Consumers use the showrooming technique to touch and feel a product in a brick-and-mortar store before searching online marketplaces for the best price. In essence, this enables the consumer to have the best of both worlds. Showrooming, therefore, is a practice where the consumer inspects a product in a brick-and-mortar store before buying it online for a cheaper price.
Showrooming is a consequence of mass smartphone uptake and the increased prevalence of eCommerce companies. Unlike their predecessors, the consumers of today shop in retail stores with a smartphone in hand and are easily able to compare prices among various merchants and read product reviews.
Showrooming can be a problem for brick-and-mortar store owners who do not have an established online presence or are otherwise unable to compete on price. Online retailers such as Amazon, on the other hand, are benefitting from the trend.
How can showrooming be offset?
Showrooming is a trend that is not likely to disappear any time soon. With that in mind, here are some ways a retailer can discourage or prevent the practice:
Buy online, pick-up in-store
In the buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) strategy, the customer orders a product from the retailer’s online store and then collects it from the physical store. Retailers can also benefit from this approach by locating popular items near the store checkouts to maximize impulse purchases.
Many retailers now offer a price match guarantee to combat showrooming. This means they will match the lower price of a competitor for in-store purchases. Many consumers are attracted to this option because allows them to own the product immediately by purchasing in the store.
Retailers need to offer experiences that make consumers want to visit their stores. Some may choose to offer Wi-Fi or products that are not available online, while others may do the same with promotions and sales events. The business can also benefit by ensuring that the checkout process is as quick and painless as possible, with a study finding that 52% of American consumers are frustrated in retail stores because of having to wait in line to pay.
Intuitive mobile sites
In a report compiled by the Acuity Group, an intuitive and well-organized mobile site was the most important factor in a consumer deciding whether to purchase from a business. With 73% of those aged 26-45 having bought something from their smartphone, retailers must meet consumers where they are and focus on providing an attractive mobile shopping experience.
- Showrooming is a practice where the consumer inspects a product in a brick-and-mortar store before buying it online for a cheaper price.
- Showrooming can be a problem for bricks-and-mortar stores without an online presence – particularly if they are unable to compete on price.
- To combat showrooming, the business has a few options. These include the buy online, pick up in-store strategy, price match guarantees, in-store experiences, and intuitive mobile sites.
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