A Retailer’s Guide to Combatting ShowroomingFebruary 1, 2013 By Gary Edwards
It's no secret that the convergence of the online and in-store worlds has resulted in new shopping practices, some which should be of concern to brick-and-mortar retailers. Perhaps the most feared practice is "showrooming," the act of browsing in a traditional brick-and-mortar store before going online to find and buy that item at a lower price.
A practice such as this can be a huge threat to brick-and-mortar retailers — if they choose to let it. Consumers’ purchase decisions don't all come down to price. Brick-and-mortar retailers have an integral advantage over their online-only counterparts: the opportunity to generate exceptional and well-rounded in-store experiences. Pair this with tactics such as social media and mobile marketing, and retailers will see that technology can help, rather than hinder, their business.
Treat Technology as a Partner, Not a Competitor
The intersection of social and mobile technologies is critical for consumers and, in turn, for retailers. According to research from Empathica, 82 percent of consumers are willing to engage retail brands in online conversations if they believe it will improve a future experience, they simply need a platform through which to do so. By providing in-store opportunities for consumers to engage in social conversations about brands, retailers can not only add value to the shopper's experience, but also promote brand loyalty for purchases that follow.
Leading retailers take advantage of third-party apps and mobile-optimized websites that encourage these in-store interactions. Successful retailers are also leveraging tactics such as push notifications, QR codes and in-store-only promotions to create value in the physical store environment. Combining online and offline elements such as the ability to order online and pick up in-store is also a popular option among consumers looking to get the best of both the online and offline experiences.
Show What You Know
While convenience and price are the selling points for e-tailers, brick-and-mortar retailers have the ability to create unified customer experiences that add value through a careful and strategic combination of product, environment and service. The personal touch, which is a key driver of customer loyalty and brand advocacy, is very difficult for online retailers to replicate, so physical store owners should take advantage of their ability to create tailored customer experiences. This can be achieved through meaningful employee interactions and helpful suggestions.