Showrooming: Not as Bad as You Think

ForeSee Blogger Eric Head

By Eric Head

In today’s multi-channel, multi-device world, company leaders need to consider that a customer’s store experience can affect other channels in the company and vice versa. For example, over the last few years the term “showrooming” has become a popular industry buzz word. Showrooming simply means that some customers are coming to the store to look at the merchandise in person (the “showroom”) but then shopping online (often via mobile) to get a better price through a competitor.

Sound perilous?   Our research shows that showrooming isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Research from ForeSee: Showrooming Isn't as bad as you thinkAlthough almost a quarter of store purchasers measured reported using their mobile phone while in a retail store during the 2012 holiday shopping season, most of them (almost 80%) did so to either access that company’s website or mobile shopping app. Only 42% reported having accessed either a competitor’s website or app, and 21% a comparison shopping site such as Shopzilla.com or Shopping.com.

Is showrooming something business leaders need to watch? Absolutely.  But storefront retailers shouldn’t look at this as a sign of adversity, but rather as an opportunity to convert their shoppers into long-term, loyal customers by providing a better experience (both in-store and mobile) for them.

Our research shows that those who did travel to a competitor site/app or shopping comparison site were less satisfied (75 and 76 respectively) with their in-store experience compared to those who stayed in a company channel (78). This means there was probably something that went wrong during the visit to make them switch. And, if that is the case, something probably could have been done to avoid it, or there is something that can be done to fix it.

Smart retailers today are aware that consumers hold all of the power in the relationship – they can interact with the brand anytime from anywhere with a multitude of devices. And with low to no switching costs to them, consumers will leave without a second thought to find a company that will meet their expectations.

It comes down to retailers understanding the needs and expectations of its own multi-channel customer. By using a precise and accurate measurement with predictive capabilities across all channels and devices can help pinpoint trouble areas, give insight into how to resolve issues, and provide intelligence to help make better strategic, tactical and operational decisions.

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