Running a successful retail business is a huge challenge as consumers have become more digitally aware. One of the most frustrating trends for retail is Showrooming, where shopper’s walk into a retail store, touch and feel the product but, in the end, take out their mobile phone to find an eCommerce shop that sells it at a cheaper price. The consumer might be saving a few bucks and considers it personal win, but many consumers fail to understand how the retail store suffers due to such practices.
With Showrooming becoming a major threat to brick and mortar stores, retailers must do something in order to be relevant and viable in this digital world.
And there’s hope! There are a growing number of retail stores who have understood the threat of Showrooming and have taken productive steps to fight it and/or embrace. A lot of this has happened in the past two years, so many retail shops are still figuring out the best reverse-showrooming techniques to attract shoppers.
However, to us, there are some clear winners and thought leaders in this space. So, without further ado, here’s our pick for the 2015 Showrooming Winners.
#1: Walmart – The Retail Giant On A Mission
Walmart has always been innovate with new business opportunities. Walmart realized it’s impossible to change the mindset of people, so they decided to embrace technology to their benefit. They started off by providing a mobile friendly store and then equipping most of their retail stores with free Wi-Fi.
Not being satisfied with a simple mobile ready site, they were one of the first retailers to create their very own retail app, targeting their in-store shoppers. They have periodically revamped their mobile app based on current trends and formed a tried-and-tested strategy that works best for their brand.
Since customers are price conscious about most products, their innovative Savings Catcher feature lets shoppers compare the price of the selected products with that of the competitors. If/when a lower price is found, Walmart guarantees a price match. This lets shoppers showroom and buy the product at a competitive price in-store.
More so, the “Savings Coupon” feature sends frequent push notifications to customers based on their shopping preferences and patterns, so they can benefit from promotional and clearance sales. Further, the custom “Shopping List Builder” analyzes products on a list to find a cheaper alternatives, reducing the overall cost.
The other important feature of the Walmart mobile app is that it lets shoppers create holiday wish lists, baby shower and wedding registries, option for monthly prescription refills, and Walmart online shopping ability. With the online purchase and pick up option, shoppers have the choice to buy it online and pick it up from one of their retail stores. Loyalty points and pay-through-the-mobile-app option is yet another attractive feature that makes users stick to Walmart and not look at any other eCommerce site.
Walmart’s reverse-showrooming model works great for both the consumers and their retail outlets. Price-conscious consumers benefit greatly, as they get to have the retail experience with the online rates. Walmart is, indeed, a clear winner in the 2015 Showrooming Games.
#2: Sephora Loves Showroomers
Sephora is one of the few stores that welcomes Showrooming customers. Beauty products are not taken lightly by their customers – Sephora customers spend hours researching items to find the perfect product for their complexion, lifestyle and image.
Initially, the basic store strategy was to have an attentive store rep who provided world-class service and help shoppers pick out the perfect product. However, providing individual help to all shoppers became quite impossible during peak hours. Because of this, Sephora was losing valuable customers.
But, as time passed, Sephora realized most customers don’t really need in-store assistance, as they were walking around the aisle with their eyes glued to the mobile phone. That’s when Sephora concluded that they needed a digital first strategy to solve their issues.
Sephora decided to create a comprehensive digital strategy that helps shoppers find information they need easily. Their strategy starts with promoting their products on Google’s local listing to increase their in-store traffic. So, when customers Google a product, Sephora products pop up on the top of the page, intriguing customers and encouraging them to come to the store to try them out.
Then the Sephora mobile app comes into play, where users can scan the barcode and easily pull out ratings and reviews of each and every product in the store. Shoppers can compare the products with that of the competitors to make an informed buying decision. Also, the Sephora-on-the-go mobile app allows shoppers to store their shopping preference, get promotional offers on their device and many more features that encourage in-store activity.
Their digital ideas don’t end there. Sephora has future plans to include virtual make-up assistance, ibeacon technology, augmented reality and a lot more to enhance the customer’s relationship with the brand. Sephora is even pioneering a concept beauty store, where they will incorporate all their digital innovations. Their goal is to have a complete in-store shopping experience to provide an engaging environment that is fun for customers.
Honorable Mention: Nike – Building Concept Based Brand
Nike is another brand with a mission to bring innovation and motivation to all athletes in the world. All their stores host massive LED screens to display content that inspires shoppers. Combined with their Nike Experience idea, they’re going after the in-store/digital experience. Many other high end brands have built strong digital messages to attract their target customers, but Nike really stands out.
What If You Are A Small Timer? Win People’s Heart
Big organizations have the ability and funds to build a massive digital strategy that helps them counter-attack Showrooming. But, if you’re a small timer looking to establish yourself in this competitive world, it helps to build a personal relationship with customers. Simple things go a long way: Having a cozy environment that makes shoppers comfortable, training your employees to be warm and helpful and, most of all, having a proactive customer support team. Such an effort makes customers walk into the store just for the warm experience.
Showrooming might be a threat, but it’s pushing retailers to provide a much better customer experience. With more technology innovations, it will be interesting to witness how the eCommerce space and retail giants are planning on winning back their consumers.
About The Author:
Jeffrey Wisard is the Digital Marketing Manager at Innoppl. When he’s not writing about marketing, web dev and Los Angeles mobile app development trends, you can find him on his bike or run commuting home. Follow him on Twitter at @Innopplinc.