A Few Thoughts On Showrooming

ShowroomingThe retail landscape has changed with the prevalence of online retail. Consumers are making more and more purchases online because of the wealth of information and the selection available to them, which leads to a threat in retail due to ‘showrooming’.

What is Showrooming?

Showrooming is where customers examine products in retail stores before buying them for a cheaper price elsewhere, which often tends to be online. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive showed that:

  • 43% of all U.S. adults participated in the act of showrooming
  • 28% of Men preferred to showroom at BestBuy
  • 23% of Women preferred to showroom at Wal-Mart

These numbers were further corroborated with a survey conducted by Foresee Results, which reported that during the 2012 shopping season:

  • 70% of respondents used a mobile phone while in a retail store
  • 62% of consumers accessed the store’s website or app
  • 37% reportedly accessed a competitor’s website or app.

What options are available for retailers who wish to drive in-store traffic and prevent consumers from showrooming on their sales floor?

The first challenge is to get the in-store traffic. In the same survey mentioned above, Foresee found that nearly 57% of respondents claimed to visit the company’s website as their first step in their shopping experience.

Consumers begin their shopping experience online, and this interaction sets their expectations for the duration of their interaction with a retailer. This makes it very important for retailers to provide a quality experience online. Invest in your website. The days of your website being an online phone book ad are long gone. Your website needs to reflect your brand, your selection, your service, your involvement and your programs.

Your website also needs to match that experience in-store. Retailers need to maintain a customer’s initial brand perception by incorporating features from their website into their stores. Invest in signage that has the same brand presentation and messaging as your customers found online.

According to Kyle Murray, author of The Retail Value Proposition, two of the critical factors for creating a unique customer experience are the environment and the level of engagement. Retail stores offer something that is not often discernable in the online space: a credible and viable source of information, namely salespeople. A knowledgeable sales associate is not only an important contrast from the “noise” prevalent online, but also an important opportunity for retailers who wish to persuade consumers into making a buying decision.

So invest in your sales team, give them the tools they need to succeed and remind them the importance of winning over customers with excellent service with every visit. That face-to-face interaction that your provide is unmatched in the online space.

Showrooming is a serious threat for retailers and while it does negatively affect in-store sales. We will continue to focus on the topic and share tips and tactics that we learn to combat the trend.

If you need help with anything we talk about here, including website enhancements, in-store signage or sales materials please contact us for a free consultation.

About The Author

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan is a proven marketing professional who entered the cycling industry in 1994.