Fighting Showrooming with Smart Strategies

  • Categories:

    Marketing Insights, Strategy

  • Date:

    March 19, 2014

Fighting Showrooming with Smart Strategies

Marketing Insights, Strategy

Price-shoppers and smartphones are a match made in hell. It’s why showrooming – the phenomenon where customers browse the store while using their phone to find cheaper pricing online – seems like a retailer’s worst nightmare. In January 2012, Target, panicked about “showrooming,” told their vendors, "We aren't willing to let online-only retailers (aka Amazon) use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display brands."

Hold the phone. Not so fast, Target. Turns out that showrooming has a counterpart – “webrooming” (or reverse-showrooming) – that is even more prevalent. This is where customers go online to explore and research products before heading into stores to buy. In the U.S., 69 percent of people reverse showroom, while 46 percent showroom.

Smartphone owners are likely to have both showroomed and webroomed. The simple truth is that smartphone owners are more likely to be shoppers, period. Traditional retailers have begun to recognize the potential synergies by employing smart new strategies.

  • Focus on immediate gratification. No online retailer can beat the joy of exiting the store with a new treasure in hand. Remind your customers of the pleasure of enjoying new products now.
  • The store as a gathering place. Shopping is communal. How can your store be a shopping and lifestyle destination of choice?
  • You’re in the experience business, not just the transaction business. Retailers focused on children are way ahead on this – people want to play as they buy.
  • Be the remedy to feeling overwhelmed. In a world where there are 100+ bathroom cleaners, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Select the ones that are best for your customers and tell them why you chose what you chose.
  • The ace up your sleeve – people. What do you have that they don’t? People – SERVICE people.

The brick-and-mortar retailers who will prosper with the showrooming/webrooming consumers will be the ones who understand they are less purveyors of goods, and more caring and knowledgeable resources to customers, their customers.

Sources: RSR Research, BusinessInsider, Forbes, Harris, Gazit-Globe

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