Aside from being another buzzword flying around, it is a term that has come about based on research focusing on the path that a typical customer would take to purchase.
Showrooming is the term used when a customer comes to look at a product in a physical location but then completes the purchase online, possibly with a different retailer. Within this buying path, the key element seems to be the viewing of the physical product and the ‘trying it out’
While this could be seen as a massive hurdle given that:
- Your physical store has done the ‘selling work’ but you may not receive the actual sale.
- The customer may then see the same or similar product at a lower price and you do not have the opportunity to add your customer service advantages into this ‘gap’ in the sale.
It seems, in reality, that you need your customer to see you as a single brand rather than focus on the individual channels and, in fact, embrace the different channels and work to promote your brand, logo and message.
If you only sell online and have unique products, then you probably do not suffer directly from showrooming. If, however, you do have a physical store as well as an online store, then bridging this gap will be a key target for you. Customers are looking for a straightforward, seamless shopping experience. Making it complicated or adding hurdles will, no doubt, have a direct effect on your bottom line.
There are things that can be done to bridge this gap, such as in-store tablets to provide access to online reviews, order products that are out of stock or create wish-lists. Providing very simple registration areas will allow for data capture and post-visit or sale follow-up.
This use of mobile technology will be key in the retail space, as it can be used to link many locations, such as Geofencing, where GPS technology enables marketers to send push notifications of nearby sales or special promotions.
One brand, one experience, many channels
Bridging this gap between the online and offline world will become more important as time goes on and technology advances. Being able to offer a multi-channel, seamless experience to your customers, which is focused around your single brand message, will become essential.