Why Brands Need to Embrace Showrooming
It was a news item that likely made retailers shudder around the world: According to the 2013 Holiday Retail Spending Survey (download required), 40% of consumers intended be big “showroomers” during the holiday season. If you’re a retailer who is regularly reading up on the latest industry trends, you may have a recurring nightmare that hordes of feckless customers will stampede into your store, unbox your merchandise, examine it, then order the product from your competitor before walking out your door—without cleaning up the mess they’ve made. But my friend Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg of Razorfish shared some research by Bizrate with me that shows this fear is unfounded—really unfounded.
Of 21.85% of shoppers surveyed who had browsed products in-store before buying online, most (54%) ended up buying from the same chain. Another finding: only 1.32% of potential in-store purchases are lost due to showrooming with mobile devices—and half of those sales actually went to the e-commerce sites of the retailers where the showrooming occurred. So in reality, according to the research, less than 1% of sales are lost to showroomers.
Why Are Consumers Showrooming?
Next time you see a shoppers in your store using a mobile phone, consider why they’re looking, and what they might be looking for. According to research from Columbia Business School and AIMIA, customers are likely searching for lower prices, free shipping, loyalty rewards, or conveniences like home delivery—all of which can be integrated into the in-store experience.
So What’s the Takeaway for Retailers?
Rather than stressing over the 0.66% threat to sales that showrooming represents, you should see the potential of a 10% (or more) increase in sales from an omnichannel approach to selling. After all, as Cliff Conneighton of hybris software likes to say, “Consumers don’t call it showrooming; they call it shopping.”
If you can connect comparison shoppers with the information they need, give them a great customer experience, and make real-time engagement available, there’s a good chance you’ll see enough growth to make you forget the comparison shoppers who buy elsewhere.
Of course, you have to put the buyer in the center of your strategy. “No matter what we think the customer wants or needs, it is the customer who makes that determination,” Jason reminded me. That’s one of seven Best Practices for Omnichannel Success that’s found in the white paper, Converting Browsers (Everywhere) into Buyers (Anywhere): Why Showrooming is No Problem for Omnichannel Retailers.
In this white paper you’ll also read about how LivePerson works closely with our partners, Razorfish and hybris software, to help B2B and B2C sellers build a comprehensive omnichannel strategy. I’m excited to see what you think.
A Love for Showrooming …
Showrooming, shopping, it’s all in the way you choose to look at it. When you reflect on the numbers, consumers are still buying—and they’re looking to more retail touchpoints than ever to meet basic purchase decision needs.
Why do I love showrooming when the majority fear it? For brands, it presents an opportunity to connect on multiple channels, meet consumers where they choose to engage (which, when in store, is a prime opportunity to impress and convert those you know are interested), and win them over with brand love and loyalty.