So far I have talked about new digital tools that are able to help the retailer to engage with customers. The problem is that Digital in retail means that there are a bucket load of new threats.. including Showrooming.
What is it?
Show-rooming is the practice whereby customers will go into a retail store to try decide if they wish to purchase something but end up buying the product online from a competitor for a lower price ( as that retailer doesn’t have to cover the cost of expensive retail space)
One of the drawbacks of the internet is the lack of tangibility of the products. Looking at a “photoshopped” image of the product pales in comparison when actually touching and feeling the product to see its quality. Retail stores win hands down in this respect. If its clothing, customers will usually want to try on the items to make sure they fit. If its a TV set, the person buying may want to inspect the quality of the picture.
However when it comes to payment, this is where the balance of power tips drastically in favour of the internet. Sometimes whilst still in the store, the customer can do a google search for the product to find it cheaper. Typically they will be able to find a cheaper price online as long as they are happy to wait for delivery. In only a few clicks, sales are being hijacked from physical stores in the millions by on-line only rivals like Amazon or some other pureplay e-commerce stores.
Showrooming is the Godzilla of threats when it comes to retail. Much like the lizard, it will leave large parts of our retail landscape damaged and vacant. And it will seem unstoppable.
The good news is that its not. Most retail businesses are going to have to find their own way to battle the threat of showrooming to survive this monster.
There is plenty of help around: Econsultancy have a really lovely article on how to battle the threat of showrooming, and even show one companies’ attempt to charge customers to come into the shop to profit from the showrooming.
I have also included a wonderful infographic below from Foolproof Digital which shows
- How customers are showrooming
- What features customers want to help them showroom less
- Some strategies that retailers can try right now to get customers back purchasing from them.
Those retailers that are successful will stay around whilst the others will get swallowed up by the fierce dog-eat-dog world of online commerce.