The dreaded practice of showrooming has store owners pulling their hair out over how to combat this phenomenon sweeping the general public, but the answer might lie in embracing it, rather than shying away from it. Read on to find out why…
If you’re a store owner, you will already know the frustration of showrooming. As many as
one in every five consumers currently practice showrooming, with an overwhelming 96% of consumers saying they plan to showroom in future
. According to a recent study by Wiser, the highest frequency of showrooming occurs with electronics and appliances, but the truth is that this can affect retailers of every product description thanks to the wealth of offerings from companies like Amazon. In reality, it corresponds to a 5% loss in sales.
Why do consumers showroom? The reasons can vary from the customer simply carrying out product research, to the fact they wish to complete the purchase online for a recent free shipping deal. They might even get certain rewards or discounts online that don’t tally with your in-store experience, and for the consumer, it is all about the best deal.
So, what can you do about it? If you keep the three basic principles that follow, it will help you turn showrooming into a showcase of your unique commerce strategy.
Convenience beats price!
There are a lot of reasons why consumers choose to showroom, but there are equally as many reasons for them to go in-store too, and convenience is one of them. Ordering online means paying delivery and having to wait for a product, but consumers today like things now and crave immediacy. This can work in your favour if you use in-store convenience. First of all, train staff to engage with consumers if they see someone showrooming. Ask them what it is they are looking for and if they have looked at it online already – there is no point in ignoring the way most consumers shop, so be honest with them and it will help to build a connection.
They will be more likely to be honest in return and say they have seen it somewhere cheaper. In this instance you can offer two options. On the one hand, like many stores, you can offer a price match guarantee. On the other hand, if it turns out that the product would give you too much of a loss, you can say “We can’t match that price, but we can…”. This is your chance to take advantage of the convenience element. More than likely, your staff member will be aware of related products and items that the consumer would want if not need off the back of their intended purchase. By saying that you can give them one of the lower margin products, not only has the consumer been saved the hassle of having to find out they needed it, having to research the product online and then go in-store to see it, but they have it immediately. It is of higher value to them than the best price on one product. People just want the best deal.
If you can do these things to entice people into your store, the key is to make the consumer satisfaction so high that they will come back regardless of price differences, and this is possible with the right in-store experience.
When dealing with a showrooming consumer, it is important to recognise them as an individual rather than just another consumer. They will appreciate any time taken by a shop assistant to make their experience a better one, as most people automatically assume a bad in-store experience. One way of doing this is to incorporate their online user profile while being in-store. Having interaction points in a store or allowing staff to carry tablets where the user can log in to their account gives you the chance to get to know them better, and have your staff see what is on their wishlist, in their basket, recent items they viewed and so on.
Adding the personal touch to recommendations makes you far more likely to get a sale, and if you add that you can do 10% off if they buy it in-store today, they are more likely to act on impulse. Doing all of this will make your brand the one they associate with a good user experience, and one that recognises the importance of linking online and offline together. This creates loyalty, meaning that price is now irrelevant during showrooming, and they will see you as their go-to option for that type of item. The impact of your service is huge, so make sure it is the right kind of impact.
One final way of enhancing the in-store experience is to offer unique product lines in-store only, or unique offers or rewards which can only be redeemed in a brick and mortar store. You can even advertise it online or use email marketing to target those users online who you have tracked and can see that they are viewing specific items. If they relate to that product line which can only be found in-store, send them a direct message enticing them to come and visit.
This approach makes the customer feel special because you recognise their likes and dislikes. You don’t have to worry about this being too intrusive either; viewers who have accounts expect to be delivered offers like no-one else, and this generates word-of-mouth recommendations or positive forum reviews, which are difficult to produce in this highly competitive marketplace.
Suddenly, showrooming, product-researching customers have gone from faceless users to loyal customers – make sure they are yours!
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