How The Mobile “Showrooming” Threat Is Changing the Retail Industry
In recent years “showrooming”, the act of previewing merchandise or a product in a store and then buying it later online, has become a common practice. Websites, like Amazon, compare products, vendors, and prices to find the best deal for consumers instantly. However, many people want to see the physical product before buying it so will go to a brick-and-mortar retailer, to view the item first.
As smart phone use is rising, showrooming is also rising. Customers used to wait to compare prices when they were home, but now have instant price and product comparisons in their finger tips. They may or may not have consulted others in their buying decisions. Now, it’s common for customers to share deals on their social media networks and have the ability to read products reviews immediately on their smartphones and get personal recommendations for most items.
Many retailers cannot compete with in the e-commerce price wars of online shopping and are going to suffer lost revenues. However, many companies are trying to use smartphone capability to their advantage. Best Buy was one of the largest victims of showrooming. To ensure sales to customers already in their stores, Best Buy introduced a price matching policy with 19 of its major competitors. Target also introduced a similar policy. Now, when you see are looking at a product in a store and see that a Facebook friend bought the same product for a lower price, you can get the same lower price.
What strategies other than price-matching are brick-and-mortar retailers employing to combat showrooming?
How can companies use social media platforms to encourage shoppers to make purchases while they are in the brick-and-mortar retailer?