parenting magazines, pediatric information and nursing.

“Shopping isn't the only thing women are doing on our site. They're coming online to get information, and we have found that [the Web site] gets very heavy use during a woman's entire pregnancy,” Matthias said.

Mothers Work started as a direct mail business and continues to maintain its two primary catalogs, Motherhood Maternity and Motherhood Nursingwear.

But unlike most direct mail companies that rely heavily on house lists, Mothers Work has no permanent database.

“Our customer moves on and stays with us for a short period of time,” Matthias said. “If you think about the cost of acquiring a customer and how to advertise that cost over a long period of time, those economics don't work for us.”

The catalogs are available at the company's retail outlets as well as online, and Mothers Work has partnered with obstetrician offices to place catalogs in gift packages given to expectant mothers.

The Motherhood Maternity catalog features a store locator on the back page and serves as a traffic generator for the stores. There is no order form in the catalog, but customers can order by phone or online.

Motherhood Nursingwear has an order form and is mailed to customers in the final months of pregnancy, when a woman would be most likely to place an order.

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