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How To Fight Showrooming

Posted on the 12 June 2013 by Marketingtango @marketingtango

You see “showrooming” all the time now. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself.

People go into a store to find a particular product. They ask the sales staff a lot of questions about it. Then they take out their phone. After Googling the SKU, comparing the price, and maybe taking a photo of the product, they leave the store and promptly go online to buy it for less.

How Widespread is Showrooming?

A 2013 survey by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that over “80 percent of independent stores said showrooming was affecting their business.” As reported by Forbes, “Best Buy, still the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, said it estimates that some 40% of customers were visiting stores with no intention of buying anything. Best Buy executives made it clear that showrooming was one of the most pressing problems the company faced…”

Price Conscious

The reason showrooming is so popular and such a threat to retailers is that it’s so great for consumers. It’s all about price. The fact is, many products happen to be available at lower prices online. But most consumers still like to see and touch the actual product before purchasing it. So local brick-and-mortar stores are reduced to serving as “showrooms” for online customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar physical retail presence, you need to be prepared to address this trend. Here are four tactics that major brands are integrating into their marketing efforts to combat showrooming.

1. Get Found Online

Meet your customers wherever they are when they make that purchase decision. Make sure you have mobile-friendly content that satisfies their need for comparison shopping. For example, Best Buy partnered with the showrooming app Red Laser to push coupons and offer one-click purchasing to customers who might otherwise bail and buy online.

2. Match Prices

Go head-to-head with online competitors by offering a price-match guarantee. Use in-store signage to clearly inform window shoppers that you will match or beat online prices. Send out direct mail postcards, emails and place ads to promote your price matching policy. According to BusinessInsider, “Best Buy announced… its stores would match the prices of 19 major online competitors, including Apple, Amazon, and Target also has a price-matching policy in effect.”

3. Succeed With Superior Service

Take a page from the Nordstrom service example and offer attentive, personalized service along with merchandise-return guarantees. You may not need to win on price every time if you can exceed your customers’ service expectations and keep them coming back.

4. Create Stores Within Your Store

Best Buy has begun installing branded boutiques within its stores in the chain’s latest effort to combat showrooming. According to Forbes, Best Buy is “hoping to make its massive real estate holdings more profitable” by creating new Samsung-branded boutiques—essentially stores within a store—at 1,400 of its locations.

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