Who Are Showroomers?
Are you one of those retailers who has an uneasy feeling that some of your sales are slipping through your fingers? Do you have a normal level of foot traffic yet sales just aren’t what they should be?
It’s almost like shoppers are coming and going without buying anything. You’re wondering: “Maybe the store layout, promotional display, customer service, or product selection is off the mark. Let’s dig into our sales data and see if we can figure this out.”
Those smartphones seem to be everywhere and now even your customers are looking at them while shopping. What are they doing? Chances are they’re checking competitor’s prices, options and offers against yours and looking for coupons. It’s an emerging class of consumers called m-shoppers.
What is Showrooming
Showrooming is the consumer practice of checking out products at brick-and-mortars, reviewing competitor’s prices, and then purchasing them from another brick and mortar competitor or from online vendors.
The practice can spook a business’s customers in the store, which is why some retailers forbid that activity in their stores. Other retailers don’t feel that way.
Before you throw them out of your establishment, think about how this mobile shopper challenge might inspire you to improve your business.
The ubiquity of smartphone use by shoppers won’t change, in fact stats show it will increase. Is there a merchandising promotional strategy that will keep them in your store, or if you’re a manufacturer, keep them engaged with your product packaging so you generate the sale?
The UK digital agency econsultancy conducted a survey on the matter and found that few retailers thought showrooming was a problem for them. Only 11% thought it was, and 67% of respondents actually approved of in-store digital coupons.
Perhaps they’re right. Maybe it’s only a certain segment of shoppers that are price sensitive and willing to travel to another store to get a product at a $1 less. Is it all much ado about nothing?
An article on Inc.com quoted an IBM Institute for Business Value survey of showroomers and discovered that 25% of them intended to buy items in-store before they decided to look online, and 66% of them purchased from a multi-channel retailer, a retailer/brand with both a physical and online presence.
So although showrooming may not be a danger, there seems to be a trend where consumers prefer shopping with retailers that have both ecommerce, m-commerce and brick and mortar retailing services.
So any retailing strategy might have to incorporate digital channels as a multi-channel arrangement. At the very least, it means have QR codes for scanning on packaging, mobile codes on shelf talkers, and discount coupons for those who buy online or who return to shop in-store.
Tactics to Adapt to Showrooming
- Focus on the customer experience- understand their point of view
- Embrace customization as a way of mitigating price-sensitivity
- embrace multi-channel marketing
- use QR codes on packaging – look like you’re cooperating with them
- If you have to price-match, make sure you have an upsell strategy or other promotion ready
- Create mobile app where customers can get coupons and become loyalty club members
- Beacon shoppers phones as they come into the store
- Ensure you collect their phone numbers via email and get permission to offer them discounts anytime anywhere
- Have excellent promotional landing pages ready for them to see when they scan a product
- Consider hiring a packaging/marketing agency to help you with your m-commerce and showrooming strategy
Below is a screenshot of the iPhone app page on Target.com. Their app includes a barcode scanner, product list manager, and a daily deal section. Clearly, they’re taking a proactive approach to m-commerce and showrooming.
So as our data above suggests, showrooming is a trend that we can use strategically. We can keep our customers happy and present more opportunities to sell to shoppers who may never be approached by a store salesperson.
By using mobile coupons instore, you can offer immediate discounts and generate an upsell.
What’s new in POP?