How to Prevent Showrooming

How to Prevent Showrooming



Do you despair at the number of customers who use their smartphones to compare prices while in your store? Do you want to know how to prevent showrooming without losing customers? We've delved into this dark practice to help you understand why people do it, and what you can do to minimize the impact on your business...

Showrooming, the practice of using bricks and mortar retail outlets to scope out products before searching online for a better deal, is becoming a real threat to businesses who rely on in-store sales. A report from Vibes surveyed 1000 smartphone owners, and the results were shocking, with 44% of respondents admitting to showrooming frequently.

As with most internet trends, the effects are especially obvious among the younger demographic, with half of those under 35 claiming to showroom for 50% of their purchases. In the over 35 group, just 31% said they used the tactic. Over the past two years, there has been a 156% increase in consumers purchasing from a competitor on their smartphones while in-store. It's a remarkable power-switch from the old days, when price-fixing was the white-collar crime of unscrupulous businesses, committed behind closed doors with nary a regard for the customers on the ground. The tables are now firmly turned, and retailers are taking the hits.

But what, if anything, can you do to combat the effects of showrooming on your business? According to Jack Philbin, the CEO of Vibes, the key is developing "contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases."

Building brand loyalty with mobile marketing campaigns requires retailers to up their game. In-store incentives, preference-based special offers – anything you can do to leverage attention away from competitors will help reduce the chances of customers using your outlet to window shop but not buy. Here are some top tips for counteracting showrooming:

Recognize the Advantages of Mobile Marketing
Instead of railing against some perceived digital tyranny, use the technology to your advantage. Launch an app that customers can use in-store to see all the product information they would get (including reviews) from Amazon. Prompt customers to download the app by giving them a small freebie for doing so, and ask them to opt in to mobile text marketing lists so you can send them offers that may appeal. Remember, 60% of consumers want mobile content that matches their interests, so harvest as much information from them as you can.

Provide Free Wi-Fi
This is a winning strategy, as it gets potential customers onside as soon as they walk into your store. Recent stats from JiWire indicate that free in-store wi-fi influences the shopping habits of 44% of people.

Improve Customer Service
So you've won people over with free wi-fi and a useful app. They're already less-inclined to look elsewhere. Now you need to provide a personalized experience – it might just be the key differentiator between your outlet and the cheap-but-impersonal website. Providing better service is no quick fix, but if you want to know how to prevent showrooming in the long term, talking to your customers - and finding out what they need - is a good start.

Offer Unique Products
The best way to make your price unbeatable is by ensuring there is nothing to which your product can be compared. Increasingly, suppliers are being asked to create product lines that can only be sold in stores.

As the holiday season approaches, retailers have a fantastic opportunity to create memorable, personalized experiences for shoppers. Figuring out how to prevent showrooming will teach you a number of important lessons about your own business - and maybe reveal some flaws in your model that you'd never even considered. A combination of targeted mobile SMS marketing campaigns, freebies, customer service and wifi-enabled locations can help retailers wrest control of their market away from smartphones, and back into the real world.


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