Now that we’re getting into the holiday shopping season (so hard to believe!), many retailers are preparing for the challenges showrooming will present, while others are trying to ignore the potential issue. Showrooming is basically when a consumer goes into a physical store location to check out a product, looks it up online from their mobile device, and then leaves the store with the intent to purchase online at a cheaper or discounted price. It’s a big challenge for retailers who may not have an online presence, or aren’t quite sure how to combat it. Henry Helgeson, CEO of Cayan, along with Alexandra Frith, director of marketing at Retail Pro International, have put together a list of tips for retailers to overcome the challenges of showrooming.
Click through for five challenges facing brick-and-mortar stores and suggestions for dealing with the showrooming phenomenon, as identified by Henry Helgeson, CEO of Cayan, along with Alexandra Frith, director of marketing at Retail Pro International.
You ignore it and, therefore, do nothing. You may not realize it, but showrooming already has a direct impact on your bottom line. According to L2, 58 percent of smartphone owners regularly go to a store with the sole intention of trying on or testing products before buying them online. This means you can’t ignore e-commerce. People want to be able to buy from any channel, and they want a quality customer experience wherever and whenever they choose to stop. Did we mention they’re always keeping an eye out for that best deal, too?
Skip the training. Sales staff will be gone in a week anyway. Yikes, big mistake. The reality is this won’t save you any time or resources; knowledgeable associates are what keep your real estate investment working for you. Train and cross-train them. Empower them to be there for your customers and help with what is needed. In some cases, that might even include deploying a mobile POS.
You panic when you see people on their phones. It’s easy to assume a customer checking their phone when standing in front of a big ticket item means they’re checking prices elsewhere. Don’t panic. This actually presents you with a very unique opportunity to share more information about the product you’re selling and why buying it in-store makes a difference. Offering coupons and loyalty programs is something to consider, as well.
Loyalty cards? Smoyalty cards. What a waste of paper. Differentiating your in-store shopping experience with perks like loyalty programs and rewards can sometimes be the deciding factor between a customer shopping online or in your store. Plenty of options are available to make the customer feel appreciated beyond loyalty programs, too, like free shipping on orders placed in store or easy returns.
I did fine last year; I’m just going to do the same thing. I don’t need any new technology capabilities. This is nearly as bad as ignoring showrooming altogether. As the retailer, you have the ability to dictate the customer’s experience, and customer preferences are changing. So why not leverage new technologies and capabilities to enhance the shopper’s experience, making it fun and interactive? Combine the expertise you offer with in-store technology like digital signage and virtual tools, and leverage things like QR codes that automatically send ‘price-advantage’ coupons to your shopper’s phone. This can make all the difference.