Friday, 1 June 2012

Combating 'Showrooming'

'Showrooming' has become commonplace in particular with retailers with high ticket value items on sale.

'Showrooming' refers to the way in which consumers are going into bricks and mortar stores to look at products  but then looking for a deal online, possibly with another retailer.

Wikipedia defines it as

Showrooming is the act of examining merchandise in a brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it there, then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item. Online stores often offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores because they do not have the overhead cost

I recently talked about a report that highlighted the fact that 53% of store purchases are not completed because of mobile phones. The New York Times ran a report that claimed 39% of Amazon book buyers had actually checked out the book in store first ( guilty!)

This is an interesting graphic from the Wall Street Journal on some retailer responses


It would seem that the Walmart idea of encouraging store staff to suggest customers look at for items they can't find in store is one worthy tactic. Conversely, as I highlighted in my post about Burton ( We've made shopping easier for you ) the other day, the e-commerce site actually tries to find stock in a local store for you if they don't have it online!

There is an interesting piece on Mobile Commerce Daily about how London Drugs ( in Canada, not London) are fitting Pads into their stores and providing free wi-fi to encourage cosumers to both find product reviews as well as check prices.

Their spokesman said, 

“If customers want to do a price comparison, we are inviting store associates to help them with that. We feel pretty confident about our price position.”

Whats obvious is that where price cannot be matched, the the retailer needs to provide a unique experience that also provides some value.

This may very well be in the form of unique products made specifically for them by the manufacturer, or free deliver for in-store purchases etc

There is an interesting interview in Adweek which talks about this with Laura Davis-Taylor from Shopwork and in particular this Q and A

How are marketers transferring the principles of physical retail into digital and mobile environments?
It’s the opposite. It’s about how are we bringing the mobile and digital into physical? As a shopper if I’m used to going to ‘x’ brand online and it says ‘Hi Laura, Here are some things for you, some prices and promotions just for you. And hey, thanks for your loyalty—here’s a little gimme.’ I want that in the physical store too.

Of course helping the customer with their decision making is another key tool in retailers armoury, whether that be with the provision of product information, ratings and reviews, or even digital fitting rooms if the real ones are busy, possibly with Social share capability ( nice little article in the Daily Mail a while back on this)

Although, at some point soon we'll never have to leave the living room

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