Showrooming – when a shopper comes into your brick and mortar store to see and touch a product or test fit apparel in person, possibly being further educated by your store employee only to have that consumer decide to leave and buy it from a rival store or online.
This is not a new phenomenon and in reality it has taken place throughout the organizational development of department store merchandising. Wasn’t this called “window-shopping?” In fact, weren’t retailers faced with a similar problem when offering printed catalog ordering, again in the mid-1990’s with the introduction of e-commerce.
“The answer is simple; retailers have forgotten their consumers need for – SERVICE, KNOWLEDGE & TRUST”
So why are consumers now resorting more to the tactics of showrooming?
- Retailers behavior has been more to treat consumers on commerce transactional basis
- Merchandising has been focused on price comparison and reactive price matching
- Consumers are better educated with merchandise facts before shopping and more knowledgeable than the retail employee
- Consumers recognize that retailers have a standard way of selling and percent mark up
Retailers are acknowledging there has been a realistic shift in power and it now lies in the hands of the consumer. So, what still needs to be done? Retailers need to create an in-store environmental experience within their merchandising space, meeting people on their buying terms, and fully embrace smartphone & tablets to create their brand message – “Come in… browse awhile my store(s)… and trust me that my prices are fair”.
- Establish a relationship by listening to consumers and a feeling of trust will develop
- Educate store employees to actively engage consumers when consumer use their smartphones
- Train store employees to identify the buying decision process and help the consumer
- Communicate to employees how to add individual value with every point of engagement
- Seek a fresh perspective from global retail awareness for new in-store concepts and space strategies.
Look at Tiffany, Apple and jcp. Apple and Tiffany retail store sales are #1 and #2 in sales per square foot which could be explained by the strong assumption they offer exceptional personalized service and knowledge that delivers on their brand promise. Apple’s has led with merchandise packaging of goods with consumer training to maintain higher margins and points of re-engagement.
Innovation and transformation are relevant; examine jcp’s consistent effort to stay connected with their consumers – store within a store, creating a boutique sense of shopping, and their momentous efforts to getting rid of those fake prices.