TWICE –“Showrooming is a legitimate consumer behavior which has created actual disruption in the industry.”
Sears recently reported that it would start close-out liquidation sales at more than two dozen locations. Streets crisscrossing downtowns in big and small cities alike are increasingly filled with depressing, empty storefronts.
The primary doom factor for giant nationwide chains, local mom-and-pops and every type of retailer in-between has been the explosion of online retailing. Unfortunately, the future of brick & mortar isn’t getting sunnier due to the continuing expansion of e-commerce. Not that evidentiary statistics are necessary, but Big Commerce reports that 67 percent of millennials and 56 percent of Gen Xers prefer to shop online rather than in-store.
For brick & mortar consumer electronics retailers, the showrooming phenomena just adds insult to injury.
“As a phenomenon, showrooming is a legitimate consumer behavior which has created actual disruption in the industry, specifically for CE retailers – as a whole, CE retailers typically lead the industry in showrooming behavior by their customers,” reports BRP Consulting SVP and practice lead Ryan Grogman, who specializes in retail strategy and technology solutions surrounding the customer experience. “Roughly 50 percent of consumers exhibit showrooming behavior, more strongly tied to big ticket purchases such as consumer electronics.”
Every retailer has been impacted by showrooming. “Abt has battled showrooming for the last 20 years,” Jon Abt, co-president of Chicago-based Abt Electronics notes. “It’s a way of life in the retail world because the internet has made it much easier for a consumer to comparison shop.”
Successful retailers, however, after initially piling up merchandising sand bags, have come to adopt a more judo-like approach to e-commerce, using the internet’s force against itself to combat showrooming.
Turning Showrooming Against Itself
The physical, real-world relationship between customer and technology product – as well as the physical, real-world relationship between retailer and customer – forms the basis for succeeding in a showrooming-dominated retail environment.
“In order for most humans to understand a product or service, they need to see it, touch it, use it, experience it,” explains Robert Heiblim, president of Blue Salve Consulting. “Anything new, such as VR/AR/XR, is not a common experience, so people will want and need to try it before they can decide to buy it.” Apple, for instance, immediately grasped this see-it/touch-it/use-it/experience-it necessity, and its retail outlets are constantly swarmed by customers playing with product as a result. A plethora of retailers have since followed suit.
This real-world hands-on experience available only in-store is merely the foundation of an omnichannel sales approach almost de rigueur in the 21st century. According to “The New Rules for Omnichannel Retailing” report from Shopgate, “being an ‘omnipresent’ retailer is no longer a ‘trend’ in 2019 and beyond. It is now table stakes to remain competitive…”
Read the Full Article: Omnichannel Retail Philosophy: Best Way to Battle Showrooming