Less than a year ago, the very mention of showrooming brought with it a wave of anxiety and unease as retailers struggled to figure out what the future would hold.
As some called it the beginning of the end for brick-and-mortar, others got to work adapting themselves to these newly empowered consumers.
Today, those retailers are turning heads with innovative new approaches to in-store shopping that not only embraces showrooming––but makes it the centerpiece of the entire experience.
One of the newest players on the showrooming scene is Bang & Olufsen, a Danish sound equipment company whose recently redesigned New York City store has been described as a “breakthrough retail concept that evokes a true sensory experience.”
Let’s explore how this new approach gives customers the kind of interactive, product-driven experience they’re looking for, and how you can take the first step toward a showroom strategy of your own.
Creating An Experience That Excites The Senses
When considering what makes showrooming so popular among today’s shoppers, much of it boils down to products––specifically, the ability to interact with them in person––something you can’t duplicate online.
While seeing and touching products is one thing, Bang & Olufsen are going one step further with an experience that excites your ears too.
As producers of some of the best audio equipment on the market, the new approach not only gives customers an example of high quality sound, it puts them in control of what comes out of the speakers.
The new array of showcases allow customers to stream their own music from playlists on their smartphones––a perk that goes beyond being simple interactivity to create a connection between the product and each shopper’s personal taste.
In addition to personalized interactive showroom features, the space also provides variety and a sense of community for the consumer. With a main room featuring an assortment of speaker models in an open space, customers can interact with products as a group––enjoying the listening experience together.
For those who want a more personal look at the products, they can enter a private viewing room which blends high quality home theater screens with their line of surround sound speakers to give shoppers an idea of how great sound quality can transform their own living rooms into true entertainment centers.
Adopting A Showrooming Strategy: The First Step
If you think showrooming experiences like these are only useful to high-end retailers, think again.
According to a recent study carried out by Sapient surveying a variety of shoppers, 50 percent responded by saying interactive tools were an “important part of the in-store shopping experience.” What’s more, it’s an approach most retailers haven’t developed yet.
Based on findings by the same study, “nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of retailers in the study lacked a ‘basic degree of interactivity’”––a huge opportunity for those looking to differentiate among competitors.
So how can you start taking advantage of this big opportunity?
Evaluating your customers to discover which products they’d like to see in action is vital to ensuring your new product displays will generate engagement inside the store.
Specifically, customer intercept programs can be designed to record opinions and impressions from shoppers who’ve just stepped out of your store while the experience is still fresh in their mind.
The key to showrooming isn’t about highlighting any old product––it’s about making the items your customers are coming inside the store to see more accessible and interactive.
Your evaluation program should reveal which products customers are traveling to the store to see up close as well as any products they’re unfamiliar with and would like to see presented in a new way.
If a certain product comes up time and time again as something new and intriguing to shoppers, you can begin thinking about how an interactive display could help show customers what the product is all about, and more importantly, why it’s useful to them.