Showrooming and Tactics to Combat it

John Scott
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With the advent of online shopping sites and smart phones, brick-and-mortar retail outlets have a new obstacle to overcome: showrooming. This happens when consumers come in to check out products in person before purchasing them online. By adjusting your sales tactics to combat showrooming, you can engage your customers and increase revenue.


For a small business owner, showrooming can be a difficult problem to overcome. Most customers engage in the practice because online retail outlets typically offer lower prices. In most cases, traditional stores cannot compete solely on price. As a small business owner, you are saddled with increased costs for rent, utilities, employees, and insurance, so product prices must naturally be higher than for online retailers.


If you run a brick-and-mortar business, you can help reassure customers that they are getting a good deal. One of the easiest sales tactics is to display signs that compare your prices to the prices of online retailers. Supermarkets, for example, commonly engage in this behavior because it helps provide confidence and comfort for shoppers. By facing the problem head-on, you can prevent showrooming and build transparency. It can also help you avoid more drastic tactics such as those adopted by one store in Australia, which now charges a fee for shoppers who browse without buying, according to an article in WebProNews.


As you are considering which retail marketing ideas to work with, choose options that emphasize your company's strengths. By reminding customers of the benefits of buying products in person, you can impact their purchasing decision without engaging in over-the-top sales tactics. Brick-and-mortar retail outlets provide instant gratification and personal interaction, and their customers don't need to pay for shipping or deal with deliveries. Whether you are designing flyers or creating online advertisements, you can reinforce these benefits of shopping in person.


While you are developing sales tactics to combat showrooming, find ways to offer special deals that aren't available online. When customers visit your store, you have a distinct advantage over online outlets: the in-person interaction offers the opportunity to convert browsers into buyers. As your employees interact with customers, they can build relationships and help find the product that best suits the individual shopper's needs. You may also choose to offer deals and promotions that can only be redeemed in store.


Showrooming isn't always about price. In some cases, customers simply want to research a product and read reviews from other customers before they make their purchasing decisions. After customers see a product in a store, they may go home to read about it online. At that point, it is easier and more convenient to buy the product online than to go back to the store. To combat this problem, one of the easiest sales tactics is to provide customers with the ability to research products in the store. By installing tablets or computers around the store, you can allow customers to check out reviews and compare prices; that way, they can buy the product immediately if they are satisfied with it. Consumers are unlikely to stop online research, so the most effective retail marketing ideas support that behavior rather than attempting to prevent it. According to an article about mobile commerce by Alex Kecskes on Nexxt, you can also use technology to your benefit by implementing smartphone-based loyalty cards and social media deals.


If you own or manage a traditional retail outlet, it is crucial to implement sales tactics that prevent and overcome showrooming. By anticipating customer behaviors and finding ways to change or circumvent them, you can improve your bottom line and compete with online retailers.


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