Reports after the holidays last year showed that the in-store strategies retailers employed to fight showrooming were working, but that doesn’t mean the effect will necessarily carry over into this holiday season.
In a recent survey, 96% of participants said that they would continue to research products in stores before buying online, so implementing effective strategies to combat showrooming will be essential for retailers this quarter.
So what can you do? Start with these 3 things:
Don’t Try to Fight It
This may sound counterintuitive, but the first step in combating a loss of sales due to showrooming is to accept it. Yes, it hurts your sales when customers view items in your store and choose to purchase elsewhere, but in the age of ecommerce and mobile shopping, it’s impossible to eliminate showrooming without chasing customers away.
Instead, capitalize on the upside of showrooming: it brings customers into your stores. You can’t sell to customers who don’t interact with your business, so don’t think of showrooming as an obstacle to sales, but rather as an opportunity to convert customers with no loyalty to you into fans of your brand.
Rather than chasing these non-committal shoppers away, your goal should be to attract them by being a destination during the holidays.
The strategy is simple: provide great product displays that encourage customers interact with the products they’ve come to your store to evaluate (and impulse buys that appeal to holiday shoppers). Once they’re in your stores, you can “wow” these potential customers and generate sales with your commitment to service, extensive product/category knowledge, and a great in-store shopping experience.
Use Competitive Pricing Strategies
The key to turning showroomers into paying customers is to encourage these shoppers to buy items on the spot.
For showroomers, price is a key factor in their purchase decision. Instant sales, coupons, and in-store offers are a great way to convince shoppers who may not have intended to leave with a purchase to go ahead and buy.
Another great strategy is to offer price matching. Since showrooming shoppers will already be comparing prices online, let them know that you are willing to match prices found elsewhere, so they can get the deal they’re looking for and take the item home on the same day.
Create In-Store Advantages
Your customers will appreciate the security that competitive pricing strategies offer, but you’ll have to do more to really impress showroomers this year. Try to cash in on the incentives that brick-and-mortar stores offer that online retailers like Amazon can’t.
Online retailers can’t always provide hassle-free experiences with returns and exchanges, but you can create policies that make those processes simple and quick. You can also offer unique and personalized products that can only be found in your stores.
Stand out by eliminating the inconveniences that come along with online shopping. Retailers offer instant gratification, and shoppers appreciate taking a product home right away with no shipping costs. If an item is out of stock, offer free shipping and shorter wait times by shipping from local stores to encourage customers to make purchases with you. Train your employees to use these facts as talking points to convince shoppers who may be unsure about purchasing in-store.
Better customer service is another important in-store advantage. Online shopping often requires going to multiple sites to research products and compare prices. Your sales associates can impress shoppers with extensive knowledge about the products. These associates should also be provided with technology that helps them answer customer questions and check prices. When you offer service that online stores can’t, your customers gain confidence in their decision to buy and don’t face the hassle of trying to gather information themselves, making an in-store purchase more likely.
Use technology to further incentivize your customers by offering product specifications and reviews with your mobile app and website. Gather real-time data about your customers with beacons, and use it to offer targeted deals and discounts that are earned only by shopping in the store.
Showrooming won’t disappear anytime soon, but you don’t have to lose sales to it. By utilizing strategies that cash in on the traffic these shoppers bring, you can boost sales and minimize the impact of online comparison-shopping. This year, embrace showrooming and reap the benefits.