Showrooming, the practice of trying out products in a physical store, and then buying them online for a lower price is something retailers have a strong disdain for. And why wouldn’t they? Showrooming turns stores into expensive fitting rooms flooded by people who aren’t there to make a purchase at all. You’d think that that’s just something physical stores have to put up with. However, recent findings show that this need not necessarily be the case.
A lower price is still a very attractive proposition to draw a buyer, but a large percentage of shoppers now prefer a good experience over a bargain. So instead of fearing showrooming, you can focus on providing your customers with a fantastic experience and chances are that the customer will buy from you instead of bargain hunting online.
Studies show that buyers are consolidating their shopping destinations and aren’t really hopping store to store online all that often now. This just goes to show that you can keep your customers and not lose them to cheaper prices online if you just offer them a great shopping experience.
Done right, showrooming can actually prove to be a very effective business strategy for you, as it did for retail masterminds like Bonobos, Samsung, Pirch and Amazon.
Let’s take a good look at these and other businesses that effectively reversed the curse of showrooming.
Retailers with Effective Showrooming Concepts
The popular American men’s fashion e-tailer has been quick to realize that not all shoppers like to shop online. Especially when it comes to fashion, men like to try the fit and feel the fabric before they buy.
In the Bonobos Guideshop, customers can take their time trying on their favorite clothes and while doing so, they are made to feel at ease by a friendly staff and courteous fitting assistants. In the end, they can just walk out of the store with no large bags to lug. Their order can be directly shipped to their address or they can just go home and place their order online.
Pirch, a California based home appliances retailer with 8 unique concept stores across the US, likes to turn its shoppers into dreamers by offering them an experience only rivaled by a luxury vacation.
Customers can take a shower in their store before buying a showerhead. They can lounge around trying all the different appliances while hot coffee and snacks are served by a very affable staff. Everything from the steam room to the kitchen and the beer dispenser can be tried out, rather experienced, at leisure.
And despite shelling out the money to provide such extravagant experiences, several Pirch outlets boast incredible sales figures like $3,000 per square feet, and it’s all because of a dreamlike experience they provide.
Samsung Experience Store / Samsung 837
Samsung welcomes its customers into its experience stores across the world where the customers can not only buy but also troubleshoot, seek solutions, guidance and tutorials.
Taking things a step further, Samsung opened Samsung 837, located in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking district. It is far from being a retail store — you can’t purchase a single Samsung product in this 55,000-foot space. Instead, it is an “interactive playground” for Samsung’s devices, meant to give consumers personal experiences with the brand.
“We designed it to redefine how people discover new experiences in the digital age, creating a shift in storytelling from technology and product features to a much more personal experience that creates meaningful value for people. 837 showcases how brands must relate to consumers in the connected age, seeking interaction, not transaction. We believe that this is the way the store of the future ought to look like,” said Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer at Samsung Electronics, North America.
Amazon did a great job at this by opening their first ever brick and mortar bookstore where they nudge the customers to take it online. Looking like a Barnes and Noble, Amazon’s bookstore offers a hands-on experiences with Fire TV and Echo devices, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers. There are no price tags on books; rather, shoppers can scan the barcode on a book to get the Amazon prices, read full reviews and more information online, which actively engages them online and offline.
Amazon managed to create a seamless and friction-free experience between the offline and online “Amazon world”. People can purchase books directly through the Amazon app or can walk up to a register and purchase. When tied to an Amazon.com account, this automatically triggers sending an email receipt and placing the purchase in the Amazon order history.
In short, retailers are realizing that they are not just a place to procure goods but are here to attract and engage customers.
TIP 1 Harness The Power Of Webrooming
Here’s an interesting fact – Webrooming, the opposite of showrooming, where people research online before purchasing items at the bricks and mortar, has actually existed far longer than showrooming.
What does that mean? Well, it means that in reality, more people tend to research products online and then buy from a physical store. This has been the norm from the infant days of ecommerce and is especially prominent in some product categories like shoes, electronics, sports equipment, and cosmetics.
The logic is pretty clear. People want to be able to drop into a familiar neighborhood store for a quick solution if something goes wrong with their laptop, mixer, or golf equipment. People like to be able to hold the seller accountable in person. That is why a large number of people search, compare, and decide online, but end up buying offline.
To help digital shoppers decide, the consumer electronics brand Canon provides them with an interactive online advice experience: Shoppers can answer a few questions and are guided to the most suitable Canon camera, lens, or printer. This level of guidance and pre-education increases the chances that the shopper will decide for a Canon product when at the retailer next door.
If only you know well enough how to play to the customer’s need for personal advice and accountability, and promise to provide the same, your customer is less likely to choose a competing seller or brand.
TIP 2 Brick And Mortar Must Embrace Digital
Select smart retailers are already taking the retail experience to new heights by integrating technologies like beacon hardware that collects invaluable data by sensing what products customers hover about more than the others to send them personalized and relevant offers, buying advice and guidance, discounts and other useful information.
A smartphone-wielding shopper is just the norm now and you cannot keep people from exercising the immense power ecommerce provides them. Brick and mortar stores simply have to keep up.
- Working on an effective digital marketing strategy can greatly help you shoulder up to online counterparts
- Having a well-designed omnichannel journey that allows the customer to continue their shopping experience with you, even after they leave your store, can greatly position you to rival your online-only counterparts
- Also, having a strong social media presence is pivotal as it is a great source of referral, not only for ecommerce but also physical stores
In order to stand out, retailers must extend their presence in all possible channels. While you must absolutely provide a great experience in-store, extending your service online and having interactive and engaging solutions, as well as a website that’s easy to navigate, can work wonders.
The hard reality is that mobile commerce is here to stay and shoppers do have an enormous power lying in a gadget that fits in their pocket. If they find a better deal, they will grab it.
The upside however is that a good deal doesn’t just mean a lower price. A good deal means a reasonable price complemented by great shopping experience. Giving your customer that great experience is entirely in your control, even if online competitors’ prices aren’t.