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4 Ways To Make Showrooming Part Of Your Omni-Channel Strategy

Woman in clothing store looking at price

Once considered a habit to combat, “showrooming” is now a practice that mid-market retailers are embracing. In fact, retailers treat showrooming as an extension of their omni-channel operations. 

Showrooming, the practice of checking out a product in the store before purchasing it online, has long been part of the modern retail landscape. Many people shop with a smartphone in hand, so it’s only natural for customers to search for competitors’ prices on their mobile phones as they shop at stores. 

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s what is happening with retailers and showrooming. Brick-and-mortar stores are using showrooming tools and tactics to close in-store sales. The trend is reflective of omni-channel retailing, which aims to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple shopping channels. 

To make showrooming an area of strength for your business, use these four tips to convert browsers into in-store buyers instead of losing a sale to an online competitor. 

  1. Ensure consistency across all channels: Let’s say a shopper sees a DVD for sale at a store, but before he purchases the item, he checks the retailer’s website. If the DVD is a lower price online, then the customer is likely to delay the purchase rather than buy the DVD in the store. 

    It’s an example of how retailers might lose a sale when prices and other offers vary across shopping channels. It leads customers to walk out of the store and potentially shop somewhere else. 

    Each omni-channel medium must work together in order to capture the sale at the moment the shopper is ready to buy. So, if a home improvement retailer offers free shipping for patio furniture purchased online, the brick-and-mortar location should also offer free home delivery. When customers realize they receive the same deal in-store as what’s being advertised online, it helps sales associates at the store to close the sale. 

  2. Launch an in-store loyalty program: Showrooming gets customers in the store, but getting those browsers to buy in the store requires some incentive. That’s where loyalty programs come in. 

    For instance, after making a purchase at some department store chains, customers receive a coupon or discount to redeem during their next visit. That’s the type of loyalty program that encourages in-store buying. Mid-market retailers should consider offering exclusive coupons — print or mobile — to those who shop in-store. 

  3. Use mobile technology: Let’s say a customer is on her mobile phone comparing prices for a sweater she wants to buy. As she browses an apparel retailer’s mobile website, her phone gets a notification due to geo-location tracking on her phone that has detected her location at their brick-and-mortar store.  Just as it’s important to have a responsive-designed website, retailers should have a mobile specific version of the website so that browsing is easy and pricing is obvious. 

    Just as customers use mobile devices to check prices at other stores, retailers should use the same mobile technology and channels to encourage customers to buy in-store. 

  4. Make shopping convenient: For showrooming to work to your advantage, you must send the message that your business is going to deliver the best service. 

    So, if a customer purchases a product online, offer free ship-to-store or in-store pickup. If a customer wants an out-of-stock size or color, get the product from another store and offer free shipping. Or, if a customer wants to redeem an in-store-only coupon for an online-only product, have a sales associate order the item in the store and apply the discount.

These four tips make the practice of showrooming work for you as part of a strong omni-channel strategy. They encourage customers to purchase from your business on any medium. 

Learn more about how to take advantage of showrooming by scheduling a free consultation with ArcherPoint.

Author: Tina Terrezza, Business Development Manager at ArcherPoint