As retailers are going through a consumer revolution in the way you perceive and purchase products, there is a new issue on the horizon that is impacting big-box, category-killing retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy – called “show rooming”.
If you have ever gone to a retail store (“brick”), found and examined the product you were looking for, and then went home to buy it online (“click”) you “show roomed”.
You scoped out the merchandise, but understandably wanted to pay the best price – which you found on the Internet. Regardless of the wait and the shipping and handling, you bought it electronically and saved. So, if you are the retailer who lost out on the sale, now what?
To combat this problem retailers have resorted to new approaches that will hopefully further benefit the consumer buying experience:
- WORK WITH MANUFACTURERS TO MAKE EXCLUSIVE PRODUCTS. It can’t work for the little guys, but the big-box retailers have enough clout to request and offer unique goods not available anywhere else. Unique goods that you can defend as a reason for your retail loyalty.
- OFFER COUPONS DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS VIA MOBILE PHONES. Daily-deal alerts, exclusive discount paperless coupons, and loyalty reward specials are easy to pick up and use right at the cash register with your smart phone. These are the equivalent of personalized prices and may be the most strategic way retailers will beat the web competition at their own game.
- EMPHASIZE IN-STORE PICKUPS FOR ON-LINE ORDERS. As a consumer, you won’t have to pay the shipping fee and can have the instant gratification (well, almost instant) within the hour. Retailers get insure that you bought at their website and no others. Maybe while you are picking up your new DVD player at the store you might buy some DVDs and popcorn too.
- HAVE RETAIL CLERKS SEND CUSTOMERS TO THE WEBSITE IF THE PRODUCT ISN’T ON THE SHELF. Under the category, "if you can’t beat them, join them" credit the online purchase to the store closest to the address of the customer who ordered via the Internet.
- MAKE THE PROCESS SEAMLESS. Invest in computers and tablets for the retail store associate/retail selling floor to identify your previous purchases and make it easy to get what you want, when you want it, no matter where you are -- at the store or at the home computer.
- AND BE AWARE OF THE FUTURE. According to a recent Advertising Age study and report on retailing, “giants such as Amazon, eBay, Google and Living Social are all looking into the potential of physical stores.”
Just what we need…even more choice.