Showrooming is a relatively recent shopping behaviour where consumers visit a store to try out a product and then purchase it at a cheaper price online. It’s been powered by the rise of smartphones which enable shoppers to compare prices and look for a better deal online rather than purchasing a product at the bricks and mortar outlet. In an economy where consumer spending is down and retailers are already feeling the pinch, showrooming has become a major talking point amongst retailers.
So how can businesses combat this trend or, better still, make it work in your favour?
Offer More Information
Be proactive in providing the information your customers want. A mobile-enabled website will enable you to interact with potential customers when they’re out shopping and position you as a more viable option. You can also use signage, promotional materials, in-store kiosks and even QR codes to keep shoppers informed about product information and special offers. Better still, your own branded mobile app will give customers an easy way to engage with your brand.
Be Willing to Price Match
A price-matching policy eliminates the impetus of showrooming since customers know they can buy a product from you right now for the same price as an online store. You secure the sale and the customer gets to walk away with the product. It’s a win-win that builds loyalty for your brand because shoppers appreciate that you will go the extra mile to secure the relationship with them.
Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience
According to the TNS survey, more customers still prefer to engage with a sales assistant than buy online so train your staff to offer exemplary customer service. According to Felim Mackle, sales and service director at UK telco, O2, “Businesses should deliver personalised, engaging and consistent experiences whenever and wherever customers interact with them. It’s clear the public still demands a physical presence on the high street, but it is those that offer a more tailored experience, both in store and online, that will win out,” he said.
Stock Unique Products
One of the easiest ways to combat showrooming is to offer products that aren’t available anywhere else. Not only does this eliminate the threat that customers will find the same product at a cheaper price on a competitor’s website, but unique products can drive more traffic to your store, offering additional opportunities for cross selling and up selling.
Explore New Technology
More companies are exploring the use of mobile devices to enable customer service staff to get out from behind the service desk and into the showroom.
Showrooming represents an opportunity because it brings people into your store to look and feel at products they’re serious about buying. By engaging with showroomers and finding ways to convert them on the spot, smart retailers can use this ‘challenge’ to grow their business.
Aaron Blackman is the CEO and founder of Retail Express, Australia's leading cloud-based retail management and pos system.