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Update: Tracking the ‘Showrooming’ Effect

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A couple of years ago, showrooming was considered the death knell for brick-and-mortar retailers. … But not anymore.

Even with the increased use of mobile gadgets and apps while shopping, showrooming has not increased. In fact, a recent IBM study showed that in 2013 only about 30% of online purchases resulted from showrooming—a drop from nearly 50% in 2012!

Since we last covered this topic, retailers have found new and innovative ways to deal with showroomers.

Studying big data gives retailers the chance to analyze their customers by tracking shopping and buying behaviors. There are some data analytics that study weather patterns across the country and correlate them with sales data from retailers. Using this kind of analysis, retailers can use their loyalty programs to identify which customers react to weather in predictable ways. Knowing this information, they can offer them targeted, weather-triggered promotions.

By tracking social media postings, retailers can tell when certain shoppers are in their stores. By defining patterns, which match the time of day with demographic segments consumer belong to, stores can alter their merchandising and promotional strategies accordingly. Digital signage and screens can display special items and prices aimed at these shoppers.

Using mobile to their advantage, retailers are coming through with personalized offers and quick purchasing capabilities. Loyalty programs enable stores to understand customer buying patterns and combining both these features with mobile technology is a really savvy way retailers can use showrooming to their advantage.

Another recent study from the Columbia Business School and Aimia (a loyalty management firm), found that shoppers who used mobile devices fit into a couple of different categories: Traditionalists, who buy in stores but may do some research via their phones; and Experience-Seekers, who put more emphasis on quality and having a great shopping experience, rather than simply getting the best price.

The study concluded that for the majority of consumers, getting the rock-bottom price was not the highest priority.

Moosejaw Mountaineering is an outdoor gear and apparel retailer, whose sales staff helps in-store shoppers find items they want in the store or through their mobile devices, and match competitive prices, fulfill orders and get products sent directly to their homes. It’s this synergy of the physical store and digital channels that deliver the holistic shopping experience for consumers.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that 42% of consumers using a mobile device while in-store spend more than $1,000, while only 21% of shoppers without a smart phone spend as much. This is another illustration of brick-and-mortar stores combining showrooming and mobile technology to engage consumers and deliver a great in-store experience.

With opt-in location technology, sales staff has the ability to know customer behavior in the store and engage them either through an app or by employing the time-honored method of personally approaching them. Either way, chances of closing the sale are greatly increased and they probably won’t lose the sale to an online discounter.

Personal connections mean a lot and engaging customers in conversation can be easy and rewarding. Whether staff asks them to sign up for news of discounts, promotions, or receiving deal alerts via mobile texts and/or emails, it’s this engagement with the customer that means the most. Often customers are looking to share their information. In fact, the same IBM study mentioned above showed that 9 out of 10 shoppers are willing to spend time (up to 20 minutes) providing stores with contact information and preferences in order to get special offers.

No matter what, it’s important for brick-and-mortar retailers to connect the dots, coordinating promotions, stores, websites, call centers, customer service, advertisements, mobile applications and social media interactions.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, omni-channel,
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